Comparing farmers’ perceptions of climate change with meteorological data in three irrigated cropping zones of Punjab, Pakistan
Farmers’ perception about changing climate leads to farm-adaptive responses. Coherence between perceptions and meteorological trends leads to improved farm decisions. The objective of this study was to examine the degree of agreement between farmers’ perception and actual climate trends in three irrigated districts of Punjab province in Pakistan. The study also inquired the role of extension services and other factors affecting farmers’ perception. Using multistage sampling technique, a sample of 300 farmers was taken who were interviewed using pre-structured and field-tested questionnaire about their perceptions of climate change at farm. Climate data for 33 years regarding temperature and for 34 years for precipitation were obtained from meteorological stations in selected districts. It employed Mann–Kendall and Sen’s slope tests for trend analysis in climate time series and tested nonparametric association in cross-sectional data. The results revealed that farmers’ perception about precipitation trends do not match with actual trends mainly because of the way climate information is processed among farmers and scientific community. However, farmers’ perceptions about increase in temperature were in line with meteorological evidence across selected irrigated cropping zones. Extension services along with income and size of land holding were key factors affecting farmers’ perception about climate change. The study recommends bridging information gaps between scientific community and farmers about climate change.
KeywordsClimate change Climate perceptions versus reality Irrigated agriculture Perception analysis Pakistan
The authors are grateful to the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan and the Asian Institute of Technology, Thailand, for providing funding support for this study. The authors also appreciate the support extended by the respondents during the entire period of field survey.
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