Analysis Of Effect Of Flood On Livelihoods And Adaptation Measures Of Smallholder Crop Farmers

Project and Seminar Material for Agricultural Engineering AE

Analysis Of Effect Of Flood On Livelihoods And Adaptation Measures Of Smallholder Crop Farmers


This study evaluated the effect of flood on farm families in Delta State. It specifically described the socioeconomic characteristics of smallholder crop farmers in the study area, identified the causes of floods in the study area, evaluated the economic effects of flood hazards on smallholder crop farmers, examined the vulnerability of smallholder crop farmers’ families to floods in the study area and identified adaptive strategies for mitigating the negative effects of floods on smallholder farm households. 180 smallholder famers were randomly drawn from 12 communities that covered six local government areas including; Oshimili South, Ndokwa East, Ughelli North, Udu, Isoko North and Patani local government areas. Data were collected from both primary and secondary sources and analysed through the use of both descriptive and inferential statistical tools.

The result shows that over 51% of the respondents were females while majority (57,78%) of them were within the age bracket of 20 to 59 years and 70.56% were married.Over 87% of the respondents had one form of formal education or the other while themean household size was 8 persons with most of the farmers (76.66%) having farm sizes of 1.0 hectare and bellow. The identified causes of flooding in the area included long hours of rainfall, type of land use pattern, dumping of refuse into water channels, lack of and poor drainage networks, topography, nature of urban land surface and building types, and stream basin parameters. Lack of drainage network in the disposal of flood water is believed to be a major factor substantially worsening flooding in the study area. More than 27% of houses of sampled respondents collapsed during the 2012 flood in the study area while about (43%) suffered health problems. The results of the regression analysis of the effects of socioeconomic variables on vulnerability to flood hazards showed that savings, membership of ROSCAS, farm output and income had negative and statistically significant effect on vulnerability while Dependency Ratio is positively signed and statistically significant at the 5% level.

Thus, vulnerability to flood event is highly reduced as savings, membership of ROSCAS, farm output and level of income of the smallholder farmers increase while the opposite is the case when the dependency ratio increases. Measures to reduce the risks of flooding in their area were identified as river re-channelisation, raising foundation of houses flood water level the use of sand bags as levees to keep away flood water. It is recommended that early warning of flooding based on climatic variability will help people in flood prone areas to prepare ahead of time. Also construction and improvement of drainage networks to effectively dispose flood water will go a long way in reducing the risks of flooding.

Chapter One


1.1 Background Information

Today, global climate change is one of humanity’s greatest challenges. According to the International Resource Group (2008) global warming will increase within the next fifty (50) years to the detriment of the world’s population. Weather extremities such as droughts, floods and cyclones will occur more frequently and forcefully, causing insecure living conditions, food shortage and forced migration. The current cycle of rising temperatures is unique. For the first time, the actions of human beings are responsible for decisively changing a cycle that is typically a natural phenomenon.

Apart from mitigation, adaption represents the second insurance strategy to first, protect vulnerable populations already experiencing adverse effects of climate change and secondly, protect all people in the future. Therefore, adaptation to existing climate change is essential for all countries. Political scientists and the policy-making community have begun to explore potential consequences of climate change, especially for developing countries, describing it as a stress factor with the potential to add to existing development, security and health problems (International Resource Group, 2008).

Inequality in capacity to adapt to climate change is emerging as a potential force widening disparities in wealth, security and opportunities for human development. While developed countries with adequate resources are in the process of adapting to climate change, it is the countries in the developing world that are facing extreme and more immediate burdens and adverse impacts of changes in global climate. According to research, developing countries in tropical and subtropical regions will face some of the strongest negative consequences of climate change, thus primarily and adversely impacting the most vulnerable people globally (International Resource Group, 2008).

