Farmers’ Adaptation Strategies to Drought

A Case Study in Nong Ya Sai District of Thailand

Thesis (M.A.), 2017

129 Pages, Grade: Very Good (3.5)


Table of Contents



List of tables

List of Figures

List of Abbreviations

1 Introduction
1.1 Background of Study
1.3 Problem Statement
1.4 Research Objectives
1.5 Conceptual Framework
1.6 Scope and Limitations

2 Literature Review
2.1 Climate and Drought Information of Suphanburi Province
2.2 Drought Characteristics and Types
2.3 Potential Impacts of Drought
2.4 Drought impacts on Agriculture and Rural Livelihood
2.5 Farmers Adaptation Strategies to Drought
2.6Policies to Deal with the 2014 – 2016 Drought in Thailand

3 Research Design
3.1Type of Research and Research Design
3.2 Selection of Study Area
3.3 Sample Design
3.4 Process of Data Collection
3.5 Data Analysis and Techniques Used Profile of the Study. . Area and Respondents

4 Profile of the Study Area and Respondents 33
4.1 Physical Settings
4.2 Land Use Pattern
4.3 Demographic Information
4.4 Agriculture
4.5 Socio-economic Profile of Respondents

5 Farmers’ Understanding, Experiences and Interpretation of Drought
5.1Role of Perception and Understanding in Hazards Risk
5.2 Farmers Perception of Drought
5.3 Farmer’s Understanding of Causes of Drought
5.4 Farmers’ Experience of Drought

6 Impacts of Drought on Agriculture and Farmers’ Livelihoods
6.1 Agricultural Impacts of Drought
6.2 Economic Impacts of Drought
6.3 Social Impacts

7 Identify the Farmers’ Current Adaptation Strategies to Reduce Drought Impacts
7.1 Concept of Adaptation to Drought
7.2 Farmers Adaptation Strategies to Reduce Drought Impacts in . the Study Area
7.3 On-Farm Adaptation Strategies to Reduce Drought Impacts
7.4 Off-farm Strategies
7.5 Governmental Supports and Activities During Drought

8 Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation for Managing Drought Impacts
8.1 Summary of Findings
8.2 Conclusions
8.3 Recommendations




Before to say anything in order to thank all those who supported me to finish this study successfully, I should say thank Allah, who is the most merciful and the most compassionate that gave me a chance to do my Master Degree and finish this thesis successfully.

This thesis would not have been possible without the guidance and the help of several individuals who in one or another way contributed and extended their valuable assistance in the preparation of this study. Hereby, I would like offer my immense gratitude and regards to them as below:

First and foremost, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to my supervisor, Professor Jayant K Routray for his intellectual guidance, constant encouragement and constructive criticism. His perpetual energy and enthusiasm in research had motivated me. The door to Prof. Routray’s office was always open whenever I ran into a trouble spot or had a question about my research or writing. He consistently allowed this paper to be my own work, but steered me in the right direction whenever he thought I needed it. I attribute the level of my Master degree to his encouragement and effort and without him this thesis would not have been completed or written. One simply could not wish for a better or friendlier supervisor. Many Thanks again for all his valuable guidance and supports.

Besides my supervisor, I offer my sincerely gratitude and thanks to my thesis committee members: Dr. Mokbul Morshed Ahmad who is Associate Professor in Regional and Rural Development Planning Field (RRDP), and Dr. Sangam Shrestha who is Associate Professor in Water Engineering and Management Field (WEM) for their valuable time, frank comments, expert advice, and valuable criticizing, but also for the hard questions which incented me to widen my research from various perspectives. Many thanks again for all their helpful guidance and comments.

Also, I thank from Dr. Soparth Pongquanwho is Associate Professor in Regional and Rural Development Planning (RRDP), for her encouragement, supports and guidance to write the Drought Policy of Thailand.

I should thank Mr. Vitoon Nil-Ubol who is Laboratory Supervisor of Regional and Rural Development Planning Field, for his kind assistance and valuable guidance and supports for making statistical analysis of this study.

Last but not least, I am highly indebted to my beloved and respected parents. This achievement would not have been possible without their love, prayers, and their encouragement and moral support throughout the study at AIT.


Drought is one of the major threats among all natural hazards to people’s livelihoods and socio-economic development. Drought is a normal characteristic of climate and is considered to be the most complex but least realized of all natural hazards which affects more people than any other hazards particularly the farmers and their livelihoods. The firs and the most consequence of drought lies on Agriculture and threatened both agriculture sector and those who are dependent on it in that drought affected area. Nong Ya Sai district of Thailand is a drought prone area which the farmers have been suffering from drought during the recent years. Since, it is a long time that the farmers have experienced the drought and its consequences on their farming and their livelihoods, they could have a good perception of drought and its impacts on their agro-based livelihood. Thus, they have applied some adaptation strategies to reduce the drought impacts on their farming and livelihood in that area based on their previous experiences and governmental support.

Therefore, this study has attempted to focus on farmers’ adaptation strategies to drought in order to find out what strategies or techniques are adapted by farmers to reduce the drought impacts on their both farming and livelihoods. Furthermore, this study has assessed the farmers’ perception and understanding of drought and what are the drought impacts on agriculture and farmers livelihoods. To achieve these objectives, the Nong Ya Sai district of Thailand has defined as the target area of this study where it is a drought affected area and the farmers have experienced and adapted some strategies to reduce the drought impacts.

Micro level analysis has revealed that farmers were well aware of drought issues. The farmers’ perception and understanding of drought are in conformity with the results of climatic data of last 12 years which were obtained by Metrological Department of Suphanburi Province in relate to drought. In addition, deficiency in rainfall due to drought has impacted on agricultural production in study area. The production of major crops (rice, sugarcane, cassava, and vegetable) have declined. Thus, the farmers have lost their agricultural impacts due to drought and this has affected their livelihood (health, education, household consumption, and rural community) as well.

In Nong Ya Sai district, the farmers have adapted many different on-farm and off-farm adaptation strategies to reduce the drought impacts on their farming as well as on their livelihoods. The major on-farm adaptation strategies were delaying of plantation date, changing the cropping system, using mulch, applying dripping system of irrigation and using drought resistance variety. On the other hand, the major off-farm strategies were income diversification, industrial labor, migration and assets depletion.

This thesis has studied in the field of drought hazard and the findings of thisstudy are consistent with existing literature on drought in Thailand and other regions. In the country and study area, the findings and results of this study may be effective and useful adaptation strategies to drought and also understanding the drought impacts on agricultural production and farmers livelihoods, because of the little or no research on drought in the study area. In addition, maybe this thesis assist the regional and rural planners and extension officials and other agro and rural related sectors and departments to formulate development plans, policies and extend useful and effective services in order to facilitate farmers to be able to sustain their livelihood against the drought by adapting the most effective adaptation strategies.

List of Tables

2.1 Seasonal Pattern in Nong Ya Sai district of Suphanburi

2.2 Drought Situation by Tambon in Nong Ya Sai District

2.3 Monthly number of rainy days in 2015

2.4 The climate parameter information of Suphanburi Province, 2006-2015

3.1 Sampling Procedure and Methods

3.2 The targeted informants of the study

4.1 Total Land Area by Tambon in Nong Ya Sai District

4.2 Topographic characteristics of Tambons in Nong Ya Sai District

4.3 Land Use Distribution in Nong Ya Sai District

4.4 Population Distribution by Sex in Nong Ya Sai District (2011–2016)

4.5 Population Distribution by Tambon in Nong Ya Sai District

4.6 Agricultural Crops and Land Use Distribution in Nong Ya Sai District and its Tambons.

4.7 Distribution of Livestock by Tambon in Nong Ya Sai District

4.8 Cropping Pattern by Tambon in Nong Ya Sai District

4.9 Type of Agricultural Land Use

4.10 Classification of respondents by age

4.11 Classification of respondents by years of living in the study area

4.12 Classification of Respondents (Household Heads) by Gender

4.13 Statistical Information of Household Size

4.14 Occupational structure of sample respondents’ household members.

4.15 Farming experience of the respondents

4.16 Education background of household members

4.17 Education background of respondents (household heads)

4.18 Agricultural Land Size of Respondents

5.1 Perception of drought by farmers in the study area

5.2 Farmers perception to identifying causes of drought

5.3 Farmers experience of drought information

5.4 Drought Intensity in 2016

5.5 Drought years and frequency of drought in the study area

5.6 Experiences of drought months by the farmers in the study area

5.7 Duration of drought days by year

6.1 The percentage of production loss of different crops in study area.

6.2 The number of livestock heads before and after drought

6.3 The number of farmers who had livestock

6.4 Pasture loss due to drought in the study area.

6.5 Impacts of drought on land soil conditions.

6.6 Impacts of drought on agricultural land size of different crops

6.7 The impacts of drought on irrigation water sources.

6.8 Economic impacts of drought on farmers’ household and livelihood

6.9 Drought impacts on farm income

6.10 Drought impacts on agricultural investments in study area.

6.11 Drought impacts on farmers assets in the study area

6.12 Agricultural and non-farm labor wage before and after drought.

6.13 Impacts of drought on farmers’ livelihoods and social in the study area

6.14 Drought impacts on farmers’ community and associations.

7.1 Farmers’ ability to adapt with drought to reduce its negative impacts on their farming and livelihoods in the study area.

