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CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION      1.1. Background of the study 

Agriculture is the dominant sector of the economy in most of least developing countries. Nigeria is one of the developing counties in which agriculture is the main source of the economy. It contributed 41.6 percent to GDP, 60 percent for employment and 80 percent for export earnings. This sector is expected to have a base and primary determinant for GTP. In line with this environmental conservation it plays a great role in sustainable economic growth and development. The issue of climate change stands at the heart of this transformation agenda. Currently the issue of climate is one of the key agenda worldwide. Nigeria is highly vulnerable to climate change and low capacity to adopt and perceived. Climate change is a natural phenomenon which influences agricultural production and negative effect on the social and economic activities and lead to food insecurity in particular (MoFED, 2010).

 According to IPCC (2007) Africa is one of the regions that will be hard hit by the impact of climate change like increasing in temperature and reduction in rainfall. Agricultural production and food security in many African countries could be affected by climate change and variability. By 2020 some countries rain-fed agriculture could be reduced by up to 50 percent, with smallholders being the most affected. The impact of climate change could be reducing the economic growing in some parts of Africa and these effects are expected to get worse. This implies that reduction in agriculture production of the smallholder farmers and would be further adversely affected food security. To sustain current levels of food production and to meet future challenges smallholder farmers` may have to respond to the impact of climate change using an adaptation strategies. (ibid)

Climate change affects all aspect of economic growth especially in least developing countries. To reduce the impact of climate change and enhance food security, adaptation measures are urgently required. The process of adaptation options are needed to be location, integrated and flexible. This climate change affects to all agricultural sector in a multitude ways. For example, changing weather pattern such as heavy flood and storms makes the agricultural production low and leading to extreme events of poverty and slow down economic development. In general, there is a relationship between climate vulnerability, poverty and food insecurity (FAO, 2011).  

Moreover, adaptation is critical and necessary in developing countries, especially in Nigeria where the fact that vulnerability is high. Most people of livelihoods and living standard are affected by the impact of climate change. Farmers with better knowledge and information on climate change and agronomic practices enable to use adaptation methods to cope up with change in climate and other socioeconomic conditions (Nhemachena & Hassan 2007). A better understanding of the local dimensions of climatic change is also essential to develop appropriate adaptation measures that can mitigate the adverse impact of climate change. Therefore, awareness of the potential benefits from adaptation is an important issue. 

According to Deressa et al. (2009) increasing temperature and rainfall variability in different part of Nigeria were adversely affect the agricultural production of the rural household farmers. To minimize the impact of climate change on stallholder farmers’, adaptation strategy is vital instrument. The main critical points such as social, economic, technology and environmental trends are able smallholder farmer’s to perceive and adapt to climate change. In addition, knowledge by itself on the adaptation method and factor affecting farmer’s choice of the adaptation strategies are enhancing efforts directly towards tackling to the impact of climate change.(ibid)

By understanding all of these facts, effort should focus on finding mechanisms in which smallholder farmer’s can reduce these problems and improve effort to strength smallholder farmers’ adaptation to climate change. Generally, it is believed that the adaptation strategy of smallholder on agriculture to climate change is imperative to enhance the resilience of agricultural sectors. 

Therefore, this study intended to identify smallholder farmers’ adaptation strategies to climate change and variability’s by taking Akwa Ibom State as a case study. 

     1.2. Statement of the problem

Agriculture is the major driver of economic growth especially in developing countries. Nigeria is one of the least developing countries in which majority of its population depend on agriculture sector.  Rising the agricultural production at the national level leads to improve overall economic growth and development. However, currently climate change has become a serious threat to sustainable economic growth (Gebreegziabher et al., 2012).

The impacts of climate change have been adversely affecting the economic growth. These impacts affect all economic sensitive sectors especially agriculture sector.  Nigeria is a poor country and its economy is highly depending on agriculture which had failed to meet the growing food demand.  This is due to the fact that the negative effect of climate changes on agricultural production (World Bank, 2007). Moreover, According to Deressa (2007) Nigerian agriculture sector is negatively affected by climatic related disasters with drought and flood being the major one.

