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Georg-August Universität zu Göttingen (2014)

Risk attitude, risk perceptions and risk management strategies : an empirical analysis of Syrian wheat-cotton and pistachio farmers

Almadani, Mohamad Isam Nabil

Titre : Risk attitude, risk perceptions and risk management strategies : an empirical analysis of Syrian wheat-cotton and pistachio farmers

Auteur : Almadani, Mohamad Isam Nabil

Université de soutenance : Georg-August Universität zu Göttingen

Grade : Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) 2014

Résumé
The agricultural sector is characterized by higher exposure to a variety of risks compared to the other economic sectors. Agricultural risks include production, market, credit, technological, institutional and human resource risks. Moreover, the agricultural risk environment is changing with high frequency and severity due to climate change and market liberalization. Insecurity about water and food supply has rapidly increased corresponding to the change in agricultural risk environment, and this requires a continuous improvement of risk management instruments for sustainable economic development. If the changeable risks are excluded from the agricultural and rural development analysis, then policy recommendations would be misleading. Additionally, policy decisions about the suggested improvements and intervention measures might be inappropriate. In such a context, a comprehensive and continuous monitoring of how farmers perceive risks in their own ways is paramount for policy makers to develop appropriate risk management strategies. Moreover, it is useful for the developers of risk management programs to have information about the factors that differentiate farmers’ attitudes and perceptions. Against this background, it is the objective of the thesis to provide empirical insights into various issues of risk management in Syrian agriculture. Syria is an emerging economy in which agriculture still plays an important role and where at the same time climate change as well as changing agricultural policies, for instance market liberalization, put farmers under severe pressure. Based on survey data of 103 wheat-cotton and 105 pistachio farms in Syria, this thesis studies survey data relating to farmers’ risk attitudes and farmers’ perceptions of risk and risk management. Furthermore, it analyzes, using multiple regression analysis, whether related socio-economic characteristics and farmers’ subjective beliefs relate to these attitudes and perceptions. Results show that wheat-cotton farmers are more likely risk-averse than pistachio farmers who could better be described as risk-neutral farmers. Rainfall shortage and fuel price increase are the most important risk sources that threaten both wheat-cotton and pistachio cultivation. Moreover, risks of ‘farm business effectiveness decline’ and ‘farm insolvency’ are highly perceived by wheat-cotton farmers compared with pistachio farmers. Despite their risk-averse nature, wheat-cotton farmers are less desired toward the adoption of management tools which would help to mitigate risk. ‘Farming as a secondary occupation’ and ‘faming forsaking’ are acceptable by almost half of interviewed wheat-cotton farmers. On the contrary, pistachio producers seem to be more satisfied with their farm income, thus they do not find the necessity to supplemented it with or replace it by non-farm income. The geographical location, education level and information resources have a considerable exploratory power for wheat-cotton farmers’ risk attitude and perceptions of risk and risk management. Socio-economic variables such off-farm work, farm land, availability of family labour and wells ownership had a considerable relationship with such perceptions. Our findings, also, provide new evidences on the relationships between subjective beliefs and both risk attitudes and perceptions, particularly for wheat-cotton samples. These evidences provide policy makers a wide prospect in order to optimize risk management strategies.

Mots clés  : Agriculture, Risk management, Risk attitude, Questionnaire survey, Farmers’ perceptions, Syria

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