7.2 Different drought adaptation strategies in the study area

7.3 Seasonal Pattern in the study area

7.4 The usual plantation date and growth stages of major crops

7.5 The plantation date of rainy season rice at drought time

7.6 The less water use crops in the study area.

7.7 The irrigation techniques which were adapted by farmers to reduce drought impacts in the study area

7.8 The off-farm adaptation strategies of farmers to reduce drought impacts on their livelihoods in the study area.

7.9 In-Migration and Out-Migration in Nong Ya Sai district (2013-2015).

7.10 Types of assets were sold to reduce drought impacts on farmers’ livelihood in the study area.

7.11 Farmers and agricultural officials communication in the study area

7.12 The advised adaptation strategies to drought by agricultural officials

7.13 Government assistance for the farmers at drought time in the study area

8.1 Recommendations from key informants in order to manage the drought impacts

List of Figures

1.1 The conceptual framework

2.1 Annual mean temperatures in Thailand, 1951-2009

2.2 Annual mean temperatures in Suphanburi Province, 2006-2015

2.3 Mean annual rainfall in Thailand, 1951-2005

2.4 Annual rainfall (mm/year) in Suphanburi Province, 2006-2015

2.5 The trend of annual rainfall, rainy days, temperature, and humidity in Suphanburi, 2006-2015

2.6 Relationship between meteorological, agricultural, hydrological, and socio economic drought.

2.7 Thailand water and drought crisis in 2016

3.1 Map of the study area

3.2 Research Design Framework

4.1 The schema of chapter 4

4.2 Map of Nong Ya Sai District

4.3 Total land area distribution by Tambon in Nong Ya Sai District (Km2)

4.4 Land use distribution in Nong Ya Sai District

4.5 Land use pattern map of Nong Ya Sai District

4.6 The agricultural land distribution by major crops

4.7 Education background of household members

6.1 The schema of chapter 6

6.2 Average crop production (Kg/ rai) before and after drought and the average percentage of decreasing the crop production due to drought.

6.3 The trend of decreasing crop production before and after drought.

7.1 The schema of chapter 6.

List of Abbreviations

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Chapter 1 Introduction

1.1 Background of Study

The drought is perhaps a serious natural hazard that mankind have been facingworld widely, mainly in terms of its impacts on agricultural productivity and farmers’ livelihood. The drought is one of the mjor important climate related disasters which climate change is set to exacerbate (ECA, 2007). It is a harmful natural hazard which is related to a deficiency of precipitation over an extended period of time, usually for a season or more. Such a deficiency causes in a water shortage for some activities, environmental sectors, or groups. Also, there are some other climatic factors such as high wind, low relative humidity, and high temperature are often associated with drought.

In opposite to other natural hazards, the drought events evolve slowly in time and their impacts generally span a long period of time (Bacanli et al, 2008). Drought occurs in virtually all climatic zones, but its characteristics vary significantly from one region to another. It is a temporary aberration; it differs from aridity, which is restricted to low rainfall regions and is a permanent feature of climate (Ishaya et al.,2010).It occurs due to some very simple incidences and intervention in the ecosystem of affected regions. If it is not raining often, and there are extended periods of hot temperatures, it can cause reduce water content and high pressure winds. This can avoid from formation of thunderstorms and stop rainfall altogether for a prolonged period of time. However, human activities can contribute to a drought too. This is a fact unless many would not believe it. The reason why this can happen is, because things such as farming, deforestation, a surplus of irrigation and even erosion can lead to drought. All of these things done by human activities can cause the land and earth to dry out which causes drought. Also, climate change can contribute to drought; by an increase in global warming, it can have a wide contribution of impacts on the possibilities of drought.

Drought produces a complex web of impacts that spans economy, environment and social sectors and reaches well beyond the area experiencing physical drought. Economic impacts may occur in agriculture as well as related sectors. It causes to lossof yields in both crop and livestock production. Reduced income for farmers has a ripple effect, retailers and others who provide goods and services to farmers face reduced business. The environmental impacts of drought such as plant diseases and insect infestations, habitat and landscape degradation in short term, increased erosion, water suffering for animal species and plant, and over time desertification can occur with an extreme lack of moisture at long term. In case of social consequences of drought, agriculture as well as farmers’ social life and health are threatened the most. Extreme lack of moisture at long term drought can causes to inequalities in water distribution between wealthy and poor, increasing disputes between users of available water, disparities in areas in need of disaster relief, and a decline in health.

In the last few decades, several communities in the dry lands of Africa have been facing drastic food shortages as a consequences of recurrent drought. Major droughts with deleterious results to food production happened in 1968-73; 1982-85; 1990-1992 and 2003 with each drought cycle, the occurrence of desertification increases. The reduced capacity for food production and desertification have put a population of over 100million in the dry lands on the brink of starvation (Darkoh, 1993).

The term “Adapt” means to make something or system more suitable by altering it (Smitet et al., 1999). Adaptation refers to the process of adapting and the condition of being adapted. According to Burton (1992), the process of adaptation in social science is concerned with “the process through which people reduce the adverse impacts of climate on their health and well-being, and gain from the opportunities which are provided by their climatic environment”. Similarly, Carter et al. (1994) described that “adaptation refers to any adjustment, whether passive, reactive or anticipatory that can respond to anticipated or actual consequence associated with climate change” as cited by (Le, 2011).

Many definitions of the term adaptation abound in literature. According to Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC, 2001), adaptation are actions taken to help communities and ecosystems moderate, cope with, or take advantage of actual or expected changes in climatic conditions.

Therefore, adaptation is a key factor in drought studies. It could be proactive which referred to as planned; this requires assessing the vulnerability of natural, man-made systems as well as costs benefits of actions versus inactions, and planning alternatives accordingly. Adaptation could also be reactionary which means actions are taken to reduce the impact of drought or take advantage of the opportunities presented (Omolola, 2009).

The main part of society who will be affected by drought and get the highest suffer from that are immediately farmers. They are under the direct effects of drought on their farming and livestock practices. When drought happens, the farmers may take into account some strategies which have evolved to reduce the overall vulnerability to drought shocks (Adaptive strategies) based on their experiences and knowledge which they had learned to adapt to drought. In this regards, they may change their some practices such as irrigation system, source of water (underground water), cropping system, and plant variety (alternative crops). In some cases, those who not be able to cope with drought by adapting some agro practicing, they face to migration or engaging with non-farm employments and industrial sectors to fulfill their household consumption and proceeding their livelihoods. Government policies which are touched with drought are other factor that impacts and effects on farmers’ adaptation strategies to drought. Good governmental policy and strategy of drought coping and drought adaptation can reduce the negative impacts of drought on agriculture sector and farmers.

1.2 Rationale of the Study

Farmers are the key stakeholder of food crop growers in Thailand. In drought affected region they suffer most from the effects of droughts. As an instance, Drought directly affects farmers’ lives and daily livelihood patterns in Bangladesh. Therefore, drought not only impacts on the agricultural losses of the farmers. but also reduces their income, job opportunity and inputs and investment in the agricultural sector (Habiba, et al., 2012) and repeated loss of crops and reduction of harvesting leads to falling farm income and associated problems of food shortage, malnutrition and general impoverishment of local inhabitants. Moreover, drought increases risk to food security, illness, reduction of drinking water sources, migration and loss of livestock. In severe cases, it increases the chance of seasonal food crises (Adams, 2001)

Hence, as it is important to examine the impact of drought on crop yields, also, it is needed to examine existing responses and adaptation strategies by farmers to drought, if future adjustment options must be of value(Habiba, et al., 2012). However, few studies to date investigate at the farm level to seek farmers’ adaptation strategies toward drought particularly in the context of study area. Many researchers focus their research on the impact of droughts on agriculture, food production, land degradation, economy, and society. But, it does not highlight the current situation of farmers on how they cope with existing drought conditions(Habiba, et al., 2012). This study, therefore, intends to examine the farmers’ adaptation strategies to drought and seeks the various adaptation practices of farmers in a comprehensive manner. The adaptation concept is rather new for the research community and has origins in natural sciences (Smit, 2006) and it also used for a longer history in ecology, natural hazards and risk management fields (Smitet et al., 1999).

