Vulnerability of Agricultural Production in the Brazilian Semi-Arid: An empirical approach including risk.

Minella Alves Martins, Stefan Hochrainer-Stigler, Georg Pflug


Agricultural production risk is getting increasing attention in the science and the policy domain
due to its strong connection with food security and its potential to trigger systemic risks. Particularly in
semi-arid regions, weather and environmental conditions can seriously affect agricultural production.
Brazil stands out exceptionally as it has one of the most populated semi-arid areas globally. Nevertheless,
risk assessment of crop production for these regions is lacking, but essentially needed for policy and risk
management purposes. To fill part of this gap, this paper provides first estimates of crop yield risk for the
semi-arid in Brazil on the municipality level from an empirical perspective. It was found that many highly
vulnerable municipalities are located in states such as Ceará, Piauí, Pernambuco, and Paraíba. These
hotspot regions may be prioritized in terms of public investments in order to help them decrease current
and future vulnerability related to crop production. Especially climate change impacts may worsen the
situation considerably in the future and should be included already in current adaptation strategies.


Droughts; maize; bean; subsistence agriculture; rainfed production.

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