Primary Faculty Mentor Name

Meredith T. Niles, PhD

Project Collaborators

Extension Service of the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez

Status

Graduate

Student College

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Program/Major

Food Systems

Primary Research Category

Food & Environment Studies

Secondary Research Category

Social Sciences

Presentation Title

Puerto Rican Farmers’ Experience with Hurricane Maria

Time

3:00 PM

Location

Silver Maple Ballroom - Social Sciences

Abstract

Puerto Rico’s (PR) agricultural sector was decimated by Hurricane Maria in 2017. The PR Department of Agriculture reported $2 billion in total losses including agricultural infrastructure, crop and production loss. This event made evident PR’s vulnerability as an island system to extreme events. Research shows that hurricanes in the Atlantic will become more frequent and intense in the future due to climate change. Thus, climate change adaptation in island systems is imperative in order to achieve sustainable food security and resiliency levels. In collaboration with the Extension Service of the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez, farmers were surveyed across PR by extension agents (n = 405, 87% response rate) to understand their experience with Hurricane Maria, and climate change. Overall, 43% reported total loss due to the hurricane, while 46% reported significant damages. After Maria, 70% of farmers reported at least one month of food insecurity. Percentages before the hurricane were under 1%. 90% of farmers reported at least one obstacle towards recovery, and 67% believed their farm is vulnerable to future events. Nonetheless, most farmers perceived themselves capable and motivated to adapt to climate change. This baseline study will allow us to further explore food security, adaptation practices and management on farms, and their relationship to loss and damage, and future policies and management strategies for adaptation.

This document is currently not available here.

Share

COinS
 

Puerto Rican Farmers’ Experience with Hurricane Maria

Puerto Rico’s (PR) agricultural sector was decimated by Hurricane Maria in 2017. The PR Department of Agriculture reported $2 billion in total losses including agricultural infrastructure, crop and production loss. This event made evident PR’s vulnerability as an island system to extreme events. Research shows that hurricanes in the Atlantic will become more frequent and intense in the future due to climate change. Thus, climate change adaptation in island systems is imperative in order to achieve sustainable food security and resiliency levels. In collaboration with the Extension Service of the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez, farmers were surveyed across PR by extension agents (n = 405, 87% response rate) to understand their experience with Hurricane Maria, and climate change. Overall, 43% reported total loss due to the hurricane, while 46% reported significant damages. After Maria, 70% of farmers reported at least one month of food insecurity. Percentages before the hurricane were under 1%. 90% of farmers reported at least one obstacle towards recovery, and 67% believed their farm is vulnerable to future events. Nonetheless, most farmers perceived themselves capable and motivated to adapt to climate change. This baseline study will allow us to further explore food security, adaptation practices and management on farms, and their relationship to loss and damage, and future policies and management strategies for adaptation.