It is strongly needed to analyze either the hazard or the vulnerability to the hazard. As an instance, the assessing of vulnerability maybe is involved in order to determining the consequences of inadequate understandingof consumers, the factors which were the causes of those consequences, and the activities which would be able toreduce the impact. The very few recent studies have emphasized that the way to reducethe consequences in a very effective manner should be disaster management. And the disaster management has to move away from solely emergency responseand initiate during or after an event. The literature of climate change has also emphasized about the planning role, water and land use to reduce the impacts of hardship climatic events (Field et al., 2012).

According to many ideas from different authors, adaptation to drought by this study is understood as adjustments by community and individual farmers to respond to the negative impacts or enhance adaptive capacity of farmers. Knowing adaptation concepts is important to make a base for evaluating and identifying impacts of drought as well as choosing the appropriate adaptation strategies in order to reduce negative impacts of drought, decrease significantly vulnerability and risk for society, environment and nature.

Therefore, this study is expected to find out the strategies and planning that will reduce the impacts of drought hazard on farmers’ livelihoods and their farming. Similarly, the findings of this research work are expected to constitute an invaluable source of data for future references. This research will also assist in identifying local drought adaptation techniques which would help in developing practical drought adaptation plans for sustainable productive agricultural activities in the study area and in similar drought- prone areas.

1.3 Problem Statement

The most immediate impact of drought on rural livelihoods is on crop production. Droughts decrease farm yields, national food availability, and agricultural income which are derived from crop sales. Those families or nations that are dependent on agriculture for its food and income their food security are threatened by poor and low harvests. In the longer term, Kydd and Dorward (2002), noted that the presence of risk of drought decrease the productivity of rural economy in three ways: (1) reducing returns to investment, (2) distorting investments away from income-maximizing towards risk-reducing activities, and (3) discouraging investment altogether, because returns are low and investors are risk averse. In these ways, weather risks contribute to under-investment and hence to long-run agricultural stagnation and rural poverty in countries that are dependent on rain fed agriculture (Devereux, 2007). Weather adaptation strategies to drought can reduce volatile investment and encourage the farmers to adapt instead of running away.

Drought impacts on livelihood in different ways. The community and its economic ability is weakened by drought. Drought impacts on environment also add to the economic vulnerability, because it directly affects livelihood of rural peoples who are dependent on agriculture by reducing of harvesting, perishing pastures, degrading soil quality, destroying rivers, springs, and forests. In drought period, if people have some adaptive strategies, they can cope with the situation for comparatively longer period than those who do not have some adaptive strategies. Chambers (1998) argues that farmers coping and adaptive ability are linked by their livelihood assets base. Therefore, farmer will be more equipped and in a better position to respond to a typical climate conditions having more stable and diverse asset base and vice versa.

Recent droughts in the Nong Ya Sai district of Suphanburi province of Thailand (study area of this study) have contributed to considerable stress on water resources and substantial economic, social, and environmental impacts. The severity and extent of impacts has prompted calls for more concerted efforts to improve and expand the district’s drought preparedness and adapt to drought.

The drought has to be understood not only in terms of climatic parameters, but also in terms of its consequences on human life and livelihoods. Studying the understanding of drought consequences on human life such as economic impacts, and social impacts can define the human ability, capacity and capability in order to apply some adaptive and fundamental methods to dealing with the drought consequences(Thraves, 2007).

In study area, farmers are still very vulnerable and threatened by drought and its impacts on agriculture and rural livelihoods. The right instruments to reduce these threatened factors and vulnerability are not well extended yet. More evidence is required to explore the farmers’ diverse adaptation strategies and which policies farmers favor to lift themselves out of drought impacts.

“There are few studies on perception of communities and policy makers about drought and about actions to mitigate the same (Robert, 2009).” Adaptation to drought is a two-step process, which initially requires the perception and then responding to drought through adaptation. Therefore, after assessing farmer’s perception and awareness on drought parameters, it will be tried to vividly depict the farmers’ adaptation measures in order to adapt with drought.

From the foregoing, it is obvious that not much have been done on adaptation and coping strategies to drought in Nong Ya Sai district (study area) and its environs. It is in view of the above facts that this research seeks to identify farmers’ adaptation strategies to drought in Nong Ya Sai and its environs.

According to the above discussion and literature, it is concluded which drought has severe impacts on rural areas, because a large portion of rural population are heavily engaged in agriculture and livestock. However, there are both farmers and non-farmers in rural area but among rural people, farmers are the most vulnerable group to drought induced impacts. Based on this review, it is concluded that the focus of this research should be on farmers' adaptation strategies to drought in study area.

1.4 Research Objectives

The main focus of this research was to determine the various farmers’ adaptation strategies to reduce the drought impacts in the study area. In this regard this study has focused on agricultural drought. The overall objectives of this study were;

- Assess farmers’ understanding, experiences and interpretationofdrought.
- Examine the impacts of drought on agriculture and farmers’ livelihoods.
- Identify farmers’ current adaptation strategies to reduce drought impacts.
- Recommend for managing drought impacts

1.5 Conceptual Framework

The conceptual framework of the study explains the different drought issues which are the focus of this study. It shows how the research would seek and present the farmers perception of drought. Then, it explained the drought impacts on farmers farming and livelihood. Based on the conceptual framework of study, the main objective and focus would be on identifying the farmers’ current adaptation strategies to reduce drought impacts in the study area.

1.6 Scope and Limitations

As it has already discussed, there are both farmers and non-farmers people in rural area but the majority of them are farmers. So, this study considered the farmers who their livelihood were depend agriculture activities. The study were done in 2 Tambons of Nong Ya Sai district of Suphanburi province in central of Thailand. Among the farmers, those who were in category of small farmers were sample sized to be the focus group of this study. the only limitation of this study would be the limitation of English secondary data.

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Figure 1.1: Research Conceptual Framework

Chapter 2 Literature Review

This chapter provided a theoretical framework developed from a synthesis of literature related on which this study was based. This chapter provided an overview of droughts and its impact on the agriculture and farmers livelihoods. At the last will be overviewed the farmers adapted strategies and finally will be a review of Thai policy about drought.

2.1Climate and Drought Information inNong Ya Sai District (Study Area)

2.1.1 Seasonal pattern

The Nong Ya Sai District is generally hot and humid all year round. This region is highly influenced by the northeast and southwest monsoon. According to the analysis from the mean temperature and rainfall amount at normal time, the dry season start from the January to April, the rainy season starts from the May to November and only one month (December) is for the winter season

Table 2.1. Seasonal Pattern in Nong Ya Sai district of Suphanburi

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Source: Nong Ya Sai District Office, 2014

2.1.2 Drought

The literature review on drought hazard is discussed below in the context of Thailand. First, it will present a brief picture of drought issues in national level. Then, it will go through the province of Supahnburi and Nong Ya Sai district which it is the area for this study.

In national level, according to data from the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation, as of June 25, 2015 twenty provinces in Thailand are experiencing drought—mostly the North and Northeastern provinces which include Suphanburi, Nakhonsawan, Phitsanulok, Uttaradit, Tak, Nan, Lopburi, Nakhonratchasima, Khonkaen, Chaiyaphum, Sakonnakhon, Amnatchareon, Surin, etc. This drought was occurring in the middle of the rainy season from mid-June to July is considered an off-season drought and a result of global climate change and El Nino. Average rainfall in Thailand is 46% lower than normal and water levels are at 45% of Thailand’s reservoir capacity (Teerayut, 2015).

In additional to climate change, El Nino is another parameter which resulted to drought. In 2016, the drought has been exacerbated in Thailand by the El Nino weather eventthat is being occurred at an irregular intervals of two to seven years and drying up large parts of Asia, Australia and southern Africa while conversely dumping more water on the Americas (Sainsbury, 2016).

According to the meteorologists, the “El Nino”which was began in the first half of 2015 was the worst such event since at least 1997. It is now desiccating large swathes of farmland across South and Southeast Asia, from India to the Philippines (Sainsbury, 2016).

