AN ASSESSMENT OF ADAPTATION STRATEGIES TO CLIMATE CHANGE AMONG SMALLHOLDER CROP FARMERS IN ENUGU STATE, NIGERIA

AN ASSESSMENT OF ADAPTATION STRATEGIES TO CLIMATE CHANGE AMONG SMALLHOLDER CROP FARMERS IN ENUGU STATE, NIGERIA

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ABSTRACT

This study was conceived in regard to the empirical reality that farming in Enugu State, as it applies to all parts of Southeastern Nigeria, is constrained by the adverse effects of climate change. It was therefore, considered necessary to conduct an assessment of smallholder farmers’ awareness to climate change, their adaptation strategies, the associated costs and returns, underpinning, and constraints to their adoption of the identifies adaptation strategies. This study assessed adaptation strategies to climate change among smallholder crop farmers in Enugu State. Specifically, it described the socio-economic characteristics of the respondents, described farmers’ level of awareness of climate change, identified climate change adaptation strategies used by the respondents, estimated and compared the costs and returns of these strategies, determined factors that drive the choice of these strategies, and analyzed the constraints to adoption of adaptation strategies. A multistage random sampling procedure was used to select 320 smallholder crop farmers from 16 communities from whom data were collected in the 2014 farming season using structured questionnaire. The analytical techniques involving descriptive statistics, cost and return technique, multiple regression model, multinomial logit model, and likert type scale were used in analyzing the data. Majority of the respondents were male (63.7%), average household size of 7 persons and an average farm size of 1.23 hectares in the study area. Cassava was the most cultivated crop in the study area. Eleven adaptation measures to climate change were identified to be used while multiple cropping (98.4%) was the most used among others. Multiple cropping had the highest average gross margin of (N39,509.92) per hectare while adjusting the dates of planting had the least of (N12,900.42). Returns from adaptation practices (0.317), age of household head (-36.02), level of education (2.36), household size (14.51), awareness to climate change (933.8), and farm size (17.07) were factors that significantly influenced the level of investment in climate change adaptation practices. Household size increased the probability of using increased cultivation of farm land, mulching practice, increased fertilizer use, and multiple cropping as adaptation strategies by 1.26%, 1.63%, 0.12% and 0.16% at 5, 10, 10, and 1 percent levels of significance respectively. Inadequate finance (2.83), land tenure system (2.60), high cost/lack of improved crop varieties (2.44), and lack of accurate and timely weather forecast (2.06) were the most serious constraints to using climate change adaptation strategies. It was therefore, recommended that there was need to encourage farmers to use multiple cropping as adaptation strategy because of its high net farm income per hectare while functional, accessible and very cheap small scale credit facilities should be available to farmers.


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CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background Information

The process of producing food requires resources, which could be natural or man-made. Natural resources include all the materials and forces that are supplied by nature. Those that are most essential for food crop production are land, water, sunshine, air, temperature and soil conditions (which are components of climate system). Man-made resources (include labour, capital or entrepreneurship) are supplied and influenced by man (Olayide & Heady, 1982; Oyekale, Bolaji & Olowa, 2009). Among the natural resources, climate is the predominant factor that influences food crop production. Climate as described by Oyekale et al. (2009) is the state of atmosphere, which is created by weather events over a period of time. A slight change in the climate affects agriculture.

According to Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report (2007), the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) defined climate change as a change of climate which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global and/or regional atmosphere and which is in addition to natural climate variability observed over comparable time periods (IPCC, 2001). It is obvious from this definition that change is an inherent attribute of climate, which is caused by both human activities (anthropogenic) and natural processes (biogeographical) (Odjugo, 2007, 2009). Climate change perhaps is the most serious environmental threat facing mankind in the twenty-first century and its complexity has attracted diverse efforts covering the full spectrum of scientific, economic, social and political disciplines. It is affecting patterns of life


