Understanding adaptive capacity: sustainable livelihoods and food security in coastal Bangladesh

This paper analyses data from a household-level survey of 980 agricultural and fishing households in seven sites across southern Bangladesh. It examine the relationship between assets, livelihood strategies, food security and farming practice changes. These households are coping with huge demographic, economic, and environmental changes. The results suggest that the least food secure households are also the least adaptive, and are making few, if any changes, in their agricultural practices. They have relatively few assets, and are producing and selling fewer types of agricultural products than more food secure households. The importance of diversification as a strategy to deal with change is evident - households making more farming practice changes are more diversified in terms of the number of different agricultural outputs produced and sold. Market-related factors are more frequently given as reasons for changes in practices than climate-related factors.