In 2016, 27 of 77 provinces of Thailand (including the administrative area of Bangkok) were listed by the government as being officially drought-stricken disaster areas. There are drought-affected districts in another 46 provinces which Nong Ya Sai district (study area) is one of those affected district, with water rationing increasingly being instituted across those areas. As a result, Thailand's already sagging economy is facing a fresh threat from reduced crops and declining yields of rice, sugar, maize and other staples (Sainsbury, 2016).

In provincial level, on 19 March 2015, The Royal Irrigation Department is accelerating its water distribution activities in Suphanburi Province to lessen the impact of severe drought affecting areas around the Mae Klong Basin. The drought of that year (2015), according to Lertviroj Kowattana, Director-General of the Department, was the most severe in fifty years (Suchanee 2015)

In district level, according to the RRDP workshop report 2016, farmers in Nong Ya Sai district are very depend on rainfall to cultivate sugarcane, cassava, and paddy (rainy season). On the other hand, extreme high temperature during the dry season and drought are the key problems in Nong Ya Sai district. It has affected most of the crops particularly paddy (dry season). According to report, the drought was occurred 3-4 times in last 5 years (2012-2016). Drought has heavily affected the agriculture and caused to reduce the crop production, even in year of (2016) the farmers stopped cultivation of paddy (dry season) in some Tambons of Nong Ya Sai district (table 2.1).

Table 2.2. Drought Situation by Tambon in Nong Ya Sai District

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Source: RRDP workshop report, 2016

2.1.3 Climate information

Over the past 150 years, the global average surface temperature has increased by 0.76°C (IPCC 2007). Global warming has caused greater climatic volatility such as changes in precipitation patterns and increased frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, and has led to a rise in mean global sea levels.

For the past five decades in Thailand, temperature increased, ranging from 0.10–0.18°C per decade (Jesdapipat, 2008) and as shown in figure 2.2, the same situation was happened in the Suphanburi where the study area of this study is located in it.

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Source: Thailand’s Department of Meteorology, 2009

Figure 2.1: Annual mean temperatures in Thailand, 1951-2009

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Source: Modified from data of Suphanburi Metrological Department, 2016

Figure 2.2: Annual mean temperatures in Suphanburi Province, 2006-2015

It can be seen that the annual mean temperature in Thailand rose by approximately 1C from 1981 to 2007. The country has at some time in the past experienced an average daytime temperature of up to 40°C, especially during the month of April (Jesdapipat, 2008), and continued to rise up to 43 °C in 2015 (Meteorological Development Bureau, 2016) while the amount of rain per day decreased over the last years. In fact, between 1990 and 1993, rainfall was below normal levels, causing water shortages in 1993.

In 2015, majority of the areas in Thailand was much warmer and drier than usual. That was the second warmest year in Thailand on record for the past 65 years. The first time was in 2010 (the warmest year was recorded in 1998). The mean temperature was above normal for all months especially December and November which was 2.1 and 1.9 °C above normal, respectively (Meteorological Development Bureau, 2016)

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Source: Thailand’s Department of Meteorology, 2008

Figure 2.3: Mean annual rainfall in Thailand, 1951-2005

Rainfall plays a crucial role in the everyday lives of the residents of Suphanburi Province and Nong Ya Sai as a part of this province. Farmers in the district heavily rely on rainfall for crop cultivation. The amount of annual rainfall has been decreased over the last years in Suphanburi. As the figure 2.4 shows that the amount of annual rainfall started to be decreased every year from 2013-2015. Table 2.2 shows that, in most of the months of 2015, number of rainfall days was lower than average. Especially, summer rainfall was very low. In month of December and February there was no rainfall at all, this is while that December was a part of rainy season months before.

Table 2.3: Monthly number of rainy days in 2015

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Source: Modified from data of Suphanburi Metrological Department, 2016

Theannually relative average humidity and number of annually rainy days have been decreased after 2012 in Suphanburi Province and its related regions. In 2013, the relative humidity of Suphanburi Province slightly decreased compared to the province’s average relative humidity from 2012 (table 2.3). The average annual temperature also has been increased in last 5 years when it is compared with 2011. This data also matches the rainfall trend in the Supnanburi Provicne, where there was a marked decrease in the amount of rainfall both at the provincial and district level (RRDP Workshop Report, 2016).

The above reviews have pointed the importance of rainfall to agriculture and water resource development in Suphanburi province and its environs. This background information revealed that Suphanburi province of Thailand and its environs are drought prone area. The above data and information also revealed that there is a big change in dry season and rainy season in the study area because the recent droughts.

Table 2.4: The climate parameter information of Suphanburi Province, 2006-2015

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Source: Suphanburi Metrological Department, 2016

Source: Modified from data of Suphanburi Metrological Department, 2016

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Figure 2.4: Annual rainfall (mm/year) in Suphanburi Province, 2006-2015

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Source: Modified from data of Suphanburi Metrological Department, 2016

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Figure 2.5: The trend of annual rainfall, rainy days, temperature, and humidity in Suphanburi, 2006-2015.

2.1.4 Cropping pattern

There are different crops which are growing and cultivating in Nong Ya Sai district of Suphanburi province (study area). The major crops which are practicing in all six Tambons of the district are paddy rainy season, paddy dry season, sugarcane, cassava, and vegetable in some villages of some Tambons. Each crop is cultivated in a particular time (season) in the year. Rice is the main crop and has affected more by drought. It grows through 2 different seasons which is called rainy season paddy and dry season paddy. Dry season paddy is grown from November to April of next year, followed by rainy season paddy from July to December. In 2016, the dry season rice was not cultivated in some area like Tambon Thap Loang, because of facing drought and very low amount of rainfall (RRDP Workshop report, 2016).

From the statistical data which presented in tables 2.2 and 2.3, it is being revealed that the amount of rainfall is trend to decrease since 2012 which lead to drought in the region. As it is described above, the growing period of paddy is followed through all months of the year in Nong Ya Sai district. The critical period of rice growing, particularly dry season rice is the months of December (Transplanting period), January, February (growing period) and April (Flowering period). Because as it is shown in the table 2.1, there was no rainfall in this month in 2015. According to the Teerayut (2015), the Rain-fed rice plantations are suffering the most from the drought. On the other hand, the best time for rainy rice plantation is June and July, but because of drought the government has asked the farmers to postpone the plantation to the month of August in the study area.

2.2 Drought Characteristics and types

2.2.1 Drought definition

The drought is considered as a normal component of climate variability and this is common world widely.“Drought can be short, persisting just for few weeks, or it may last for years before climate conditions return to normal. In severe cases drought can persist for several years and can have devastating effects on water supplies and agriculture sector”(Ashraf and Routray, 2013)

The drought is normally defined as a prolonged period of abnormally dry weather condition leading to a severe shortage of water. According to the American Meteorological Society (AMS, 1997), droughts originate from a deficiency of precipitation resulting in water shortage for some activity, and its severity may be aggravated by other meteorological elements. Drought is a normal, recurring feature of climate and it occurs in virtually all climatic regimes. While aridity is a permanent feature of a regional climate, drought is a temporary deviation from a normal condition. Thus, drought should be considered relative to some long-term average condition of balance between precipitation and evaporation in a particular area (AMS, 1997).

Drought is essentially an imbalance of the hydrologic cycle. In this cycle, water vapor enters the atmosphere by evaporation from oceans, lakes, and ground surfaces and by transpiration from plants. Water is returned to the earth in the form of rain or snow. Some of it recharges the soil moisture, some accumulate in bodies of water, and some runs off to the oceans. Thus drought can result simply from a deficiency in precipitation over a period of time, or it may be caused or by excessive evaporation and transpiration.

