Smallholder farmer resilience to extreme weather events in a global food value chain

William J. Thompson et al. | Springer Open Access | 2023 | Peer Reviewed | Original research |


Extreme weather events have severe impacts on food systems, especially for smallholders in global food value chains (GFVCs). There is an urgent need to understand (a) how climate shocks manifest in food systems, and (b) what strategies can enhance food system resilience. Integrating satellite, household and trade data, we investigate the cascading impacts after two consecutive hurricanes on smallholder banana farmers in Dominican Republic, and determinants of their recovery. We found that farmers experienced an ‘all-or-nothing’ pattern of damage, where 75% of flooded farmers lost > 90% of production. Recovery of regional production indicators took ca. 450 days. However, farm-level recovery times were highly variable, with both topographic and human capital factors determining recovery. Utilising this case study, we show that engaging in a GFVC impeded recovery via ‘double exposure’ of production loss and losing market access. Our results suggest that strategies to enhance resilience, with a particular focus on recovery, in GFVCs should promote trader loyalty, facilitate basin-scale collaboration and expand risk-targeted training.