AN ASSESSMENT OF FARMERS’ ADAPTATION STRATEGIES TO CLIMATE CHANGE IN PARTS OF YOBE STATE, NIGERIA

AN ASSESSMENT OF FARMERS’ ADAPTATION STRATEGIES TO CLIMATE CHANGE IN PARTS OF YOBE STATE, NIGERIA

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ABSTRACT

This research assessed the farmers‘ adaptation strategies to climate change in parts of Yobe state. The objectives of the research are to analyze trends of rainfall and temperature; analyze trends on the onset; cessation and length of the rainy season; assess the effect of climate change in the study area; analyze the adaptation strategies to climate change and determine the most preferred adaptation strategy to climate change in the study area. Rainfall and temperature data for forty (40) years (1975 to 2014) were sourced from the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET) Nguru station. Means of annual rainfall and temperature for some selected months were also determined. Trends in annual rainfall and temperature were subjected to time series analysis and linear trend and trend line equations were fitted on each and the direction of change was determined. Onset and cessation dates and length of rainy season were determined as well. They were also subjected to time series analysis. In assessing the effect of climate change in the environment and farmers‘ adaptation strategies to these impacts, questionnaire was used to solicit information from a total of 350 respondents which were sampled from twelve sampled wards in the four LGA using purposive and systematic random sampling technique. The result revealed that there is a significant increase in annual rainfall in the study area. Rainfall trends in June, August and September showed a positive (upward) trend. The 5-year and 10-year running mean showed values below the annual long-term mean of 427mm in 1970s, 1980s and mid-1990s. Then steady and increased rainfall above the annual long term mean from early 2000s to the end of the study period. The annual maximum rainfall (712.1mm) was recorded in 2014, while the annual minimum rainfall (224.7mm) was recorded in 1983. Downward trend in annual temperature was observed with yearly fluctuations centered around the long term annual mean of 32.40 C. Mean monthly temperature trends for December, April and May showed a negative trend, while an upward (positive) trend in January mean temperature was recorded. Marked noises in onset and cessation dates created uncertainty in determination of planting time in the study area. The average onset date is 10th July with the earliest onset date 30th May in 2002 and the latest onset was 18th August in 1991. Although an upward trend in cessation date was recorded, the earliest cessation date was 4th August in 1984 and the latest was 17th Oct. in 1976. Result from the social field survey revealed that desertification, drought, heavy rainfall, loss of biodiversity, high solar intensity, poverty, unemployment, reduction in farm yields, loss of soil fertility, hunger and starvation, high rate of disease incidence, scarcity of foodstuff, are some of the effect of climate change identified by the respondents. The farmers have therefore been able to employ some adaptation strategies as means of combating climate stress such as planting of early maturing crops, use of drought resistant varieties, intensive manure application, change in planting and harvesting dates, movement to different site, multiple cropping, use of insecticides and pesticides, irrigation practices and southward migration. Analysis from pair wise comparison matrix revealed that planting of early maturing crop is the strongest or most preferred adaptation strategy in the study area. The research concludes that the annual rainfall has increased but the frequency of the rainy events is declining in the study area. However, many adaptation strategies are recommended by this study: - The use of more resistant varieties of millet such as pearl

millet (Pennisetum glaucum), soil conservation practices such as mulching and crop rotation to control pest attack, subsidized new model stove, kerosene and cooking gas to reduce deforestation, should all be encouraged by government. Research centres and institutes that will update the farmers on climate change related issues should be established and monitored.

CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION

1.1 General Background to the Study

The global climate has changed rapidly with a global mean temperature increase of 0.70C within

the last century (Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change, 2007). However, the rate of

change is significantly different among regions. This is primarily due to the varied types of land

resources with different surface albedos, evapotranspiration and carbon cycle affecting the

climate in different ways (Meissner, Weaver, Matthew and Cox, 2003; Synder, Delire and Foley,

2004). According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC, 2007) in the fourth

assessment report, climate change is a change in the state of the climate that can be identified

(e.g. using statistical tests) by the changes in the mean of temperature, precipitation and wind

pattern, and that persists for an extended period typically decades or longer. Climate change is

therefore the statistically significant deviation or shift from the average weather conditions of

climatic elements. The change could be limited to a specific region or may occur across the

globe.

Climate Change is defined in the Article 1 of the United Nations Framework Convention on

Climate Change (UNFCCC: 1992), as ―a change of climate which is attributed directly or

indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and which is in

addition to natural climatic variability observed over comparable time periods‖. Climate Change

is principally caused by the emission of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere from energy

production and consumption. The energy sector is responsible for 84% of global CO2 emissions

and 64% of the world‘s greenhouse-gas emissions (International Energy Agency, 2009). The

greenhouse gases include Carbon dioxide (CO2), Methane (CH4), Nitrous Oxide (N2O), Sulphur

Dioxide (SO2), Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), Hydrochloroflourocarbons (HCFCs), and Carbon

1


Monoxide (CO). Most of the outgoing heat is absorbed by these greenhouse gas molecules and

re-emitted in all directions, warming the surface of the earth and the lower atmosphere causing

global warming. Global warming according to De Chavez and Tauli-Corpus (2008) is the

average increase in the earth‘s surface temperature and ocean as compared to previous centuries.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC, 2007) fourth assessment report

predicted that Africa is highly vulnerable to the various manifestations of climate cha


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