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and general living conditions of people around the world; the availability of water, food production, weather conditions, health, cultures, economic well-being and recreation among others. It has already been observed in Africa where it has directly affected climate-dependent activities and indirectly worsened poverty, conflict, low level of education and poor health (Orindi & Murray, 2005). According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, IPCC, (2007), Africa is one of the most vulnerable continents to climate change as a result of multiple stresses and low adaptation capacity. The International Fund for Agricultural Development, IFAD, (2009), acknowledged climate change as one of the factors worsening rural poverty and are more severely felt by poor people in developing countries such as Nigeria that rely heavily on the natural resource-base for their livelihoods with low level of coping capacities (Nwafor, 2007; Japtap, 2007).

As the impacts of climate change are already being felt in various regions of the earth and even in so many economic sectors, IPCC (2007) noted that agricultural production and food security in many African countries are likely to be severely compromised as a result. The already existing agricultural environment is expected to be worsened and would likely reduce the length of growing season as well as force large regions of marginal agriculture out of production. IPCC (2007) further reported that the projected reduction in yield in some countries could be as much as 50% by 2020 and net revenues could fall by as much as 90% by 2100 with worst impact on smallholding farmers, thereby adversely affecting the continent’s food security.

In Nigeria, climate change is one of the most serious threats to its economy particularly the agricultural sector and food security due to Nigeria’s over dependence on rain-fed agriculture, compounded by factors such as widespread poverty, unemployment and weak capacity. According to National Bureau of Statistics (2011), about 60% of the Nigeria population is employed in the agricultural sector. Nigerian agriculture is already under significant pressure to meet the demand of rising population using finite, often degraded soil and water resources, which are now further stressed by the impact of climate change (Awotoye & Mathew, 2010). Ikeme (2009) noted that Nigeria is currently experiencing increasing incidence of diseases, declining agricultural productivity, increasing number of heat waves, unreliable or erratic weather patterns, flooding, declining rainfall in already desert-prone areas in the north causing increasing desertification, decreasing food production in central regions, and destruction of livelihoods by rising waters in coastal areas where people depend on fishing and farming.


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The most significant effects/impacts of climate change experienced by farmers In Enugu State according to Ozor and Nnaji (2011) are soil erosion, lack of portable water for human consumption and livestock use, loss of vegetation/pastures, intense weed growth, incidence of pests and diseases distortion and destruction of wildlife ecosystems, decrease in soil fertility and health related issues of climate change which can affect production, drudgery and stress from heat, etc. Also Enete et al. (2011) noted that the biggest effect of climate change in the state include reduced farm yield and income, drying up of streams/rivers, reduction in storage quality of crops, loss of pastureland/vegetation and destruction of wildlife ecosystem. According to Ozor and Nnaji (2011), Enete et al. (2011), this is attributable to the fact that Enugu State has a drier weather, being closer to the North, and hence inherent insufficient rain water for maximum crop yield. For example, according to Walsh and Lawler (1981) rainfall regime classification, Enugu State falls under a markedly seasonal regime with a long drier season; and a reliability of rainfall regime characterized by a more marked variability in the months of maximum rainfall. Enete (2014) also noted that traditional crops with exception of cassava and pepper had significant decrease as rainfall continued to be more erratic when yields of crops were correlated with annual rainfall pattern in Enugu State. Hence, the general change in the seasonal rainfall regime and reduction in crop yields observed are sufficient indicators of climate change in Enugu State.

Flooding is recorded every year in all the states along the Niger River and its tributaries, frequently causing disasters as stated by Nigerian Environmental Study Team, NEST (2004). In the study area, it is on record that flooding is of great concern to the present state government according to Building Nigeria's Response to Climate Change (2009). Resulting from flood problem in the study area which is attributable to climate change, the state ministry of environment has of recent carried out listing exercise to obtain and up-date the data bank on the environmental degradation prone areas of the state (Nzeh & Eboh, 2011).