2.2.2 Types of drought

It is acknowledged that droughthas specific characteristics which those characteristics are described in terms of its duration, time, location, and its magnitude. Many authorities such as NDMC (2006a), Moneo and Iglesias (2006), ECA (2007), UN/ISDR (2007), Treberth et al(2007) and Abaje (2010) categorized drought based on meteorological, agricultural, hydrological, and socioeconomic considerations. drought

The meteorological type of drought is generally described by comparing the rainfall in a particular place and at a particular time with the average rainfall for that place. The definition is, therefore, specific to a particular location. Meteorological drought leads to a depletion of soil moisture and this almost always has an impact on crop production. When we define drought this way, we only consider the reduction in rainfall amounts and don't take into account theeffects of the lack of water on water reservoirs, human needs or on agriculture (Suryawanshi, 2011). drought

The hydrological drought is associated with the effect of low rainfall on water levels in rivers, reservoirs, lakes and aquifers. Hydrological droughts usually are noticed some time after meteorological droughts. First precipitation decreases and, sometime after that, water levels in rivers and lakes drops. Hydrological drought affects uses which depend on the water levels. Changes in water levels affect ecosystems, hydro-electrical power production and recreational, industrial and urban water use” (Suryawanshi, 2011). Agricultural drought

The agricultural drought is generally referred to a period with decreasing soil moisture and consequent crop failure. The agricultural drought occurs when there is not enough water available for a particular crop to grow at a particular time. “This drought doesn’t depend only in the amount of rainfall, but also on the correct use of that water. Imagine a period of low rainfall where water is used. Under these circumstances, the effect of the drought becomes more pronounced than it was before.Agricultural drought is typically seen after meteorological drought (when rainfall decreases) but before a hydrological drought (when the water level in rivers, lakes and reservoirs decreases)” (Suryawanshi, 2011).

It is important to mention that the effects of droughts are different in irrigated and non-irrigated agriculture. In regions which rely on irrigation, the impacts of short lived agricultural droughts are usually lower than in regions where crops are not irrigated.

Irrigated agriculture relies on stocks of water so if it does not rain, these crops still get the water they need (until the reservoir run dry).in non-irrigated agriculture crops depend directly on the rain as their water source. If it does not rain, the crops don’t get the water they need to survive (Suleiman, 2014). Socioeconomic (water supply) drought

This refers to the situation that occurs when physical water shortage begins to affect people. Socioeconomic definitions of drought associate the supply and demand of some economic good with elements of meteorological, hydrological, and agricultural drought (Abaje, 2010). It differs markedly from the other types of drought because it reflects the relationship between the supply and demand for some commodity or economic good (such as water, forage, or hydroelectric power) that is dependent on precipitation. Supply varies annually as a function of precipitation or water availability. Demand also fluctuates and is often associated with a positive trend as a result of increasing population, development, and other factors (Suleiman, 2014).

The relationship between these types of drought is obvious (figure 2.5). Meteorological drought is widely identified as the cause of agricultural and hydrological droughts. An agricultural drought is commonly defined as a state of deficient moisture conditions, which produce a lasting adverse effect on crops of economic importance and other natural plant growth. Hydrological droughts are prolonged periods of unusually low surface run-off and shallow groundwater level. (Abbasi, 2014).

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Source: National Drought Mitigation Centre, 2006

Figure 2.6: Relationship between meteorological, agricultural, hydrological, and socio- . . economic drought.

2.3Potential Impacts of Drought

In predictions of future changes in climate, drought is expected to become a more important factor affecting the agriculture. Drought in standing water bodies occurs as surface runoff and stream inputs decline and, as drought progresses, water levels recede from the normally highly productive littoral zone. As a perturbation, droughts occur over large (landscape) spatial scales, so they potentially threaten the survival, not only of individual aquatic organisms, but also of regional populations. Drought can impact on our environment, economy and society. Shortage of water can impact on the environment and this make changes the methods which rural, urban and commercial sectors can utilize water. Then, losses from these sectors are flew into other areas like human life, retail, business, power production and price increasing. As a brief, some of the major potential impacts of drought on an affected region are explained as below:

Drought causes water shortage and this may :

- Influence the profitability of land and in addition earthbound and aquatic habitats.
- have in-stream impacts because of low water streams
- result in transient vegetation cease to exist, and prompt to the danger of flame
- Increment silt and nourishment keep running off after rain
- Increment the danger of erosion because of overwhelming precipitation taking after a water lack
- Prompt to nitrate harming of stock after a dry period and overwhelming precipitation.

Economic effects from water deficiency occasions have a tendency to majorly affect the economy of drought prone area through:

- Drying out yields and grass with the goal that domesticated animals don't have enough to eat
- Expanded costs for supplementary bolster
- Decrease the volumes of primary production
- Lessened water stream away which can bring about issues for the generation of hydroelectric power
- Stressing on farm cash flows and income.
- Noteworthy loss of income to the area and the country.
- Significant loss of income to the region and the nation.

The social effects of drought can be:

- Trouble for rural communities, through welfare issues such as stress and loss of income.
- Water limitations for rustic and urban populaces.
- Famine and malnutrition, in many parts of the world drought is one of the major reason of malnutrition and can lead to significant loss of life.

2.4Drought Impacts on Agriculture and Rural Livelihood

2.4.1 Drought impacts on agriculture

At the time drought occurs, it produces a complex web of impacts that spans many sectors of the economy and reaches well beyond the area experiencing physical drought. This complexity exists because water is integral to society’s ability to produce goods and provide services (Suleiman, 2014). Water is needed for everything from human, wild life and plants health; to washing dishes; river rafting and fishing; to growing food; cooling engines and producing electricity. When there is no enough water for these activities, there will most often be a negative impact (NDMC, 2005). Drought affects more people than any other natural disaster. Lessons from developed and developing countries demonstrate that drought results in significant impact regardless of the level of development, although the character of this impact will differ profoundly (Wilhite, 2001).

Drought can spoil food; destroy agriculture, livestock, and fishing, food processing infrastructure, and production capacity. It interrupts market access, trade and food supply, reduce income, deplete savings and erode livelihoods. Impact of drought on agriculture depends on the stage of crops, duration and amount of water shortage during the certain stage. For instance, the effect of deficient at planting may delay germination, leading to low plant populations per hectare and a reduction of final yield. If good crop production conditions prevail during the pollination and grain-filling periods, moisture stress reduces only plant size and it has little effect on final yield (James, 1986).

The major immediate impacts of drought is a decline in crop production because of inadequate and poor distribution of rainfall. The agro-based livelihoods are faced with harvests loss which may not enough to both feed their families and fulfill their other commitments. “Livestock sales act as a buffer in times of hardship, farmers disinvesting in these assets to buy food. The first animals to be sold are usually those which make the least contribution to farm production, such as sheep and goats. However, as the period of drought-induced food deficit lengthens, farmers will have to start selling transport and draft animals, such as oxen and donkeys, as well as breeding stock, which constitute the basis of the household's wealth. In the Ethiopian highlands, stock are usually disposed of in the following order: sheep and goats, then younger cattle, with horses, donkeys and work oxen being sold as a last resort” (Wood, 1976), since the latter are essential for land preparation.

On the other hand, low rainfall causes poor pasture growth and may also lead to a decline in fodder supplies from crop residues. Insufficient levels of fodder around the village lead to weigh less and increased deaths among stock, especially where immigrant herds put further pressure on limited local pastures. While the response of most pastoral groups to fodder shortage is to move themselves and their herds elsewhere, this is not an option so easily followed by livestock-owning farmers.

Typically, “the farmers own fewer animals and have less familiarity with regular transhumance than pastoralists, both of which act as constraints on migration. In addition, few farm households will have sufficient labour to both take their animals to other grazing areas and continue with necessary farming operations. Thus, sedentary herds can be particularly badly hit in times of drought. The overall effect of a fall in fodder and crop production is to reduce the draft capacity of the farming sector, leading to lower crop output in the subsequent farming season. Loss of livestock around the farming settlement also reduces the household's access to dung, a product of considerable importance both as a fuel where firewood is scarce and as a means to retain fertility on regularly cropped soils”.

2.4.2 Impacts of drought on farmer’s livelihoods

When the farmers lose their farming production this will immediately affect their income and then its consequences would lie on farmers’ livelihoods. Therefore, the droughts cause decline of food production (crops and livestock), particularly in poorer areas where the people have less to eat. Food nutrition also is a problem, and that leads to vulnerability, diseases/illness and deaths. This is particularly so in remote communities of poorer countries, where communication and accessibility is usually poor.In drought affected regions, people feel anxiety, stress and the generally low and drained feeling of not knowing when things will improve can have a negative effect on people. People are unhappy and depressed because many things and activities that they used to do is no longer available and they have to deal with a difficulty water shortage.

