NUI Galway Report Examines Drivers and Barriers of Climate Change Adaptation Faced by Farmers

Nov 03 2020 Posted: 12:49 GMT

A new report from NUI Galway examines farmers’ attitudes and preferences for climate change adaptation. The overarching aims of the report are to present findings on farmers’ beliefs regarding climate change, the drivers and barriers of climate change adaptation and the willingness of Irish farmers to engage in specific adaptation measures related to insurance protection for their own farm and improved flood protection for downstream communities.  

The report is part of the RiskAquaSoil project led by Association Climatologique de la Moyenne-Garonne et du Sud-Ouest (A.C.M.G) with partners from the Whitaker Institute in NUI Galway. The project aims to develop a comprehensive management plan for risks in soil and in water to improve the resilience of the Atlantic rural and agricultural areas to climate change. 

To achieve this, the project has three key aims:

  • Improved early warning and diagnosis of meteorological phenomena for rural areas
  • Improved soil and water management for risks associated with climate change 
  • Enhanced capacity building and training of local communities

The report found that over one-third of Irish farmers are concerned about extreme weather events impacting their farming activities and that farmers are most concerned about the impacts of storms, droughts and flooding.

Within the study, farmers were asked whether they would be willing to help reduce the risk of flooding to downstream communities, over 40% of farmers indicated they would. Almost 70% of farmers indicated a willingness to use insurance as a method to protect their farm financially against damages caused by extreme weather events.

Edel Doherty, Lecturer in Economics at the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics at NUI Galway and co-author of the study, said: “The farmer is the central decision-maker in achieving farm adaptation to climate change, therefore it is critical to understand from the farmer’s perspective what they view as the key barriers and enablers of adaptation.”

The report found that while Irish farmers are aware of the effects of climate change on weather, they felt unprepared for very severe weather. Farmers highlighted a number of resource constraints (related to financial, time and capacity) that impeded their ability to undertake adaptation. Moreover, farmers felt unsure of what adaptation measures they could undertake on their own farm and they felt they lacked practical and reliable information concerning adaptation.

In general, farmers are most willing to undertake farm adaptation or mitigation if it was economically beneficial to do so. To help adaptation, additional resources, including financial resources and training, the availability of tailored information on specific adaptation measures for individual farms, locally-based agri-environment schemes and farm networks were mentioned by farmers as important enablers.

To discuss the report, NUI Galway are holding a free webinar on Thursday, 12 November from 1-2pm. The webinar will present an overview of the report alongside findings from the wider RiskAquaSoil project that will include presentations on:

  • Farmers Attitudes and Preferences for Climate Change Adaptation: An Irish case study - Dr Edel Doherty, Whitaker Institute, NUI Galway
  • Study of Local Communities Views for a New Culture of Risk in the Face of Climate Change - Julia James, The Climatologic Association of Middle Garonne and South-West of France (A.C.M.G)
  • Climate Change Media Communication in Ireland and Portugal -Neide P Areina, Centre for Social Studies, University of Coimbra, Portugal
  • Soils in partnership - Dr Laurence Couldrick, Westcountry Rivers Trust

Details of the event and registration are available at:

To read the full report, visit:


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