Sustainability (Nov 2018)

Resilience Assessment of Swiss Farming Systems: Piloting the SHARP-Tool in Vaud

  • Florence Diserens,
  • John Michael Humphries Choptiany,
  • Dominique Barjolle,
  • Benjamin Graeub,
  • Claire Durand,
  • Johan Six

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 10, no. 12
p. 4435


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Farm systems are exposed to predictable and unpredictable shocks and stresses. Such events may affect the functioning of farm systems and threaten their capacity to provide food in adequate quantities and sufficient quality. The capacity of farm systems to recover, reorganize, and evolve following external shocks and stresses is analysed within the framework of resilience theory. The SHARP (self-evaluation and holistic assessment of climate resilience of farmers and pastoralists) tool was developed to assess the resilience of farm systems to climate change in a participatory way. The SHARP was originally designed for developing countries. This paper outlines the process and changes made to adapt the tool for use in the Swiss farming context, including the challenges and trade-offs of the adaptation. Its first application in the Canton of Vaud provides insights on the levels of resilience to climate change for farmers in Switzerland. The results showed that of twenty-five farmers, “environment” and “market” are two groups of farm-system components where the farm systems are least resilient. The paper provides preliminary comments on agricultural systems in the west of Switzerland that could be explored further.