Bangladesh remains one of the most vulnerable countries in the world to the effects of climate change. Given the reliance of a large segment of the population on the agricultural sector for both their livelihoods as well as national food security, climate change adaptation in the agricultural sector is crucial for continued national food security and economic growth. Using household data from lowland rice farmers of selected haor areas in Sylhet, the current work presents an analysis of the determinants behind the implementation of different climate change adaptation strategies by lowland rice farmers. The first objective of this study was to explore the extent of awareness of climate change within this population as well as the type of opinions held by lowland rice farmers with respect to climate change. To serve this purpose, a severity index (SI) was developed and subsequently employed to evaluate the perceptions and attitudes of 378 farmers with respect to climate change vulnerability. Respondents were interviewed with respect to climate change related circumstances they faced in their daily lives. Attained SI index values ranged from 69.18% to 93.52%. The SI for the perception “Climate change affects rice production” was measured as 93.52%. Using data collected from the same 378 farmers, a logistic regression was carried out to investigate the impact of socio-economic and institutional factors on adaptation. The results show that credit from non-government organizations is highly statistically significant for adaptation, and that rural market structure also has a positive effect on adaptation. Among the studied factors, credit from non-governmental organizations (NGOs) was found to be the most important factor for adaptation. The results of this work further indicate that marginal farmers would benefit from government (GoB) funded seasonal training activities that cover pertinent information regarding adaptation after flash floods. Additionally, the authors of this piece recommend timely issuance of government-assisted credit during early flash floods to afflicted farmers, as such an initiative can aid farmers in adapting different strategies to mitigate losses and enhance their productivity as well as livelihood.
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