In terms of social impacts of drought, it mainly involves public safety, health problems, and the conflicts among water users,reduce the life quality and inequities in term of distribution of impacts, and disaster relief. There are many of the impacts which defined as economic, environmental, and social components as well. One of those major social consequences would be population out-migration which is a significant problem in many countries.Often, it is stimulated by greater availability of food and water elsewhere. Migration is usually to urban areas within the stressed area or regions outside the drought area. Migration may even be to adjacent countries, creating refugee problem. However, when drought has abated, these migrants seldom return home, depriving rural areas of valuable human resources necessary for economic development. For the urban area to which they have immigrated, they increasing pressure on the social infrastructure, leading to greater poverty and social unrest. For example, the drought- prone north region of Brazil had a net loss of nearly 5.5milion people between 1950 and1980. Although not this entire population shift was directly attributable to drought, it was a primary factor for many in their decision to relocate. This continues to be a significant problem in Brazil and many other drought prone countries (Suleiman, 2014).

2.5 Farmers’ Adaptation Strategies to Drought

The adaptations are adjustments or interventions, which take place in order to manage the losses or take advantage of the opportunities presented by a changing climate (IPCC, 2001). Adaptation will allow a system to reduce risks associated with hazards by reducing its social vulnerability. Adaptation can be reactive, concurrent or anticipatory, spontaneous or planned (Nesamvuni et al., 2015).

Adaptation is the process of improving society’s ability to cope with changes in climatic conditions across time scales, from short- term (e.g. seasonal to annual) to the long- term (e.g. decades to centuries). Adaptation methods are those strategies that enable the individual or the community to cope with or adjust to the impacts of the climate in the local areas.

During drought periods, farmers may embark on a number of agricultural and technical activities such as adjust fertilizer input, adopt varieties that are tolerant to drought environments and plant crops that require less water. Other coping strategies used by farmers in South Africa include direct seeding. Farmers also use the zero tillage system in order to conserve soil moisture (Ellis, 1993). This method also requires less water and is good for early planting. Some smallholder farmers in Zimbabwe, for example, have been known to sell their livestock to compensate for a lack of income because of insufficient harvest (Kelly et al., 2002). This, however, only usually occurs under severe periods of stress. In South Africa one of the coping strategies most frequently used is for farmers to shift to crops that require less water such as sorghum (Jovanovic et al., 2002). The problem with such a strategy is that the majority of farmers in South Africa have very limited access to technology, market access and farm inputs (Nesamvuni et al., 2015).

The adaptation strategies that can be adopted in addressing crop failures can be identified, broadly divided into two: on-farm and off-farm adaptive strategies (Gashua, 1991; Suleiman, 2014).

2.5.1 On-farm drought adaptation strategy Dry planting: This is a technique popularly used by farmers in northern Nigeria. Seeds usually of millet, are planted on dry upland farms prior to the first rain of the season. The aim is to derive maximum utility from the highly unpredictable arrival of the first planting rain. The risk is that insects may eat up the buried seeds or the first rain may not be sufficient for proper germination to occur, thus, making replanting necessary. On the other hand, if the first rain is plentiful and insects do not eat or destroy the seeds the venture may prove worthwhile (Gashua 1991, Suleiman, 2014). Mixed cropping:Farmers in drought-prone areas of Nigeria usually grow their crops in a carefully designed complex (mix) on the same plot. Millet, Sorghum and Cowpea are a popular mix. The rational is to ensure security because, even if a hazard like drought or pest strikes, the crop tolerant to the hazard will still survive. Millet for instance is noted for drought tolerance while sorghum is avoided by grasshopper, and cowpea is able to use late rains and residual moisture for growth. The proportion of land under mixed cropping usually increases with the probability of drought occurrence to ensure greater risk spread (Gashua, 1991). Irrigation:Irrigation accounts for the largest consumption of water in the country. Farmers in drought prone regions of Thailand constructing farm ponds to supplement water during dry spells. However, if the dry spell persists for a long time, the farm ponds will be unable to solve the problem. Using a pump to irrigate rice in areas where the water table is not deep is another methods of copping with drought which is adapted by farmers (Bhandari et al., 2007). Variation in cropping pattern:Cropping is altered to cope with drought. For example the rice which is needed more water to grew than cassava, sugarcane, maize and some resistant rice variety so it is replaced by these crops in drought time. This is currently practicing in the Suphanburi province of Thailand (study area) (Bhandari et al., 2007). Adopting agricultural tools:Drought occurrence also results in the movement of some tools formally found deep in the Sahel into southern locations. For examples, the long- handle hoe (called Ashasha in Hausa) with its crescent -shaped blade that works as is pushed forward and backward by a working person. The blade is moved just beneath ground level thus cutting weed roots which causes to provide more water with a high accessibility of water for main crop roots (Gashua 1991;Bhandari et al. 2007;Suleiman, 2014). Adopting drought resistant crop varieties:Crop strains noted for moisture stress tolerance or those able to grow on residual moisture are increasingly getting adopted by farmers in the drought prone areas of Nigeria. Local millet varieties with tolerance of up to twenty five days are known to exist while growing of melon species is of economic significance on the residual moisture of farms (Gashua 1991; Suleiman,2014). In Northeast of Thailand, the rice farmers are switching to traditional varieties such as Nok Krachab, which is considered to be more drought-resistant (Bhandari et al., 2007) Adjusting to labour demand:The need to ‘make the best’ out of the usually unpredictable first rain is very familiar to farmers operating in the drought- prone areas. Planting, if not done at the dry planting stage, has to be quickly done. Replanting may also be necessary at times. Early first weeding and thinning are also very desirable farm management practices in the drought- prone farming. The urgency of these operations forces labour demand up and peasants with limited non- farm income sources and limited home labour availability are forced to reduce farm size or used tools like handle hoe or other agricultural tools (Gashua 1991;Suleiman, 2014). Soil management:Soil character like fertility and moisture retention capacity are very important to farmers in drought-prone areas. Use of chemical fertilizer and even manure if during dry spell, may have negative effects (Gashua 1991;Suleiman,2014).

2.5.2 Off-farm drought adaptation strategy Sale of assets:Farmers when faced with the danger of food shortage may resort to sale off their assets to get money for the purchase of food. Livestock are popular items assets use for this purpose (Gashua 1991;Bhandari et al., 2007, Suleiman, 2014) . Trade and craft: Both men and women in drought- prone areas including the study area get involved in trading or craft to supplement farm based income especially in drought periods. Mat and basket making weaving, clothes making, and other kinds of handicraft. The activities usually depend on locally available resources (Gashua 1991;Bhandari et al., 2007, Suleiman, 2014). on others: Another adaption strategy centers on the use of assistance from other people. It may be help from relatives or friends so that poverty is ‘shared’ by all. Borrowing from others like money lenders can also be used (Suleiman, 2014). For instance, the Thai Government to fight with drought has teamed up with the Bank of Agriculture (BAAC) to finance farmers who need to grow alternative crops. Moreover, the government has approved 84 million baht to drill 500 wells in the Chaophraya-Thajeen area which will help relieve about 100 to 130 thousand rai of already planted rice fields and curb damage by 3.4 billion baht (Teerayut, 2015). Sale of labour: The sale of labour by persons affected by drought is used as an adaptation strategy to cope with drought impact. Family head or members may go to nearby towns and work on construction sites, homes etc., on casual basis for cash that is used in buying food (Gashua, 1991). In the study area, working off-farm to earn subsidiary income to buy rice for consumption. To earn extra income, younger people generally move to Bangkok while older people seek employment as construction workers in provincial towns. Migration: Temporary or permanent migration is also a usual sequence of drought. The practice of seasonal migration is usually compounded by drought incidence. Home remittance from family members who have migrated to cities from rural parts of the drought- prone areas is known to help in mitigating the impact of drought (Gashua 1991;Suleiman, 2014). Harvest from the wild, hunting and fishing : Harvest of wild fruits, nuts etc, fishing and hunting are all known ways of supplementing food supplies during droughts (Gashua 1991). From the above review, agricultural development planning for drought- prone areas need to have the capacity of improving, where necessary and integrating the strategies evolved by the pleasance farmers in adapting with a menace he/she knows best. His/her regard for security should for the framework of such undertaking. More so, a better understanding of precipitation anomalies is essential to develop tools for prediction or forecasting of drought initiation and ending so that this occurrence may be clearly recognize for better adaptation options.

2.6 Policies to Deal with the 2014 – 2016 Drought in Thailand

The following graphic from The Nation shows that the amount of water stored in the ten major

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Source: The Nation, 2016.

