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Regional Sustainability

Abstract

Bulukumba Regency is one of the major rice-producing areas in South Sulawesi, Indonesia and has experienced frequent climate disasters over the past decade. Several downstream villages within the Bettu River irrigation area have been affected by the drought, culminating in reduced lowland rice production and increasing the vulnerability of farmers’ livelihoods. This study aims to evaluate the vulnerability of the livelihood system among rice farmers in the Bettu River irrigation area by classifying the area into two zones based on the distance from the main irrigation canal, namely the upstream area and downstream area. The livelihood vulnerability index (LVI) framework and livelihood vulnerability index-Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (LVI-IPCC) approach were applied by selecting geographic and socio-demographic indicators that affected the farmer households, including 8 major components and 26 sup-components. The data for LVI-IPCC estimation were collected by randomly selecting 132 households from villages in the two areas. The empirical results showed that farmers in the downstream area were more vulnerable to climate change than farmers in the upstream area. The major components causing the livelihood vulnerability of the downstream farmers were livelihood strategy, food, water, land, and health, as well as natural disasters and climate variability. In particular, the sub-components of agricultural livelihood diversification, consistent water supply for farming, and drought events were important in the downstream area. Farmers in the upstream area were vulnerable to socio-demographic profile and social network components. The LVI-IPCC findings suggested that the government should prioritize farmers in the downstream area to develop resilience strategies, particularly by increasing irrigation infrastructure and the number of reservoirs and drilling holes. Furthermore, to increase their adaptive capacity in terms of diversification of agricultural livelihood systems, the government and donor agencies need to provide trainings on the development of home food industries for poor farmers and vulnerable households that were affected by disasters.

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