Disaster risk reduction at farm level: Multiple benefits, no regrets

Disaster risk reduction at farm level: Multiple benefits, no regrets
May 2019


  • The farm-level use of practices and technologies intended to reduce disaster risks provides farmers with economic and social benefits that are significantly higher than the benefits they gained from previously used practices.
  • Disaster risk reduction (DRR) good practices in agriculture are highly context- and location-specific. Not all have the potential for wider upscaling; rather, targeted upscaling – driven by evidence – should be pursued.
  • To truly qualify as a good practice, DRR measures must offer added value in both hazard and non-hazard situations – that is, they must increase agricultural productivity even in the absence of hazards.
  • On average, the DRR good practices analysed in this study generated benefits 2.2 times higher than practices previously used by farmers under hazard conditions. The average observed benefit–cost ratio (BCR) was 3.7 in hazard cases – under non‑hazard conditions this rose to 4.5. Benefits included both increases in agricultural production as well as avoided hazard‑associated damage and loss.
  • Prevention and DRR measures in agriculture are especially useful in avoiding or reducing damage and loss from high- to medium-frequency events – which occur with low or medium intensity. Greater emphasis in agriculture sector strategies is needed on farm-level DRR as an effective and relatively low-cost way to prevent and mitigate the types of disasters that most frequently affect vulnerable smallholders.

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