Determine The Rural Farmers Choice Of Climate Change Adaptation . Farmers in the rural areas will to a great extent benefit from this work as it will expose them to climate change, its effects on their productivity, their income and savings, as well as mitigation measures.
1.1 Background of Study
There is of increasing evidence that Climate Change will strongly affect the African continent and will be one of the most challenging issues for future development, particularly in the drier regions (Adger, et al. 2007).
The challenge is composed of the likely impacts of climate change on ecosystem services, agricultural production, and livelihoods, as well as the limited resilience and high vulnerability characterizing regions dominated by economic poverty, subsistent food production, and a low and highly variable natural production potential, (Odada, 2008).
Subsequently, Climate Change has been linked with a lot of losses that occur in rural areas especially those who depend on rain-fed agriculture. Climate change has resulted to climate related disasters like; drought and floods which to a great extent has negatively affected productivity in agriculture. In recent years, Climate Change has become a major concern to farmers, researchers and policy makers alike.
Climate Change has to a great extent affected the level of agricultural production and productivity over the years in different parts of the world, as well as African nations, Nigeria inclusive where vulnerability is high due to low adaptability of rural farmers.
The change in climate has resulted to deviation from the a priori weather expectation of farmers in which they have been conversant with in their food production. Studies indicate that Africa’s agriculture is negatively affected by climate change.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC, 2008) predicts that climate change is likely to have a significant effect on agricultural production in many African countries.
Projected reductions in yield in some African countries could be as much as 50% by 2020, and net crop revenues could fall by 90% by 2100 (Boko, et al. 2007). This amounts to a serious threat to food security and to the achievement of major developmental goals.
Thus as these changes occur bit by bit, farmers find it difficult to understand the cause(s) of these changes as they bring reduction in the expected growth, development and productivity of the farm produce.
Following lack of or inadequate understanding of climate change, farmers have been seen to be caught-up on the neck as the pattern of rainfall, sunshine, wind and other elements of weather dwindle in an unstable manner.
Consequently, instability in weather as a result of climate change has resulted to food insecurity as food production has tremendously decreased over the years. However, climate change raises the possibility that existing societies will experience climatic shifts (in temperature, storm frequency, flooding and other factors) that previous experience has not prepared them for.
Researchers over the years have researched to find out how these factors that cause climate change can comfortably be combated to enhance farmers’ production capacity even in the changed climatic situation which has been seen as problematic by the adverse effect of climate change.
One way of doing this is by encouraging the farmers in adapting to the adverse effects of climate change through developing practices, cultures and livelihoods suited to local conditions like the practice of building homes on stilts to protect against rains, using planting dates and distances in cropping, application of fertilizer as at when due, crop rotation method, planting in green houses, irrigation agriculture, etc.
Farmers can reduce the potential damage by making tactical responses to these changes, known as adaptation. Adaptation generally takes place both at the micro and macro levels as farmers introduce practices at the local level, (Nhemachena and Hassan, 2007).
Adaptation to climate change refers to adjustment in natural or human systems in response to actual or expected climatic stimuli or their effects, which moderates harm or exploits beneficial opportunities. Adaptation helps farmers to achieve their food, income and livelihood security objectives in the face of changing climatic and socio-economic conditions, including climate variability, extreme weather conditions such as droughts and floods, and volatile short-term changes in local and large-scale markets (Kandlinkar & Risbey, 2000).
Nevertheless, rural communities have always been observed to manage their resources in the subsistent way to adapt to changes that occur in the climate.
They have to a large extent been able to develop their livelihood strategies in a way which enable them to constantly cope with and adapt to an erratic climate, severe pest attacks, changing policies at local, national, and global levels, and so on.
Adaptation to climate change requires that farmers first notice that the climate has changed, and then identify useful adaptation measures which they can implement in order to help them (Maddison, 2006). Some measures have been developed in order to fight the adverse effect of climate change.
Some of these measures or adaptive strategies used in curtailing climate change include; use of different improved crop varieties and livestock varieties that are better suited for drier environments, soil and water conservation, changing planting dates, use of improved inputs, borrowing past local crops from community, growing crops with short lifespan, adoption of mixed farming, etc.
