Impacts of Climate Change and Adaptation in the Agricultural Sector: The Case of Smallholder Farmers in Nigeria
This study discusses the findings of research that was carried out in Nigeria among smallholder farmers on their knowledge of climate change and adaptation strategies. The aim was to assess climate change and weather issues of relevance to smallholder farmers’ activities, views and knowledge about climate change its impacts and adaptation strategies. These farmers are vulnerable to the effects of climate change due to their marginal location, low levels of technology and lack of other essential farming resources. This study utilizes information from interviews of agricultural extension workers, desk-based research, literature review and questionnaire administered to smallholder farmers in Nasarawa North Senatorial District of Nasarawa state. Majority of farmers indicated that prolonged wet, hot and dry weather conditions affect the efficient use of their resources and investment decisions. Some specific impacts of these conditions include crop damage, death of livestock, soil erosion bush fires, poor plant germination, pest, lower incomes and deterioration of infrastructure. Some farmers professed ignorance about climate change and how it will affect their future farming activities while others pointed out high frequency and severity of drought, excessive precipitation, drying up of rivers, dams and wells and changes in timing and pattern of seasons as evidence of climate change. Suggested adaptation strategies include strengthening and improving indigenous land and water management practices, use of decision support tools such as seasonal weather forecast data, growing drought resistant crops, improving indigenous animal breeds and development of irrigation infrastructure. It is therefore, concluded that there need to conscientise farmers about climate change and design adaptation strategies that take into cognizance existing local level knowledge and practices on land and water management. There is also the need to avail agricultural research results relevant to smallholder farmers and train them on how to use the results to make informed on-farm investment decisions.