Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research, Birmensdorf

Drought in fruit-growing. Survey among farmers in Northeast and Northwest Switzerland

According to current climate scenarios, drought could become a major challenge for agriculture in Switzerland. To better understand the practitioner’s perspective, we surveyed fruit-growers in Northeast and Northwest Switzerland to investigate the previous impact of drought and the countermeasures taken, as well as the information requirements and the willingness to act on the part of farmers in case of more frequent drought events in the future. Our results show that in the last ten years, drought-induced damage has been limited for most farmers. Nevertheless, most respondents believe that in the future they will be affected more often and more intensely by drought. Thus, many are willing to implement countermeasures in the future. A detailed analysis shows that farmers who generate most of their income through fruit-growing are affected by drought differently than farmers for whom fruit-growing is of less commercial relevance. These two groups also differ in their willingness to realize countermeasures and in their information needs. We conclude that adaptation, professional training, and consultation are necessary and must adequately consider these differences.

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