Meanwhile, it will be pertinent to find out how farmers are coping and adapting to past and current changes, recognizing that while the concept of coping capacity is more directly related to short term survival.
The concept of adaptive capacity refers to a longer time frame and some learning processes which should be undergone by rural farmers in order to sustain the already adapted measures as well as to be open to adapt innovated measures as time pass.
Efforts will be made to assess which coping and adaptation strategies are best adopted in the face of these changes and to what extent these strategies have contributed to Agricultural productivity.
Also research has shown that vulnerability and adaptation strategies to climate change are seen to be linked to poverty reduction measures as Bryant, et al. (2000) reported that adaptation to climate change is related to agricultural decision making process. This decision making process involves whether or not the farmer is willing to accept and adopt the adaptive measures available.
1.2 Problem Statement
Developing countries over the world and most especially, Africa are faced with the problem of climate change and adaptation measures and climate variability.
To enhance policy towards tackling the challenges that climate change pose to the rural farmers, there is need to have knowledge of farmer’s perception to climate change, their potential adaptation measures and factors affecting adaptation to climate change, Maddison, (2006).
In all rural communities, climate is one of the major factors that influence the rate at which the rural dwellers who are mostly small-scale farmers adapt to environmental challenges (Adger, 1999).
This has been seen to be more pronounced in the relatively poor and vulnerable communities. Climate change has direct impact on agricultural production, because of the climate-dependent nature of agricultural systems. This impact is particularly significant in the rural areas where agriculture constitutes employment and income sources for the majority of the population, (IFPRI, 2010).
Consequently, despite the many different researches about Climate Change, there seem to be bridge of knowledge on the determinants of choice of Climate change adaptation measures among farmers in the study area.
For farmers to apply indigenous climate change adaptation practices in their farms, it is necessary for them to understand the expected adaptation measures in order to impact and conduct vulnerability assessment which is fundamental for estimating the costs or risks of climate change. In trying to do justice to the topic under review, efforts will be made to answer the following research questions.
(i) What are the socio-economic characteristics of rural farmers who adapt measures against Climate change in the study area?
(ii) What knowledge and perception do rural farmers have for climate change and adaptation measures?
(iii) What are the various climate change adaptation measures available to the rural farmers?
(iv) What is the relationship between the socio-economic characteristics of rural farmers and their adaptation to climate change measures?
(v) What are the constraints limiting the adoption of climate change adaptation measures?
1.3 Research Objectives.
The broad objective of the study is to determine the rural farmers choice of climate change adaptation measures in Ivo Local Government Area of Ebonyi State.
Specifically, objectives include to;
(i) describe the socio-economic characteristics of the rural farmers in the study area.
(ii) ascertain the level of knowledge rural farmers in this area have for climate change and adaptation measures;
(iii) identify the various climate change adaptation measures available to rural farmers in the study area;
(iv) determine the relationship between the socio-economic characteristics of rural farmers and the choice of adaptation against the effect of Climate change in the study area;
(v) identify the constraints limiting farmer’s choice to adaptation measures against the effects of Climate change in the study area;
The hypothesis is stated in null that;
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The problems which climate change pose to food production is on the tremendous increase as more food is lost on daily basis as a result of the change in climate.
This work aims at challenging and providing solutions to the climate change problems that occur in this part of Nigeria. Students who wish to understand climate change, its effect on
Agriculture and mitigation measures will benefit from this work as it will be a good source of information to them.
This work provides correct information about the effect of climate change in Nigeria and as such will be a good source of information to the government in assisting the farmers on how to tackle the effects of climate change. Extension agents and workers will benefit from this work as it will be relevant for them to understand climate change and adaptation measures.
Farmers in the rural areas will to a great extent benefit from this work as it will expose them to climate change, its effects on their productivity, their income and savings, as well as mitigation measures.
They will be exposed to the adaptation measures available to them which when adopted will to a great extent help them grow more crops, rear more animals, provide more food for their families and as well more raw materials for the industries.
