Negotiating Uncertainty: Jamaican Small Farmers’ Adaptation and Coping Strategies, Before and After Hurricanes—A Case Study of Hurricane Dean

Sustainability (Impact Factor: 0.94). 12/2009; 1(4)(4). DOI: 10.3390/su1041366
Source: DOAJ


In recent years, Jamaica has been seriously affected by a number of extreme meteorological events. The one discussed here, Hurricane Dean, passed along the south coast of the island in August 2007, damaging crops and disrupting livelihood activities for many small-scale farmers. This study is based on detailed ethnographic research in the southern coastal region of St. Elizabeth parish during the passage of Hurricane Dean, and explores the ways in which small farmers negotiate the stressors associated with hurricane events. The study employed a mix methods approach based on a survey of 282 farming households. The paper documents coping strategies employed by farmers in the immediate period of Hurricane Dean to reduce damage to their farming systems, and highlights the positive correlation between farmers’ perceptions of hurricanes and degree of damage to local farming systems. In addition, through an analysis of socio-economic and environmental data, the paper provides an understanding of the determinants of adaptive capacity and strategy among farmers in the area. The study indicated that despite high levels of vulnerability, farmers have achieved successful coping and adaptation at the farm level.

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Available from: Clinton Lloyd Beckford, Oct 24, 2014
    • "Flooding may not be a driver of food insecurity if there are sufficient deployable resources before, during, and after the event to effectively cope with the post-hazard aftermath (Eriksen and Silva 2009; Sherman and Ford 2013). Although some authors distinguish ''adaptive'' strategies from ''coping'' strategies (e.g., Campbell and Beckford 2009), this paper will exclusively refer to ''adaptive'' strategies when describing how an entity copes with or manages a particular stress, consistent with other studies (see Smit and Wandel 2006). "
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    ABSTRACT: Rainfall variability and related hydrological disasters are serious threats to agricultural production in developing countries. Since projections of climate change indicate an increase in the frequency and intensity of climatic hazards such as flooding and droughts, it is important to understand communities’ adaptive capacity to extreme hydrological events. This research uses a case study approach to characterize the current vulnerability and adaptive capacity of the food system to hydrological hazards in Panaillo, a flood-prone indigenous community in the Peruvian Amazon. Participatory methods were utilized to examine how biophysical and socioeconomic factors constrain or enable local adaptive capacity to climatic hazards over time. Seasonal flooding was shown to strongly influence agriculture and fishing cycles. Panaillo residents have developed several adaptive strategies to adjust to hydrological extremes, such as food-sharing and the cultivation of fast-growing crops on riverbeds. However, Panaillo residents generally lack the necessary human, physical, social, and natural resources to effectively employ their adaptive mechanisms as a result of major social and environmental changes in the area. Economic development, low institutional capacity, climate variability, and the assimilation social model in Peru all have profound effects on the food system and health by affecting the ways in which adaptive strategies and traditional livelihoods are practiced. Climate change has the potential to exacerbate these socioeconomic and biophysical drivers and further compromise community food systems in the Peruvian Amazon in the future.
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    • "Most of this food is sold, processed, resold and consumed locally, thus providing the foundation of people's nutrition, incomes and livelihoods and contributing to rural and national development (Beckford and Bailey, 2009). This is achieved despite enormous documented challenges facing small-scale food producers (McGregor, Barker and Campbell, 2009; Campbell and Beckford, 2009; Beckford and Bailey, 2009; Beckford, 2009; Barker and Beckford, 2008; Beckford, Barker and Bailey, 2007). The significance of agriculture in Jamaica is historical and goes beyond satisfying household needs. "

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