UNDERSTANDING THE PROCESS OF AGRICULTURAL ADAPTATION TO CLIMATE CHANGE: ANALYSIS OF CLIMATE-INDUCED INNOVATION IN RICE BASED CROPPING SYSTEM OF NEPAL

Open Access
Author:
Chhetri, Netra Bahadur
Graduate Program:
Geography
Degree:
Doctor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Dissertation
Date of Defense:
July 09, 2005
Committee Members:
  • William Ewart Easterling Iii, Committee Chair
  • Brenton Yarnal, Committee Member
  • James Mc Carthy, Committee Member
  • David Gerard Abler, Committee Member
Keywords:
  • agriculture
  • climate change
  • climate-technoligy interaction
  • adaptation
  • induced innovation
  • Nepal
Abstract:
Abstract The development of technological solutions to minimize risks of current climate can lead to two possible outcomes: increase in agricultural productivity and insights about adaptation to future climate change. Drawing upon the hypothesis of induced innovation this research investigates whether spatial variations in climatic resource prompted the development of location-specific technologies that led to an increase rice productivity in Nepal. Using the country’s district level time-series data (1991/92 and 2002/03), I examine whether districts with comparatively lower initial rice productivity levels have increased their rates of production relatively faster than those with higher initial productivity. Complementing this analysis with relevant case studies, I also investigate the extent to which Nepal’s research establishments have provided farmers with technological options to alleviate climatic constraints in rice cultivation across the country’s climatically diverse terrain. I find that rice productivity has increased steadily across the districts of Nepal during the 12 year period and is not just skewed towards climatically favorable regions but is also observed in areas that are relatively marginal for rice production. While the emerging patterns of productivity growth may have been the autonomous response to the increasing demand, it may also have been facilitated by conscious decisions to develop technologies that are location-specific. I find that the research establishments in Nepal have developed technological innovations as a buffer against the deleterious effect of climatic risks. The findings from both empirical and qualitative assessments indicate that Nepal’s research establishment is engaged in and committed to the development of location-specific technologies that address the constraints of climate. The outcome of such commitment has been a series of technological innovations such as development of drought resistant varieties, improved irrigation management and agronomic practices, and change in research and development policies. Together, this may have been responsible for higher yields among districts with marginal climate, which have subsequently led to convergence of the rice productivity growth rate in the country. If the current trend in limiting the deleterious effects of climate in agriculture through appropriate technological as well as institutional changes continues then the prospect of adapting to future climate is more plausible in Nepal.