Figure 2.7: Thailand water and drought crisis in 2016

In the long run, the country’s water management system will require major overhaul, a new strategic water plan has been drawn up by a water resources policy and administration committee (Royal Thai Government, 2015). At national level, current drought has started since the middle of 2014. The government set up committee on a water resources and administration to taking care of drought problem. At the beginning of 2015 (around February), the ministry of Interior proposed the integrated plan for drought management for the year 2015 which was endorsed by the government cabinet (Royal Thai Government, 2015). The plan focuses on four strategies:

i) Prevention and mitigation of impact: This strategy emphasizes drought monitoring and prediction as well as warning alert for people especially in drought-prone areas. Thai Meteorological Department, Geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency (GISTDA), and Hydro and Agro Informatics Institute are the main agencies responsible for the tasks. Meanwhile, Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation, Public Relations Department, Nation Disaster Warning Center, Provincial authorities, Districts and Local Administrative are responsible for the warning and communication with the public.
ii) Preparation for disaster: The strategy focuses on prevention and provision of water supply to help drought victims. The first priority is to provide water for consumption. Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation, Royal Irrigation Department, Department of Water Resources, Department of Groundwater Resources, Provincial Waterworks Authority, Metropolitan Waterworks Authority, Local Administrative Organization, and military units are responsible for the tasks. The Royal Thai Police is also assigned to protect people’s lives and belongings, while Ministry of Public health will oversee people’s health during the drought season.
iii) Emergency management: Measures include the establishment of regional and central operation centers, and campaigning for the management.
iv) Post-disaster management: The strategy emphasizes implementation of assistance measures which include financial compensation as stated under relevant laws and regulations, employment and career promotion for the affected people. Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Labor, Provinces, Districts, and Local Administrative Organization are responsible for the tasks.

On September 2015, the Cabinet approved eight measures to help farmers affected by drought that were proposed by the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives (MOAC, 2015). The measures include the followings:

i) Promotion of knowledge and support of production inputs to reduce household spending. These tasks will be undertaken by the ministries of Agriculture, Commerce and Tourism and Sports.
ii) Extend period of farmers’ debt repayment to financial institutions. The Bank of Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC) will extend debt repayment to farmers and to provide new credits for agricultural investment.
iii) Provide employment opportunities to enable famers to earn more income. In this regard, the Ministry of Labor has allocated a fund from the 2016 fiscal year to implement an urgent employment project and develop labor skills for the affected farmers.
iv) Fund projects to decrease the impact of drought. The projects will be proposed by communities including non-farm jobs and value added for agricultural production. The Ministry of Interior was assigned by the Cabinet to serve as the core agency in surveying the needs and submitting information to the Cabinet for further action.
v) Increase efficiency in water use. Campaigns will be carried out by the Government Public Relations Department to inform the people about the country’s current water situation and encourage them to use water sparingly. The Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives will promote the planting technique known as “alternative wet and dry”, which is a water-saving system for rice farmers that can apply to reduce water use.
vi) Increase water stock through artificial rainmaking operations and borehole development for agriculture.
vii) Provide prompt medical assistance and health care for drought – affected people
viii) Other assistance programs. These will include of emergency funds, credit to support the community economy, information services and promotion of agro -tourism to distribute income to the agriculture sector.

All affected provinces will set up information centers to report the drought situation and the needs of local people to the national information center, which is located in the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives. Under this integrate plan and 8 measures, the government approved 45 projects to assist farmers and communities and worth about 10 billion baht ($285 million) (MOAC, 2015). In addition, the Cabinet acknowledges and agreed upon the proposals made by Ministry of Finance on policy loan as contingency fund for farmers who suffered from 2015/2016 drought disaster, and “One Tambon One Agricultural SME” policy loan to promote sustainability of Thai agricultural sector which is implemented by BAAC. The Cabinet also approved for BAAC to implement Community Project to change the mode of production to fight drought crisis during the period of February 23, 2016 to December 31, 2018. (Royal Thai Government, 2016).

The policy is one of the key mechanism for driving mitigation and adaptation to drought. For the policy to be effective, it needs to be flexible through various scales and require cooperation between actors both government and private sectors (Kiem, 2013). The government have held a press on January 29, 2016 briefing on “Public – Private Alliance on Combating of Drought”, and called on all sectors to conserve water as much as possible. The government continued to undertake measures in preventing and tackling drought to ensure sufficient water supply throughout the dry season.

Chapter 3 Research Design

3.1 Type of Research and Research Design

This research study was based on a survey design. This covered the attempts to examine the drought impacts on agriculture production and farmers’ livelihoods and analysis of farmers’ adaptation strategies to drought. In this regard, it aimed to find out the on-farm adaptation and off-farm adaptation strategies which wereapplied by farmers to reduce drought impacts on their farming and livelihoods. Finally, this research hadrecommendedsome strategies that would facilitate farmers as well as government to manage the future drought impacts. Therefore, this research study was a combination of Exploratory and Explanatory research design.

3.2 Selection of Study Area

Drought is a recurrent natural hazard in study area which threats the livelihoods and farming of the farmers there. To fulfill the objectives of this study, Tambon Nong Ya Sai and Tambon Thap Luang which are located in Nong Ya Sai district are selected as the study area. Nong Ya Sai district is located in the northern part of Suphanburi province, central Thailand. It is about 59 km. far from Suphanburi province and located 170 Km far from Bangkok. It has a total area of Tambon Nong Ya Sai has a total population of 9,188 and can be classified to 4,580 males and 4,604 females with 3,093 households and the population density is 91person/ In Tambon Thap Luang, there is a total population of 9,946 and can be classified to 4,939 males and 5,007 females with 3,062 households and the population density is 150.56 person/ to the Nong Ya Sai Registration Office (2015),80 % of households are engaged in agriculture occupation and 20% for other occupations such as hired employees, trade and others. In farm based households, there are both agricultural and livestock occupation within their families in both Tambons(RRDP Workshop report, 2016).

To select the suitable study area and data collection in order to achieve the targeted objectives of this study, the following criteria was considered at the point of area selection:

- Tambon or area that has the maximum times of drought occurrence in the last 10 years.
- Tambon or area that drought has highly influenced on the livelihood of farmers and farming practices.

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Source: Modified from google image, 2016

Figure 3.1: Map of the study area

3.3 Sample Design

3.3.1 Sampling procedures and methods

In order to fulfill the objectives of the study, a field survey was conducted. The sampling design was based on a two staged sampling methods in terms of choosing the targeted area and targeted population which are as follow:

- A purposive sampling was used to select district, Tambon, and villages of Suphanburi province. In this regard, the drought prone area was chosen as the target area of this study.Therefore, those areas which already identified by RRDP workshop report 2016 (table 2.2) as drought affected area in Nong Ya Sai district of Suphunburi province were chosen as the study area.
- A random sampling was applied to select the surveyed households. Two villages were selected as the targeted area which were village 1 and village 3 in Tambon Thap Loang (rainfed area). And village 1 and village 4 in Tambon Nong Ya Sai (irrigated area). Table 3.1 shows a multi-stage sampling method applied in this study. Table 3.1 shows a multi-stage sampling method applied in this study.

Table 3.1: Sampling Procedure and Methods

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3.3.2 Sample size

To choose the sampling households for doing the survey, it was considered farming households which were in category of small farmers.Based on the above information and table 3.1, a sample size of 100 agro-based households was determined based on the proportion of total farmers’ households in the study area. In this regard, 50 farmers household were sample sized in Tambon Nong Ya Sai as irrigated farmers and 50 farmer households in Tambon Thap Luang as rainfed farmers which was totally 100 households. They were selected based on applying the following formula;

illustration not visible in this excerpt


n = sample size

N = total population

e = level of precision (0.12) for Tambon Nong Ya Sai and (0.14) for Tambon Thap Luang

Number of Farmer Household in both village 1 and village 4 in Tambon nong Ya Sai= 425

Number of farmer household in both village 1 and village 3 in Tambon Thap Luang= 585

Then the sample size would be:

Tambon Nong Ya Sai= 50 farmer households

Tambon Thap Luang= 50 farmer households

3.3.3 Why two target area?

In generally, there are two types of agriculture system which one is Irrigated Agriculture and the other is Rainfed Agriculture. Therefore, this study by considering it objectives was tried to present a full picture of drought situation, impacts on agriculture, farmers behaving on drought and identifying the different farmers’ adaptation strategies to drought which was the main objective of this study. Thus,it has studied on two target area. In this regards, one target area is Rainfed Area (Tambon Thap Luang) and the other target area is Irrigated Area (Tambon Nong Ya Sai). Furthermore, the study also compared the two target area by applying statistical tests of Chi-square tests and T-test, only when there was a significant differences on drought issues between the two targeted areas.

