Determinants of Livelihood Diversification Under Environmental Change in Coastal Community of Bangladesh

 -Asia-Pacific Journal of Rural Development

Livelihood diversification (LD) plays a crucial role in promoting economic growth and reducing rural poverty in developing countries (Loison, 2019). It is the process of combining both agricultural and non-agricultural activities to survive and improve the standard of living (Ellis, 1998Niehof, 2004; Martin & Lorenzen, 2016Pritchard et al., 2019).


Households across the developing countries are trying to diversify their livelihood activities to secure from risks and cope with economic and environmental shocks (Baird & Hartter, 2017Gautam & Andersen, 2016Martin & Lorenzen, 2016). By providing alternative non-farm job opportunities, LD marks a vital role in sustainable ecological development and rural poverty reduction (Liu & Lan, 2015). Climate change has emerged as a threat to natural life and livelihood systems (Rahman et al., 2018).

To cope with the changing situation, smallholder farmers in the coastal regions are adopting both on-farm (planting drought-tolerant crops and mixed farming) and off-farm (selling household assets, migration of the entire households and decreasing food consumption/changing diets) diversification strategies. These diversified activities allow farming households to manage risk and improve their lives (Aniah et al., 2019Baird & Hartter, 2017). There are several factors, such as education level, number of livestock, farming experience, etc., that affect the adoption of diversified activities (Akhtar et al., 2019). Most importantly, the age of the household head, along with possession of cropland and distance from markets, are essential determinants of LD strategy (Corral & Radchenko, 2017Ismail et al., 2018Tesfaye et al., 2011).

Despite having a little contribution to global emission, Bangladesh is to experience the adverse impact of global warming in terms of changing climate (Collins, 2014). Farmers in the coastal regions of the country are forced to alter or diversify their agricultural activities to cope with climate-driven hazards (Burchfield & Poterie, 2018).

Besides, several natural disasters, such as cyclones, floods, tidal surges, droughts, salinity intrusion and waterlogging, pose severe threats to their lives and livelihoods (Bernier et al., 2016Hasan & Kumar, 2020Shameem et al., 2014).

Each year, they experience a massive loss of productive land and damage to other natural resources, such as freshwater estuary, grassland, forests, etc., that threaten their livelihoods and food security (Alam, 2017Pouliotte et al., 2009). They have been adopting both on-farm (planting saline resilient crops, changing cropping time, livestock rearing, etc.) and non-farm (wage employment, short-term migration, tertiary jobs, etc.) adaptation strategies to reduce loss from farming activities (Kabir et al., 2017).

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