Skip to main content

2015-10-16 | project

What is fair? An experimental guide to climate negotiations

The overall research goal is to measure climate change adaptation gains attributable to the adoption of weather-based crop insurance scheme and agriculture research innovations in Malawi and South Africa. 

Understanding the impact of climate change on rural livelihoods and the resultant adaptation practices is an important element in poverty reduction and sustainable development. In the wake of weather-induced shocks, environmental degradation and rapid population growth, the only viable way to expand agricultural production is through investment in technological innovations for increased productivity or risk smoothing in times of hardships. Technology adaptation in the form of modern varieties and weather-based crop insurance scheme seems to be a sure way of addressing climatic risks.

Crop insurance schemes is being piloted in Malawi and new crop varieties have been developed and released in Malawi and South Africa, yet it is not known how much such climate-proof technologies have contributed to risk reduction among vulnerable rural households. This project therefore aims at highlighting major stress factors, identifying resilient livelihood strategies and quantifying the contribution of technological adaptation innovations towards household vulnerability reduction in the two countries.

The study will use data from field experiments and household surveys to be collected in selected districts in the two countries supplemented by relevant secondary sources. Risk management (optimisation under risk), adoption and impact models will be used to assess the merits or demerits of technologies under study as a set of household adaptation strategy. The difference between traditional approaches (business as usual) and adaptation seeking behaviour is that the latter can play an important role in compensating risk related loss experienced by farming communities. If such technologies are adopted, farming households would reduce crop damage associated with the current unpredictable and adverse weather patterns.


  1. Estimate rural household welfare loss  attributed to  climate variability and climate change
  2. Estimate the adoption and impact of technological innovations on household vulnerability reduction (loss avoided)
  3. Assess the factors that determine household adaptation options under the prevalent climatic stress factors
  4. Examine farmers demand or willingness to pay for a set of adaptation technologies