Ranking perceived risk to farmers: How important is the environment?

This study investigates the structure of farmers’ risk perceptions in an arid area where agriculture faces many difficulties. Principal component analysis identified four components of risk from amongst twenty Likert scale items, including aspects of the natural and institutional environments. Index scores were created for each of the four components of risk, which were then explained using OLS regression. The intensity of perceived risk was inversely correlated with profitability of the farm enterprise. Management experience, time spent in nature and more education corresponded to perceptions of less risk, while risk increased with farm size, the presence of heirs, the severity of the 2011/2012 drought and the threat of jackal predation. More educated and experienced farmers, who are more profitable, were found to be more likely to be moderates, while those with heirs to succeed them and those with more intense jackal problems were more likely to be in the group with greater concerns. Four important results were found: 1) risk perceptions vary even within an apparently homogenous community, 2) economic factors dominate risk perceptions, 3) climate change concerns are crowded out by more immediate issues, and 4) coming to terms with predator management is a major concern.

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African Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Volume 11, Number 4
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African Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics
Volume 11, Number 4

 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2017-08-29

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