Public-private partnership in enhancing farmers’ adaptation to drought: Insights from the Lujiang Flatland in the Nu River (Upper Salween) valley, China (2017)

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Agriculture is an important type of land use but suffers from drought, especially under global climate change scenarios. Although government is a major actor in helping farmers to adapt to drought, lack of funds has constrained its efforts. Public-Private Partnership (PPP) mechanism has been widely applied in urban infrastructure development to raise fund for public goods and services, but very few studies explored its role in rural areas. Based on interview of 139 farming households and open-ended interview of village heads, government officials and company representatives, in the Lujiang Flatland in the Nu River (Upper Salween) Valley, Southwest China, this paper aims to reveal how PPP functions to enhance farmers' adaptation to drought. We found that farmers have developed multiple strategies in their own ways to adapt to drought, including pumping and store water, using water-saving irrigation techniques, changing of crops, and strengthening water management at the community level, while insufficient funds, water resource scarcity and mismatch of time-scale of crop growth and drought even hindered their adaptation options. Limited fund sources, gap in policy implementation and weak performance of government-funded projects hindered governmental supports to be effective. Weak motivation and distrusted by farmers limited the engagement of private enterprises in supporting farmers to adapt to drought. PPP mechanism has the potential to mobilize fund from multiple sources, share costs, risks and benefits among different stakeholders, combine both scientific and local knowledge, and reduce uncertainty through formal and informal institutions. Benefited from these advantages, PPP mechanism could improve project performance, thus increase farmers’ adaptation options and resilience to drought. This study offers referential lessons and valuable insights for agricultural development, especially for mountain communities vulnerable to exceptional and recurrent drought episodes under warming climate.
Year: 2017
Language: English
In: Land Use Policy, 71: 138–145 p.

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