Understanding smallholder farmers’ capacity to respond to climate change in a coastal community in Central Vietnam

Le Thi Hong Phuong*, G.R. Biesbroek, Le Thi Hoa Sen, Arjen E.J. Wals

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

65 Citations (Scopus)


Climate change as expressed by erratic rainfall, increased flooding, extended droughts, frequency tropical cyclones or saline water intrusion, poses severe threats to smallholder farmers in Vietnam. Adaptation of the agricultural sector is vital to increase the resilience of smallholder farmers’ livelihoods in times of climate change. To complement efforts already implemented by farmers to reduce social vulnerability it is important to understand how farmers perceive their current and future capacity to adapt to climate change. This paper aims to explore smallholder farmers’ capacity to respond to climate change in current and future agricultural production. We carried out open, in-depth interviews (n = 13), focus group discussions, and structured interviews (n = 114) in the Thua Thien Hue province. Our findings show that farmers nowadays experience more extreme climate variability. Farmers report increasing stresses due to temperature increase and droughts. The autonomous adaptation strategies adopted by farmers include; adjusting the season calendar, using tolerant varieties and breeds, applying integrated crop production models, and income diversification. The motives for adopting particular planned adaptation options differ between farmers in crop production and livestock production. Four factors were found to be significant (p < .05) in influencing the spread of adaptation measures (AMs) farmers adopted: farm income, the number of available information sources, number of workers on the farm, and farmable land available during the summer season. Farmers report several barriers to implement adaptation strategies including; market price fluctuations, lack of skilled labour, lack of climate change information, and lack of capacity to learn and apply techniques in their daily practice. While both crop and livestock farmers participated in one or several training courses on climate change in the past years, livestock farmers were still uncertain about their future capacity and possible AMs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)701-716
JournalClimate and Development
Issue number8
Early online date23 Dec 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • adaptive capacity
  • agricultural production
  • barrier to adaptation
  • climate change adaptation
  • smallholder farmers
  • Vietnam


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