Smallholder maize production and climatic risk: A case study from Mexico

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91 Scopus citations

Abstract

This article explores the strategies employed by smallholder farmers in Mexico to cope with the affects of climatic variability, and how seasonal climate forecasts may assist these farmers in mitigating climatic risk. Recognizing that the decisions of smallholder farmers are intricately tied to the political-economic circumstances in which they operate, the article discusses how agricultural policy in Mexico affects the vulnerability of small-scale producers and may inhibit their ability to use climatic forecasts to their advantage. The article first reviews the literature on smallholder adaptation in Mexico, and discusses briefly policy and institutional issues affecting adaptation at the farm-level. Using the case of small-scale maize producers in Tlaxcala, Mexico, as an illustration, the article then argues that political-economic uncertainty outweighs climatic variability as a determinant of the production strategies of small-scale producers. In these circumstances, the farmers are unlikely to use new seasonal climate forecasts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)19-36
Number of pages18
JournalClimatic Change
Volume45
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 22 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Atmospheric Science

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