Livestock farmers strategic response to climate change: Exploring the case of dairy cattle farms in the intermediate zone of Sri Lanka

R.T.D. Yasarathne, J.M.M. Udugama and U.K. Jayasinghe-Mudalige
Department of Agribusiness Management, Wayamba University of Sri Lanka

This study was aimed to examine the adaptation measures used by cattle farmers in the Panduwasnuwara Divisional Secretariat of the Kurunegala District, which holds the largest livestock population in the Low Country Intermediate Zone in Sri Lanka, in response to climate change, especially the fluctuations in the level of temperature in this region with an increasing trend over time. A structured questionnaire-based personal interview was conducted during May to June in 2010 with 60 small to medium-scale cattle farmers selected randomly using the information obtained from the Department of Agrarian Services.

The data were fitted into a Probit Model to estimate the likelihood of these farmers engaged in various adaptation measures followed by specification of a Multinomial Logit Model to identify the factors affecting the choice of adoption of these practices. The results show that farmers adopt various measures to overcome the negative effects of climate change, and the changing levels of the temperature in particular, including: alteration of feed and the feeding patterns, alternative housing practices, and selection of tolerant cattle breeds, etc. It further reveals that the overall income of the farming household, the number of cattle in the farm, the net earnings per cattle, age and the level of education of the farmer had a significant impact on climate change adaptation. The outcome of analysis implies that rural poor livestock farming communities exploit the existing traditional resource base characterized by land and labor to overcome the negative effects of climate change and further research is warranted to explore the applicability of which for continuity of the enterprise in the long run.


Key words: adaptation, climate change, dry zone agriculture, livestock farming