NEW PUBLICATION: Enhancing Climate Resilience in Nigerian Agriculture: Implications for Sustainable Adaptation and Livelihood Diversification

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    CGIAR Initiative on National Policies and Strategies
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IFPRI Nigeria is pleased to announce the publication of Enhancing Climate Resilience in Nigerian Agriculture: Implications for Sustainable Adaptation and Livelihood Diversification by IFPRI researchers; Amare Mulubrhan, Balana Bedru, Onilogbo Omobolanle

Climate variability and extreme weather events are posing significant challenges to agricultural productivity and food security in Nigeria, especially for smallholder farmers. The impact of climate change on income sources for farming households is a growing concern. This policy note highlights key findings about the effects of climate change on agriculture in Nigeria and provides important policy recommendations to address these challenges.

Agriculture is a vital sector in Nigeria, contributing approximately 23 percent to the country’s GDP and employing 70 percent of the labor force. However, nearly 40 percent of the population faces poverty and food insecurity. Climate change exacerbates existing challenges, including low agricultural productivity and inadequate technology adoption. Reduced rainfall, shorter growing seasons, and rising temperatures threaten agricultural output, with some crops potentially facing yield reductions of up to 25 percent by 2050.

The distribution of historical average Growing Degree Days (GDDs) and Harmful Degree Days (HDDs) from 1985 to 2016 reveals significant regional disparities in temperature and precipitation. Northern Nigeria experiences greater climatic unpredictability and extreme heat, while the southern region enjoys a more stable growing season due to its humid coastal climate.

Smallholder farmers in Nigeria are employing various adaptation strategies to cope with climate change’s adverse effects. These strategies include diversifying crop portfolios, expanding livestock holdings, diversifying income sources, adjusting agricultural input usage, and diversifying labor activities. By analyzing household-level data and long-term satellite-based spatial data, the report sheds light on the impacts of these strategies on agricultural productivity and household income.

Key Highlights

  • Changes in temperature, measured in harmful degree days (HDDs), and precipitation have a significant negative impact on agricultural productivity in Nigeria, which highlights the adverse effects of extreme weather on crop yields.
  • Climate changes affect income sources for farming households. We found that an increase in HDDs reduces households’ income share from crops and nonfarm self-employment, implying threats to household food security for smallholders whose livelihoods depend on subsistence farming and food consumption from own sources.
  • In response to the risks posed by climate change, farmers adopt changes in crop mixes (for example, reducing the share of land allocated to cereals) and input use decisions (for example, reducing fertilizer use and purchased seeds) as an adaptation strategy. Adaption strategies that lead to low use of yield-enhancing modern inputs could worsen agricultural productivity and household food insecurity. However, we found that farmers in Nigeria respond to extreme climate by switching to drought tolerant root or tuber crops. Such strategies could partially offset the adverse effects of climatic shocks on households’ welfare.
  • Climate changes negatively impact agricultural productivity for both poor and non-poor households, but the effects are more pronounced among poorer households, according to our heterogenous effects analysis on household’s initial endowments (based on wealth indicators measured in asset and livestock holdings). This implies low adaptive capacity on the part of poor households and thus their high vulnerability to climate-related shocks.
  • Suggested policy recommendations include interventions to incentivize adoption of climate-resilient agriculture, targeted pro-poor interventions such as low-cost financing options for improving smallholders’ access to climate-proof agricultural inputs and technologies, and policy measures to reduce the inequality of access to livelihood capital, such as land and other productive assets.

Read full paper here.

Originally published on IFPRI Nigeria

This work is part of the CGIAR Research Initiative on National Policies and Strategies (NPS). CGIAR launched NPS with national and international partners to build policy coherence, respond to policy demands and crises, and integrate policy tools at national and subnational levels in countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. CGIAR centers participating in NPS are The Alliance of Bioversity International and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (Alliance Bioversity-CIAT), International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), International Water Management Institute (IWMI), International Potato Center (CIP), International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), and WorldFish. We would like to thank all funders who supported this research through their contributions to the CGIAR Trust Fund 

Photo credit: IITA

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