3.3.4 Target informants

The target informants which was includedin this research were sampled households of small farmers, local leaders, farmers’ institution, government official from key departments like district department, agriculture department, agriculture extension, livestock department, Suphanburi Metrological Department and TAO. The numbers of target informants were shown in table 3.2.

Table 3.2: The targeted informants of the study

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3.4 Process of data collection

The data was used in this research has collected from the two main sources, (1) Secondary data sources and (2) Primary data which was collected by researcher through the study area.

3.4.1 Secondary data collection

Secondary data is important because of understanding the overall situation and assessing the drought impacts on farmers and their livelihoods. Secondary data were collected and incorporated during the various stages of the research process. Useful information were found in a variety of sources: academic journals, published books and reports, unpublished working papers, research and thesis papers, government policy papers and reports, and regional agricultural and climatic documents. Both printed and online materials were used, and they provided information on a number of aspects. The major recourses of secondary data in this study were Nong Ya Sai District Office, TAO Office, Suphanburi Metrological Department, and National Statistical Office of Thailand.

3.4.2 Primary data collection

The study was mainly based on primary data collected through a standardized and structured questionnaire at farmer's household level through face-to-face interviews. Primary data was also drawn from the key informants' interviewwith government officials and community leaders. The primary data collection was conducted in order to gather supplementary and common information to identify problems associated with drought and assess what strategies are applied by farmers to adapt to drought. Mostly primary information was provided directly by the respondent who werefarmers and have been affected by drought.

By following, it was explained why and how the study used the aforementioned research methods, largely following the sequential order when these methods were adopted in different phases, except observation which was utilized throughout the whole field research period.

1. Questionnaire survey

A field survey was conducted at the household level through face-to-face interviews by using a standardized questionnaire. It was modified and revised after the pre- testing. To analyze the farmers’ perception and adaptation strategies to drought. This helped to assess the sensitivity of farmers to the hazards of drought and how they adapted to it.

2. Key informant interviews

Checklist was used to explore the overall situation as well as issues more directly related to the topic. Key informants were chairperson of the TAO, village head and Government involved in drought mitigating activities.

3. Observation

Observation is a research technique attempted to capture a culture and the characteristics of groups or individuals, which would be difficult to grasp by other research methods. It helps researchers learn about the study sites and the living conditions of research target group in informal fashion. Information flown out of careful observation can assist to adjust the prepared interview questions, and raise new ones. Observation was done during the field survey. It helped the researcher to understand the overall situation, farmer's attitude opinion, about problems, impact of drought and people's planning to overcome the drought problems in the future.

3.5 Data Analysis and Techniques Used

Numerical data and information regarding agriculture production, meteorological indicators and farmers’adaptation strategies to reduce drought impacts were collected from both primary and secondary sources and analyzed using Statistical Package of Social Science (SPSS) and Microsoft Excel as well. Both qualitative and quantitative techniques of data analysis were applied in this research to achieve the desired objectives.

3.5.1 Quantitative analysis Descriptive statistics

The descriptive statistics were used for calculating frequency, average, median, mode, mean, and percentages. Statistical diagrams such as tabulation, bar and pie charts were drawn for data presentation. These were used to describe household information, socio-economic conditions and about drought information from respondents. In order to compare the statistical data about different discussed issues of drought, the two statistical test have used by applying SPSS software which were:

1). Chi-square tests

The chi-square test have used to find out the significant differences between the two targeted areas of this study which were rainfed area and irrigated area. This test has used to find out the differences in terms of none-scale variables such as occupation, education, on-farm and off-farm adaptation strategies of farmers in order to adapt the drought impacts.

2). T-test

This test was used by applying SPSS software in order to compare and find the significant differences between the two targeted areas of this study in terms of scale variables such as number of students, number of farmers, drought impacts on land size and etc.

3.5.2 Qualitative analysis

The qualitative data analysis were used based on the information collected from key informant interview, household questionnaire survey, observation and secondary data.

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Figure 3.2: Research design framework

Chapter 4 Profile of the Study Area and Respondents

This chapter explains the profile of the study area and it is divided into two parts. Firstly, it is conducted to general information and the brief profile of study area (Nong Ya Sai District in Suphanburi province) that includes brief geographical information, demographic characteristics, land use, agriculture and livestock, and cropping pattern. Secondly, the socio-economic profile of respondents from household survey is presented based on the data which was collected from household survey and key informant survey in study area of this study (figure 4.1).

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Figure 4.1: The schema of chapter 4

4.1 Physical Settings

4.1.1 Location and size

Suphanburi Province is one of the central provinces of Thailand. Its neighboring provinces are Uthai Thani, Chai Nat, Singburi, Ang Thong, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya, Nakhon Pathom and Kanchanaburi. Suphanburi lies on the Thai Chin River, known locally as the Suphan River, at an elevation of 11 m. The surrounding area is low-lying and flat with rice farms covering much of the land. The terrain of the province is mostly low river plains with small mountain ranges in the north and the west of the province. The southeastern part is paddy rice farming area with the very low plain of the Thai Chin River.

Archaeological evidences show that the province has been an important site of civilization in the past. It was previously known as Meuang Thawarawadi Si Suphannaphumi. During the Ayutthaya reign, เมื่อมีการสถาปนากรุงศรีอยุธยา the province was considered to be agriculturally important.

Nong Ya Sai District is located in the northern part of Suphanburi Province. It covers an area of 420.21 km2 (262,687.50 rai). It is about 59 km. from the center of Suphanburi Province and 170 km. from Bangkok. It shares a boundary with the following districts:

- Dan Chang District and Doem Bang Nang Buat District in the north;
- Sam Chuk District in the east;
- Don Chedi District in the south; and
- Lao Kwaon District, Kanchanaburi Province in the west (Figure 4.1).

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Source: Nong Ya Sai District Office, 2016

Figure 4.2: Map of Nong Ya Sai District

4.1.2 Topography Total district area and distribution

Nong Ya Sai District covers a total land area of 262,687.5 rai (420.21 km2) and it has six Tambons. The largest Tambon is Nong Ya Sai (58,937.5 rai) while the smallest Tambon is Nong Ratchawat (36,437.5 rai). Table 4.1 and figure 4.2 summarize the distribution of the district’s total land area among its six Tambons.

Table 4.1: Total Land Area by Tambon in Nong Ya Sai District

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Source: Local Administration District Office, 2016

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Source: Local Administration District Office, 2016

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Figure 4.3: Total land area distribution by Tambon in Nong Ya Sai District (Km2) Topographic characteristics

The topography of Nong Ya Sai District is described as a low-lying plain that generally slopes towards a hilly terrain in the east. Most of the Tambons are plateau and have smooth hillsides. Only Tambon Nong Kham is in the upland area. The topographic characteristics of each Tambon are described in table 4.2.

Table 4.2: Topographic characteristics of Tambons in Nong Ya Sai District

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Sources: District Department, 2016

4.2 Land Use Pattern

About 95 percent of Nong Ya Sai District (207,667 rai including water resources area) are used for agricultural purposes. Most area notably use for paddy and sugarcane plantations (Table 4.3). The remaining 5 percent of the total district area is shared by resident area (4.54 percent) and pasture area (0.35 percent). There is no forest area in Nong Ya Sai District (Figure 4.3). The residential area is distributed in a very dispersedly case as it is shown in figure 4.4.

In Tambon Nong Ya Sai, a s it is shown in table 2.31, there are totally 48,691 rai which use as agricultural area and it is involved 95.26% of total Tambon area. The Residential Area is 2,226 rai which involved 4.35% of total Tambon area. The pasture area is 196 rai which involved of 0.38% of total Tambon area. Tambon Nong Ya Sai has a total area of 51,113 rai and mostly it is irrigated agricultural area.

In Tambon Thap Luang, as the data from table 4.3 has revealed that there are totally 34,734 rai which use as agricultural area and it is involved 95.35% of total Tambon area. The Residential Area is 1,511 rai which involved 4.15% of total Tambon area. The pasture land area is 184 rai which involved of 0.51% of total Tambon area. Tambon Thap Luang has a total area of 36,429 rai and mostly it is rain fed agricultural area.


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Farmers’ Adaptation Strategies to Drought
A Case Study in Nong Ya Sai District of Thailand
Regional and Rural Development Planning
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The thesis has been written by Farhad Hamidi from Afghanistan who is a Master Degree student of Asian institute of technology.
farmers’, adaptation, strategies, drought, case, study, nong, district, thailand
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Farhad Hamidi (Author), 2017, Farmers’ Adaptation Strategies to Drought, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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