Farmers’ perceptions of climate variability and barriers to adaptation: lessons learned from an exploratory study in Vietnam

  • Hoa Le DangEmail author
  • Elton Li
  • Johan Bruwer
  • Ian Nuberg
Original Article


Southeast Asian countries are confronting climate variability, challenging agricultural sustainability and rural livelihoods. However, little research effort has been devoted to exploring how farmers in those countries perceive climate variability and how the perceptions link to adaptive responses. This paper deploys information from three focus group discussions with 30 male farmers; and six in-depth interviews with one female and five male agricultural officers in the Mekong Delta, Vietnam. Recorded 34-year meteorological data in the delta from 1978 to 2011 is also incorporated to demonstrate the actual climate variability of the region. We find that farmers are becoming increasingly conscious of local climate variability issues. However, they have limited understanding of the importance of adaptation to their livelihoods. They also have limited knowledge of where and who to contact for appropriate climate change adaptation information. No opinions about the link between global warming and local climate variability and change were observed. Casual observation via public media and personal experience dominated farmers’ sources of information. Barriers to farmers’ adaptation are not exclusively restricted to socio-economic factors and resource constraints; e.g. land tenure, technical knowledge, market, social relationship, credit, information, health care, and demographics. Maladaptation, habit, and the perception of the importance of climate variability and adaptation are found as additional constraints. Observed differences in farmers’ and agricultural officers’ perspectives regarding barriers to farmers’ adaptation suggest important policy implications.


Adaptation Barriers to adaptation Climate variability Farmers Perception Vietnam 



This paper is part of a PhD research at the University of Adelaide. This PhD research is made possible under the sponsor of AusAID to Hoa Le Dang. Data collection for the research is funded by the School of Agriculture, Food and Wine, the University of Adelaide. We are very grateful to the Departments of Agriculture and Rural Development of 6 districts: Long Phu and My Tu (Soc Trang Province), Thap Muoi and Tam Nong (Dong Thap Province), and Duc Hoa and Thanh Hoa (Long An Province) for their great help and support in organising focus group discussions and agricultural officer interviews. We would like to thank Mark Brindal for editing the manuscript to improve it. We also thank two anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments and suggestions.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hoa Le Dang
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Elton Li
    • 1
  • Johan Bruwer
    • 1
  • Ian Nuberg
    • 3
  1. 1.School of Agriculture, Food and WineThe University of AdelaideUrrbraeAustralia
  2. 2.Faculty of EconomicsNong Lam UniversityHo Chi Minh CityVietnam
  3. 3.School of Agriculture, Food and WineThe University of AdelaideUrrbraeAustralia

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