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What determines farmers’ resilience towards ENSO-related drought? An empirical assessment in Central Sulawesi, Indonesia


Crop production in the tropics is subject to considerable climate variability caused by the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) phenomenon that is likely to become even more pronounced during the twenty-first century. Little is known about the impact of ENSO-related drought on crop yields and food security, especially at the household level. This paper seeks to contribute to closing this knowledge gap with a case study from Central Sulawesi, Indonesia. Its main objective is to measure household resilience towards drought periods and to identify its influencing factors to deduce policy implications. Using indicators for consumption expenditures, we construct an index measuring household drought resilience; we then apply an asset-based livelihood framework to identify its determinants. Most of the drought-affected farm households are forced to substantially reduce expenditures for food and other basic necessities. Households’ drought resilience is strengthened by the possession of liquid assets, access to credit, and the level of technical efficiency in agricultural production. The results suggest a number of policy recommendations, namely improvement of the farmers’ access to ENSO forecasts, the provision of credit and savings products to facilitate consumption smoothing, and the intensification of agricultural extension in view of low levels of productivity found in agricultural production.

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Correspondence to Alwin Keil.

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Keil, A., Zeller, M., Wida, A. et al. What determines farmers’ resilience towards ENSO-related drought? An empirical assessment in Central Sulawesi, Indonesia. Climatic Change 86, 291 (2008).

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  • Indonesia
  • Farm Household
  • Irrigate Rice
  • Liquid Asset
  • Agricultural Income