Peasant Households Strategies in the Andes and Potential Users of Climate Forecasts: El Niño of 1997-1998
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Production strategies pursued by households and individuals in a peasant community of the Bolivian Altiplano are shaped by access to resources, social networks and institutions, wealth, and the ability to develop urban rural linkages. In times of climatic stress such as the low rainfall of 1995, the household economic portfolio shifts to activities less vulnerable to climate. The ability to shift is conditioned by access to resources, social capital, stage in the life cycle and wealth. A typology developed to understand how strategies take shape during a drought is used to evaluate access to information during el Niño (1997-8) and impacts on potato production in 1998-99. The relationship between diversification and use of climate forecasts (local and modern) is evaluated. The study proposes that diversification and use of forecasts may go hand in hand, and should be considered in the profile of potential users.