Dumangas farmers willing to pay for planned adaptation program to climate change

Educational attainment, farm area, farm income , farm experience, knowledge about climate change, and access to credit influence Dumangas farmers' willingness to pay for a planned adaptation program to climate change. SEARCA PhD scholar and Assistant Professor Gay D. Defiesta of the College of Arts and Sciences, University of the Philippines-Visayas shared these, as part of her dissertation during SEARCA’s Special Graduate Seminar Series held on 24 April 2012.

Due to its geographical location and level of economic development, the Philippines faces the challenges of climate change, thus, making adaptation programs necessary. The country’s agriculture sector, particularly its poor farmers, will suffer most from climate change unless measures to mitigate its effects are done. Coastal towns like Dumangas in Iloilo are more vulnerable to these effects. Given this scenario, Defiesta investigated if farmers are willing to pay to reduce their vulnerability, and if so, how much do they value a planned adaptation program to climate change that will specifically address their needs.

In her presentation entitled “Willingness to Pay for a Planned Adaptation Program to Climate Change of Farmers in Dumangas, Iloilo, Philippines: Evidence from a contingent valuation survey”, Defiesta revealed that 96% of the farmer-respondents believe that climate change is risky to farming. Despite this, farmers think that climate change is not the most important environmental problem today, rather they believe that people’s economic needs must be prioritized first

Based on the results, she concluded that farmers who have higher educational attainment, bigger farm area, more household income and less farm experience are willing to pay a higher amount for a climate change program. Similarly, farmers who know more about the concept of climate change and have better access to credit are also willing to pay more for a planned adaptation program. On the other hand, all farmers who are willing to pay are open to making cash donations to fund for climate change programs.

With these in mind, Defiesta suggests that a local financing scheme, similar to a cooperative structure can be set up, to build up funds for a community-based planned adaptation program. The organization, to be managed by the farmers, can implement an incentive-based collection method. However, collection method and fund management need to be in place for the scheme to become successful. (Jobelle Mae Zuraek)