Climate Variability, SCF, and Corn Farming in Isabela, Philippines: a Farm and Household Level Analysis

Author: 
Celia M. Reyes
Sonny N. Domingo
Christian D. Mina
Kathrina G. Gonzales
Description: 
DISCUSSION PAPER SERIES NO. 2009-06
JEL codes: 
Organisation: 
Abstract: 
Seasonal Climate Forecast (SCF) is one of the tools, which could help farmers and decision makers better prepare for seasonal variability. Using probabilistic principles in projecting climatic deviations, SCF allows farmers to make informed decisions on the proper choice of crop, cropping schedule, levels of input and use of mitigating measures. However, a cloud of uncertainty looms over the true value of SCF to its target users. To shed light on the true value of SCF in local agricultural decision making and operations, farm and household level survey was conducted. A total of 85 corn farmers from the plains and highlands of Echague and Angadanan, Isabela were interviewed. Results showed that climate and climate-related information were undoubtedly among the major factors being considered by farmers in their crop production activities. All aspects explored on the psychology of corn growers pointed to the high level of importance given to climatic conditions and SCF use. This was evident on the farmers perceptions, attitudes, and decision-making processes. Though the high regard of farmers on climate forecast and information cannot be questioned, actual application of such information seemed still wanting. Most corn farmers still started the season by feel relying on the coming of rains and usual seasonal cropping schedules when commencing key farm operations. Reliable indigenous knowledge on climate forecasting was scarce. With corn farmers in Isabela still thirsting for climate-related information, the delivery of appropriate information and accurate forecasts should be addressed through proper extension and provision of support. Overall, SCF still has to solidify its role in the decision making process. Reliable SCFs remain the key to answer the riddle of seasonal variability and allow farmers to securely harness the goodness of the changing seasons. Ultimately, a holistic approach is necessary to truly elevate the productivity in Isabelas corn lands.