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Iranian Farmer's Mechanisms and Strategies to Dealing with Drought:
A Case Study

M. Ahmadvand1, E. Karami2 and M. Sharifzadeh1

1 Department of Agricultural Extension and Education, College of Agriculture, Shiraz University, Shiraz, Iran
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2 Corresponding Author: Prof. Dr. E. Karami


Drought as a recurrent phenomenon in arid regions is one of the major reasons for food insecurity and poverty especially in Iranian villages. Since the existing irrigation system cannot provide adequate water to meet the needs of agricultural crops even in good weather, Iranian farmers are highly vulnerable to drought. Thus, implementing effective drought management and impact mitigation programs are urgency to the Iranian farmers. On the other hand, their responses to drought are different and diverse. In the droughty situation, they try to use different methods to reduce drought indemnity. These mechanisms depend on farmer's characteristics and conditions. Farmers know their situations, choose the best solution and make the best decisions. These problems call for a singular attention to the study of how farmers pick out their mechanisms to dealing with drought.

So, the aim of this paper is to explore the mechanisms that farmers select in order to cope with drought. Case studies are particularly valuable when the evaluation aims to capture individual difference from one program setting to another and seeks to describe that unit in dept, in detail, in context, and holistically. Therefore, case study is used to understand drought management strategies that farmers use in order to alleviate further loss incurred by drought. Extreme case sampling was used to access to case that are rich in information because they are special in some way. The logic of extreme case sampling is that lessons may be learned about extreme outcomes which are relevant to improving more typical programs.

The Fars province in southern Iran as a leading province in wheat production and extension activities was selected for this study. Therefore, after an expanded survey, one of the successful farmers who had the best mechanisms to dealing with drought, during 1999-2000 droughty years, was selected. In-depth observation, interview and structured questionnaire were used to collect data.

Results revealed that the successful farmer in drought prone areas of Fars province have a descriptive definition, which defines the drought period as being when the reservoirs are depleted and the crops are threatened by lack of water. Findings showed that the successful farmer had different mechanisms and strategies in order to cope with drought. These mechanisms include:

  • Agricultural adjustments such as decreasing sown land, attempts to preserve trees and shrubs, reducing water amount per each irrigation sequence, constructing water storage pools, digging wells, and preparing grass for domestic usage.
  • Non-Agricultural adjustments such as peddling, asking for loan and credibility, as well as praying and praising.

According to the findings, some suggestions are presented to empowering farmers to resist drought and making good drought mechanisms.