Ebonyi state government also will benefit from this work as the government will rely on the data so collected and the estimates made in making their plans and as well as implementation in order to enable it forecast the economic situation of the state in the future.
– Ebonyi state
In this chapter, literature was duly reviewed in line with the objectives under the following sub-topics; the concept of climate and weather, meaning and scope of climate change, impact of global warming on climate change, the effects of climate change on small scale farmers, constraints to climate change adaptation.
2.1 The Concept of Climate and Weather
Weather and climate have a profound influence on life on Earth. They are part of the daily experience of human beings and are essential for health, food production and well-being.
Many consider the prospect of human-induced climate change as a matter of concern. The IPCC (1996) hereafter presented scientific evidence that human activities may already be influencing the climate.
If one wishes to understand, detect and eventually predict the human influence on climate, one needs to understand the system that determines the climate of the Earth and of the processes that lead to climate change.
In common parlance, the notions “weather” and “climate” are loosely defined. IPCC (2006) defined “weather”, as the fluctuating state of the atmosphere around us, characterized by the temperature, wind, precipitation, clouds and other weather elements.
This weather is the result of rapidly developing and decaying mid-latitude, low and high pressure systems with their associated frontal zones, showers and tropical cyclones.
Ogbodo, Njoku and Akilo (2008), defined weather as the variations in atmospheric conditions of a place at any given time. This is the variation in rainfall, temperature, wind pattern, etc. They added that the cause of weather is solar radiation because the rotation of the earth causes unequal heating and cooling of the atmosphere due to the earth’s inclination to the sun.
Merrits, et al (1998), defined weather as the short-term daily changes in temperature, wind, rainfall, etc. The third edition of the Oxford learners’ dictionary defined weather as the atmospheric condition of a place.
Weather is one of the fundamental processes that shape the earth and plays a major role in the development of any environment. It determines the types of houses, clothes, industries, roads, bridges, constructions, trees, technologies, etc that can be found in a given area. It is a major part of the environment, (IPCC, 2006).
According to Ayoade, (2008), Climate deals with the average weather conditions of an area which is observed to be typical of that region for a period which is at least 35years.
It is used to divide the earth surface into different zones and each zone having some distinguishing characteristics in respect to temperature, precipitation, wind, cloud type and humidity.
IPCC, (2006) defined Climate as the average weather in terms of the mean and its variability over a certain time-span and a certain area.
Classical climatology provides a classification and description of the various climate regimes found on Earth. Climate varies from place to place, depending on latitude, distance to the sea, vegetation, presence or absence of mountains or other geographical factors.
2.2 The concept of Climate Change
Climate varies in time; from season to season, year to year, decade to decade or on much longer time-scales, such as the Ice Ages. Statistically, there is significant variations of the mean state of the climate or of its variability.
According to Ayoade, (2008) Climate change is the average change in average weather conditions of a region which is observed to be typical of that region for a period which is at least 35years.
Ajaero, et al. in IPCC (2001), referred to Climate change as global warming and defined it as the measurable increase in the mean temperature of the earth’s sphere. This warming is as a result of increase in the level of hest trapping (green house gases) in the atmosphere.
Climate change is a normal part of the earth’s natural variability, which is related to the interactions among the atmosphere, ocean and land as well as the changes in the amount of solar radiation reaching the earth.
However, climate change may be linked to human caused change and climate variability for other changes, (NOAA, 2007).
UNFCC, (2009) defined climate change as any significant change in measures of climate such as temperature, precipitation and wind. Ayoade (2008) defined Climate change as a significant shift in the mean state of the atmosphere over an area and over a period of time which is usually of the order, centuries or millennium.
It is also a change of weather patterns over a long period of time and the disruption of the annual weather pattern.
Climate change refers to a regional variation in the green house gases.
It describes the changes or variability in the average state of the atmosphere over time scales ranging from decades to millions of years. In the aspect of environmental policy, climate change refers to or is known as global warming (Waugh, 1995).
Climate Change has now been recognized as a serious environmental issue in our time. Climate has changed and has continued changing at all scales, from the local to global, and over varying time-spans, (Ajaero et al, 2009).
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