Farmers are experiencing climate change in the form of late arrival of rains and early retreating of rains, increasing annual temperature, thunderstorms, heavy winds, flooding, etc though have not considered its deeper implication. For instance, higher temperatures lower the yield of desirable crops while encouraging weeds and pests’ proliferation and changes in precipitation patterns increase the likelihood of short-run crop failure and long-run production declines, thus creating a huge challenge to food production and livelihoods (Deutshe Bank Research, 2009). According to Department for International Development (2009) assertion that if no adaptation is implemented, climate change could result in a loss of


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between 2% and 11% of Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 2020, rising to between 6% and 38% by the year 2050. This loss is equivalent to between N15 trillion (US$ 100 billion) and N69 trillion (US$ 460 billion). Steps must be taken to rescue Nigeria’s agriculture especially arable crop production from the negative effects of climate change.

The fact that climate has been changing in the past and continuous to change in the future implies the need to understand how smallholder farmers perceive climate change and adapt in order to guide strategies for adaptation in the future. Studies by Mertz, Mbow, Reenberg and Diouf (2009), Ishaya and Abaje (2008), and David, Thomas, Twyman, Osbahr and Hewitson (2007) indicate that farmers adapt in order to reduce the negative impacts of climate change. Zeirovgel et al. (2008) noted that the world has been undergoing series of adaptations in response to climate variability since the current climate change is expected to present heightened danger with potential grave consequences. As a result, adaptation has been identified as a policy option to mitigate the adverse effects of climate change on farm productivity (Onyeneke & Madukwe, 2010). This is in line with the provisions of Article 4.1b of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, UNFCCC (2007) that all sectors including agriculture must formulate and implement national or regional programs containing measures to facilitate adequate adaptation to climate change. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (2001) therefore defined adaptation to climate change as the adjustment in natural or human systems in response to actual or expected climate stimuli or their effects which moderates the harm or exploits beneficial opportunities associated with climate change.

As a result of climate change negative effects, smallholder farmers have been modifying their farming practices in order to deal with them. Adaptation helps farmers achieve their food, income and livelihood security in the face of changing climatic conditions, extreme weather conditions such as droughts and floods (International Institute for Sustainable Development, 2007; De Wit & Stankiewiez, 2006; Kandlinkar & Risbey, 2000). Common adaptation measures in agriculture include the use of new crop varieties, irrigation, crop diversification, mixed crop livestock farming system and changing planting dates (Bradshaw, Dolan & Smit, 2004; Kurukulasuriya & Mendelson, 2006; Nhemachena & Hassan, 2007).

Although African farmers have a low capacity to adapt to changing climate, however, have survived and coped in various ways over time. Better understanding of how they have done this is essential for designing incentives to enhance private adaptation. There is need to support farmers’ coping strategies through appropriate public policy and investment. Thus,


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government and private partnership will help increase the adoption of adaptation measures which will reduce the negative consequences of predicted changes in future climate with vulnerable rural communities in Africa benefiting more (Hassan & Nhemachena, 2008). Deressa (2008) posited that farmers adapted to climate change in order to maximize profit by changing crop mix, planting and harvesting dates, and a host of agronomic practices. The coping strategies adopted by arable crop farmers, which are mainly initiated at the farm and village-level in Enugu State, are expected to enhance their farm productivities, and improve their profit as a producing unit.

A challenge for agricultural researchers is to understand how and when these adaptation measures to climate change are used by farmers and with what impacts (Doss, 2006). An understanding of the assessment of climate change adaptation strategies and the factors that influence their choice is therefore important in the process of technology development and dissemination. Providing the most cost-effective and sustainable adaptation measures to climate change in Enugu State is the aim of this project.

