Engaging with farmers to enhance participatory climate risk management

February 10, 2021

Engaging with farmers to enhance participatory climate risk management 

The agriculture sector is seen as particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change. Farmers are often known to bear the economic cost of climate-induced losses and damages to their cultivation and disruption to agriculture-related activities. Understanding the existing mechanisms of risk transfer and risk financing is important for a country to design a comprehensive disaster risk management strategy that supports risk reduction and climate change adaptation processes, and in building resilience of communities to face the impacts of climate change.

Sri Lanka is a country committed to achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement which aims to address adverse impacts of climate change by limiting global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius, with further efforts to limiting it to 1.5 degrees Celsius, and to strengthen countries’ capacities and efforts in doing so. As part of such efforts, Sri Lanka recognizes addressing climate-induced loss and damage through its Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), which incorporate mitigation, adaptation, and climate-induced loss and damage across a number of priority sectors, including agriculture. To support designing comprehensive risk management strategies to strengthen such processes, SLYCAN Trust has been conducting research related to climate risks and risk transfer mechanisms in the agriculture sector in Sri Lanka as part of a global project on multi-actor partnerships (MAPS) on Climate and Disaster Risk Finance and Insurance (CDRFI) in the context of the InsuResilience Global Partnership.


As part of these research efforts, a team of our young researchers recently conducted another field visit to Ipalogama and Horowpathana Divisional Secretariats of the Anuradhapura District and Gomarankadawala and Morawewa Divisional Secretariats of the Trincomalee District. The field visit was conducted with the objective of gathering further data, particularly on current risk transfer mechanisms and farmers’ awareness on such mechanisms. 

A young researcher of SLYCAN Trust interviewing a female farmer.

A young researcher of SLYCAN Trust interviewing a male farmer.

During the visit, our team spoke to over 120 farmers individually to fill a comprehensive survey to explore the focus area of the study, upon receiving their consent. The sample covered both male and female farmers. One-on-one discussions were also conducted with mill owners, government officers, and local banking officials to understand the supply chain activities in the local context. The data collected will help to build on the data gathered during previous visits where group meetings and one-on-one interviews were conducted with a total of 400 farmers in the said areas. 

Farmers participating in the introductory session conducted by the SLYCAN Trust research team before the survey.

During the recent visit to the field, our team explored what types of losses and damages to cultivations and agriculture-related activities farmers have experienced from climate-induced disasters during the last ten years; the cost incurred due to such losses; systems or mechanisms the farmers have encountered to  cover the cost of such losses; their understanding of existing risk transfer mechanisms in the country; and vulnerabilities of farming communities and along the entire supply chain.   


SLYCAN Trust will continue to gather data on the ground from a wide sample representing the different ethnic groups in the selected climate vulnerable areas, utilizing an inclusive and participatory approach to ensure that findings will reflect actual gaps and needs of the farming community.  

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About the Author

SLYCAN Trust is a non-profit think tank. It has been a registered legal entity in the form of a trust since 2016, and a guarantee limited company since 2019. The entities focus on the thematic areas of climate change, adaptation and resilience, sustainable development, environmental conservation and restoration, social justice, and animal welfare. SLYCAN Trust’s activities include legal and policy research, education and awareness creation, capacity building and training, and implementation of ground level action. SLYCAN Trust aims to facilitate and contribute to multi-stakeholder driven, inclusive and participatory actions for a sustainable and resilient future for all.