Farmers' Risk Coping Strategies in Rain-Fed Agricultural Regions: An Empirical Study from India
Keywords:Risk Coping Strategies, Rain-Fed Agriculture, Drought, Farmers, India, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh.
Drought is as natural as climate and its variability. We are motivated to conduct the present research study with a special focus on risk coping strategies of farmers in rain-fed agricultural States of Karnataka, Maharashtra, and Madhya Pradesh â€“ in three out of the 'Big Five' States in India.
Through primary data, we found that there is a substantial decline of 71.8 per cent in the total income of the respondents in the three study regions during the drought period. The extent of inequality in the incomes in the sample households is also high at 0.87 (Gini-coefficient) during the normal rainfall year and this declined to 0.25 during the drought period indicating that the inequality in the income distribution of the sample group is relatively lower during the drought period. While large and medium farmers households are the worst affected due to occurrence of drought, small and marginal farmers are relatively unscathed as they might have depended on other sources of income during the drought period.
Most of the farmers could not repay the loans as they are unable to receive remunerative prices for their agricultural produce and some of them are expecting loan waivers from the government. Our results showed that adopting crop saving irrigation followed by cultivating long duration crops, and using family labour to reduce cost of cultivation are the most preferred strategies embraced by the farmers when they face early drought situation.
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