Andean livelihood strategies and the impact of market and climate shocks: Risks perceptions and coping mechanisms
C. Valdivia; L. Marks; J.L. Gilles; E. Jimenez; A. Romero
Type of Document:
Date of Publication:
Place of Publication:
Andean families pursue their livelihood strategies in an environment of uncertainty shaped by market and climate risks. Production and consumption decisions remain interlinked due to limited, shallow or imperfect markets, especially for credit to protect against negative shocks. Risk perceptions inform decisions, as do insurance mechanisms. Risks are assessed from the point of view of women and men heads of household connecting perceptions and management or coping mechanisms. Perceptions are predicted by the dread the risk produces, the degree of control – knowledge of the risk, and the coping mechanisms. The latter includes the capitals invested – social, economic, cultural, and natural – in providing a buffer or in adaptation strategies. Trusted sources of information and networks are also evaluated to develop a framework for communication of changes in the Altiplano to improve adaptation to change.
Community participatory assessments identified environmental, production, market and human welfare risks. These were evaluated for dread, degree of control, and coping through a household survey of 330 families, eliciting systematically from male and female heads of household their perceptions and feelings about various risks, and sense of control of the risk. The survey also recorded information on shocks, coping mechanisms, capitals, and activities in 2006. Three clusters were identified with significant differences in total income and cash income in each region, Umala and Ancoraimes. Higher livestock assets and access to alfalfa and overall higher income were found in Umala. Higher crop diversification, less fallow fields, and lower overall income are characteristic of Ancoraimes. Accordingly clusters in the latter region experienced more climate shocks on crop production. Consistent with theory higher income and coping mechanisms that do not deplete assets are consistent with lower sense of dread, for both men and women.