Factors affecting climate change coping strategies used by smallholder farmers under root crop farming systems in derived savannah ecology zone of Nigeria

Peer Reviewed
20 August 2021

Chukwuone, N. A. and Amaechina, E. C.

The study analyzes factors affecting climate change coping strategies and constraints experienced by smallholder farmers under root crop (cassava and yam) farming systems in derived savannah ecological zone of Nigeria. The study used data collected from 400 farmers selected through a multistage random sampling technique from two States, Ebonyi and Enugu States, in the zone. The factors affecting the use of some climate change coping strategies were estimated using multivariate probit regression. We isolated factors that constrain farmers from coping with changes in climate using exploratory factor analysis. The findings revealed that the majority (98%) of the smallholder farmers indicated that delay in the onset of rains, too much rainfall (70%), higher temperatures (65%), and erratic rainfall patterns (43%) were the main types of climate change they experienced. The key strategies the farmers applied in coping with climate change are buying food (45%), starting the use of sustainable land management practices (43%), planting of early maturing crops (36%), planting trees (32%), starting non-farm activity (30%), and eating less food (30%). The multivariate probit regression result indicated that some variables influenced the likelihood of simultaneous adoption of the coping strategies. For example, providing climate change information to cassava and yam farmers through extension agents significantly increases the likelihood of engaging in climate-smart practices, namely, planting early-maturing crop varieties and tree planting. We also found that farmers' experiences with climate change variables and outcomes significantly influence the coping strategies they choose. For example, a decline in crop yield was positively and significantly associated with buying food, planting early-maturing varieties, starting a non-farm activity, and eating less as coping strategies. Constraints the farmers faced in coping with climate change were grouped as cultural impediments, weak knowledge/information, ineffective agricultural extension services, and weak policy and institutions. The study recommends, among others, strengthening of public agricultural extension services, provision of climate services to farmers, implementing policies to guaranty food security and enhancing the human capital of the farm households to reduce their vulnerability to climate change.

Sustainable Development Goals
Publication reference
Chukwuone, N. A., and Amaechina, E. C. (2021). Factors affecting climate change coping strategies used by smallholder farmers under root crop farming systems in derived savannah ecology zone of Nigeria. Environmental Development, 39, 100627, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envdev.2021.100627.

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Publication | 22 August 2021