1.2 Problem Statement

Climate change introduces numerous uncertainties over the livelihood of farming communities that depend heavily on the weather and climate (Al-Hassan & Poulton, 2009; Alhula & Scarborough, 2011). The growing problem of climate change is becoming more threatening to sustainable economic development and the totality of human existence (Adejumo, 2004). Zoellick (2009) noted that as the planet warms, rainfall patterns shift, and extreme events such as droughts, floods, and forest and bush fires become more frequent, which results in poor and unpredictable yields, thereby making farmers more vulnerable, particularly in Africa (UNFCCC, 2007). It is projected that crop yield in Africa may fall by 10 - 20% by 2050 or even up to 50% due to climate change (Jones & Thornton, 2003), particularly because African agriculture is predominantly rain-fed and hence fundamentally dependent on the vagaries of weather. As the people of Africa strive to overcome poverty and advance economic growth, this phenomenon threatens to deepen vulnerabilities, erode hard-won gains and seriously undermine prospects for development (Zoellick, 2009).

In Nigeria, food crop production has not kept pace with its population growth, because the population is growing at about 3.2 per cent per annum while food production is at about 2.0 per cent (NBS, 2011). In a bid to address the differentials in the food production and population growth rates, successive governments in Nigeria have come up with different policies and programmes. Among them are; National Fadama Development Programme,


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Root and Tuber Expansion Programme (RTEP), and National Programme for Food Security (NPFS). These policies and programmes were aimed at raising the productivity and the efficiency of the agricultural sector. Farmers who constitute the majority of the poor in Africa, face chances of tragic crop failures, reduced agricultural productivity, increased hunger, malnutrition and diseases (Zoellick, 2009). The declining agricultural productivity in Nigeria is worrisome and a real challenge for Government with a population of approximately 170 million people to feed.

Climate change often appears very esoteric but in Nigeria and Enugu State it is real and this calls for scientific study of this kind (Nzeh & Eboh, 2011). According to Nigerian Meteorological Agency (2012a), Nigerian climate had shown considerable temporal and spatial shifts in its variability and change making extreme climate and weather event (drought, flood, heat waves, ocean surges, etc) a more regular events. This is exemplified by destructive flood of 2012 which occurred in many parts of Nigeria destroying large hectares of farm land and loss of lives. NEST (2004) noted that flooding was recorded every year in all the states along the Niger River and its tributaries, frequently causing disasters. There is an increasing incidence of diseases, declining agricultural productivity, and rising number of heat waves in Enugu state. The recent gradual extinction of cocoyam in the state due to diseases is a clear example of climate change impact. There is glaring evidence that climate change is not only happening but it is changing our lives. Building Nigeria's Response to Climate Change (2009) reported that in Enugu State no fewer than 300 families had been rendered homeless in Ameke Ngwo and Ngwo Uno communities in Udi Local Council following the destruction of their houses and economic trees worth millions of naira by wind storm which wrecked havoc in the area. Also witnessed as yearly occurrences are flooding and large scale gully erosions that have claimed huge hectares of farm land and farm produce in Eburumiri and Uburu communities of Ibagwa-Aka in Enugu State. These represent some of the resultant effects of climate change in the state.

Based on the work of IPCC (2001), the implications of climate change for agriculture in the country can be deduced as flooding and erosion arising from higher rainfalls, rise in sea levels and coastal problems. Furthermore, there were decreases in crop yields, arising from interplay of biological and ecosystem alterations and these were consequences of climate change across the different states of the country. This calls for scientific study of this kind. Despite the huge implication of climate change response measures for Nigeria's economy, it is alarming that there is no visible demonstration of the readiness of the government to tackle this issue. The greatest call for concern is that of the blueprint for Nigeria's development


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vision 2010, as reported by Ikeme (2009), failed to give a mere acknowledgement of the importance of climate change in Nigeria's economy, let alone stipulate the development strategy with which to tackle it. This observation shows that the danger signals are clear, hence the need for this study. Given the above enumerated problems and others, it is clear that Nigeria’s and Enugu State’s long term development priorities of poverty reduction and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) will be severely constrained if insufficient attention is paid to current and future climate change of the state through studies of this kind.

According to Adger, Huq, Brown, Conway and Hulme (2003), Kurukulasuriya and Mendelson (2006a), adaptation reduces the ne


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