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Publication | 26 January 2021

Diversity in perception and management of farming risks in southern Mali

A deeper understanding of how smallholder farmers perceive and manage risks is crucial to identify options that increase farmers' adaptive capacity. We investigated a broad range of risks that play a role in farmers' decision-making processes. In the cotton zone of Mali opportunities and constraints vary with the resource endowment of farms. Furthermore, as households are large in this region, often comprising 20–50 family members, intra-household diversity may influence perceptions and risk management. For this reason, we analysed diversity both among and within farms. Information was gathered through focus group discussions and a survey with 250 people from 58 households. Risk was assessed as the combination of the perceived frequency of occurrence of hazards and the impact on food availability and income. Farmers faced a diversity of risks, with hazards related to animal and personal health, and climate variability of highest concern.

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