Social, economic and environmental vulnerability : The case of wheat farmers in Northeast Iran

Nazari Nooghabi, Saeedeh; Azadi, Hossein; Fleskens, Luuk; Janečková, Kristina; Sklenička, Petr; Witlox, Frank


This research used a qualitative and quantitative approach to classify factors influencing wheat farmers' social, economic, and environmental vulnerability in Khorasan Razavi province, Iran, from the perspective of elite wheat farmers and agricultural specialists, and then to establish some recommendations based on the results. To achieve the study objectives, in the qualitative part, in-depth interviews were held with 20 agricultural specialists in the field of wheat cultivation, and 9 elite wheat farmers were selected using a purposive sampling method. Using stratified random sampling, 391 wheat farmers participated in the quantitative part. From the agricultural specialists' viewpoint, the prime factor affecting vulnerability was the social factor “farm management”. The second factor was the environmental vulnerability factor “Sunn pest and heat”, and the final factor was the economic vulnerability factor “the costs of fertilizer, equipment, and machines and their maintenance”. In contrast, from the viewpoint of elite wheat farmers, the dominant factor affecting vulnerability was the economic factor “the costs of equipment, fertilizer, and machines and their maintenance”. Regarding social vulnerability, “Governmental support” was stressed and the most important environmental vulnerability factor was “Sunn pest and cold”. The results of confirmatory factor analysis were more in line with the views of agricultural specialists. According to the results, it is suggested that the agricultural extension system provides timely training to farmers in order to properly manage farms in times of crisis. The government should also compensate part of the costs of social and economic damage to farmers by providing free or low-interest loans.