Rural Farmers Perception of Climate Variability, Impacts and Adaptation Strategies in Obanliku, Southeast Nigeria

Akiang, J. U; Akpashila, R.U; Ereh, D. A. & Amuyou, U. A.


Climate change and variability is one of the major environmental crises that is confronting humanity daily. The problems of extreme temperatures and rainfall values threatens rural populations ability to sustain their livelihood. To understand the trend of climate variability and farm-level adaptation strategies among rural households in critical ecosystems of Obanliku Local Government Area of Cross River State, Nigeria, climate data of rainfall (mm) and air temperature (0C) were obtained from the Nigerian Meteorological Agency Office, Calabar and subjected to descriptive analysis to establish trends. In addition, a questionnaire and Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) tools were employed to gather data from 175 heads of households in three communities (Anape, Leshikwel and Bebi 3) between March and July 2018 on their perception of climate variability trends, impacts and mitigation strategies put in place against vagaries of extreme weather. The data were analyzed using simple frequency count, percentage, tabulation and rank order of respondents’ perceptions on extreme weather indices. Findings reveal that unlike temperature, rainfall showed marked interannual variability in its distribution from 2005 to 2017. A mean annual rainfall value of 130.9 mm and standard deviation of 3.8 was recorded within the study period while mean and standard deviation of air temperature 27.0C and 0.20 respectively was observed between 2005 and 2017. On demographic characteristics of the respondents, 66.9% claimed to be secondary school leavers, and the highest daily income in respondents’ income categories is less than $0.5 which is below the United Nations, recommended minimum. The survey results further revealed that 52.6% of the respondents believe there has been a reduction in rainfall, 59.4% said temperature has slightly increased, and there is significant reduction in soil quality and crop yield over the past 30 years. Consequently, farmers have employed some adaptation strategies in managing the impacts of these changes, especially since the crops of high market value (e.g. Dioscoera spp, Oriza sativa, Musa paradisiacal and Telferia occidentalis) which provide the main income for livelihood are crops with high water requirements. These strategies includes the cultivation of different types of crops at different periods of the year, cultivation of flood tolerant/drought resistant crops, cultivation of improved/high yielding crops, employing  conservation  practices  like  mulching  and  planting  of  cover  crops  and the use  of organic/inorganic fertilizers.

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