Adaptation is an essential strategy to enable farmers to cope with the adverse effect of climate change and variability which in turn increase the agricultural production of the poor farm households (Yesuf et al., 2008). Similarly, knowledge of the adaptation methods on the side of smallholder farmers may make it better to tackle the challenge of climate change (Deressa et al., 2009). 

Climate change is unexpected impact because it is a natural phenomenon that varies with location, socio economic and environmental conditions. The capacity to adapt to climate change is unequal across and within societies. This fact implies that the adaptation measures at micro level farm household are important to get truth and appropriate policies. According to Maddison (2007) there is a difference in the propensity of farmers living in different locations to adapt. Farmers in different area or agricultural zone have unequal propensity and capacity to climate change impact and adaptation. According to Admassie et al. (2008) in-depth study on vulnerability and adaptation should continue. To address this studying one specific site area is appropriate. Therefore, the researcher tried to address this gap of knowledge by studying a single state level case study of adaptation strategies to climate change.

Some researchers are done on climate related issues in Nigeria but most of them are focused on the farmers of Nile Basin as a case study (Deressa et al., 2010; Rengler et al., 2009; Hassan et al., 2008 and Yesuf et al., 2008) .Their findings are interesting to make policy intervention at micro level especially for the farmers who are similar to the socio economic and climatic condition of Nile Basin. But a one size fits all recommendation is inappropriate given difference in agro ecologies. Since adaptation is a local effort, therefore the adaptation method differs within community and even within individuals. According to Fussel (2007) tailoring adaptation practices to specific societies or communities may make it possible to offset the adverse impact of climate change.

Therefore, a better understanding of the local dimensions of the climate change is important to develop appropriate adaptation measures and appropriate policies. Akwa Ibom State is district central Zone of Tigrai, which is vulnerable to climate change. In this study area the impact of climate change is adversely affecting the agriculture. The existence of warming and rainfall variety leads to reduce the agricultural production of the smallholder farmers. Therefore, the area is seriously affected by the climate change and weather variability. As to the knowledge of the researcher, no earlier study was conducted on the climate change adaptation strategies of smallholder farmers in this study area. Hence, considering this knowledge gap, the researcher would study on the local level of smallholder farmers’ adaptation strategies to climate change in Akwa Ibom State.    

                     1.2.1. Research Questions

The study was attempted to address the following questions: 

1.      What are the determinant factors that influence farmers’ choice of adaptation methods to climate change in Adwa wereda?

2.      What kinds of adaptation methods the smallholder farmers’ response to climate change in Adwa wereda? 

3.      What are policies implications from the finding of the study? 

     1.3. Objective of the study                1.3.1. General objective of the study

The general objective of this study is to determine the factors that influence smallholder farmers’ choice of adaptation method and identify adaptation strategies used by farmers’ in response to climate change and variability in Nigeria using Akwa Ibom State a case study.

                  1.3.2. Specific objective of the study

1.      To determine factors that influence farmers’ choice of adaptation strategies to climate change in Akwa Ibom State.

2.      To identify adaptation strategies used by farmers’ in response to climate change and variability in Akwa Ibom State.

3.      To propose some policy implication (recommendation) based on the findings of the study.

     1.4. Significance of the study

Purposely this research would intend to study the smallholder farmers’ adaptation strategies to climate change in Akwa Ibom State. This study was conducted at micro level so that it is very interesting to use as guideline document for further research in this study area and to the same climatic, socioeconomic and geographical areas.  In addition, it may provide significant contribution to local and national government, NGOs and other bilateral donors in an effort to minimize the impact of climate change design of policy at local level. 

     1.5. Scope and limitation of the study

This study was carried out on smallholder farmers in Akwa Ibom State district central Zone of Tigrai region. It was conducted on smallholder farmers’ adaptation strategies to climate change by taking a case study approach in order to make a detail analysis. The major limitation of this study was the inclusion of only four climate change adaptation strategies in the model and the sample size was also not large because of financial and time constraint.