Flood is unusual accumulation of water. A disaster might be caused by a natural or man-made phenomenon resulting in a significant physical damage or destruction, loss of life or drastic change to the environment. It is a terrible occurrence that is capable of being harmful to life, property, economic and social welfare of people (Cherdpong and Thiengkamol, 2013). The coastal plains or flood belt are often more vulnerable to flood disaster in Delta State. With the advent of climate change phenomenon, the effect of floods has been devastating in the flood belt of Delta State, Nigeria. The 2012 flood disaster in some parts of Nigeria, including Delta State is a case worthy of reference.

The dimensions of the effect of flood can broadly be grouped into direct and indirect. Social effect of flood may manifest in the forms of loss of homes, loss of social status, education of children/wards and psychological trauma of the victims. Other direct effects are loss of farm income, social infrastructures (schools, markets, roads, and health facilities), loss of means of livelihood, loss of farm lands and crops/livestock’s. Indirect effects of flood may reflect in the form of burden on safe communities in the hinterland and food shortages, increase in prices of food stuff. Other dimensions of effects of flood disaster include: food insecurity, poverty, psychological trauma, loss of human capital, political unrest and a drain on government budget (Cherdpong and Thiengkamol, 2013).

The overall effect of flood disaster is that it retards and reverses development. It may hinder productive investment. A key issue for developing countries including Nigeria is the lack of capacity of farming households to mitigate flood disaster (Abaje and Giwa, 2007).

The smallholder farmers that dominate the population of Delta State, produce small output, with scanty resources, earn low income and low purchasing power. About 70% of the whole population depends on their aggregate output. According to Cruz (2010) majority (more than 80%) of the small holder farmers in the world depend on farming as their primary source of livelihoods. Three out of every four poor people leave in rural areas and depend on agriculture, either directly or indirectly for their livelihood (World Bank, 2008). Consequently, flood hazards on farming households will have spillover effect on those that depend on them.

In most parts of the world, and particularly in the developing countries such as Nigeria, food security and its related issues are vital welfare issues that occupy central focus in global economic debates. Attainment of food security is core problem confronting rural farming households due to low productivity. The changing climate pattern and its effect on agriculture pose a serious food security and livelihood challenges to the rural farm families in Delta State, Nigeria. The United Nations estimate has projected that over the next 20 years the demand for food will increase astronomically. Ash, et al. (2007) reported that yields from Africa’s rain-fed farm production may decrease by 50% due to climate change hazards such as flood, by 2020.

Previous studies demonstrating correlations between flood hazards and poverty status among vulnerable rural farm families have generated considerable interest (Meza et al, 2008). The body of literature has accordingly pursued three main directions with respect to climate hazards and livelihood status of vulnerable rural farm families:

  • Close link between flood and farm output (Meinke and Stone, 2005)
  • Vulnerability of rural communities, which lack economic resources and capacity to mitigate flood hazards, and
  • The need for agronomic and economic models that can capture relevant variables for adaptation policies and practices (Maza, et al, 2008).

Agronomic and economic models of flood hazards indicate that, over time, adaptive use of seasonal climate forecast could provide some benefits (Ash, et al. 2007), especially with respect to vulnerable farmers (Letson et al, 2005). Hansen et al. (2009) demonstrated that high value could be attained from accurate predictability of flood hazards.

The main purpose of estimating flood response model is to integrate the relevant variables in flood hazards management decision making. It is important to investigate how vulnerable rural farm families and others in the flood belt make use of flood hazards forecast information in their livelihood decision making (Roncoli, 2006).

Flooding and its impacts have been a major concern to farmers, engineers, economists, among others thus, forming headlines in the world and Nigerian dailies. Flooding has a wide range of influence on the interactions between man and his social, economic environment. Similarly, the Nile River was regarded due to its annual cycle of flooding, and farming was of great significance to many early farming cultures in Egypt. Flooding, which deposits rich fertile alluvium on agricultural areas, also replenish irrigation channels.

The growing increase in population, human activities, coupled with flooding in the Niger Delta region have increased the need to evaluate the impacts of flooding on socio-economic activities in Oleh community.

1.2 Statement of the Research Problem

Flooding is a wide spread phenomenon on the earth surface, which has been defined by many scholars and organizations. Flooding has caused a great setback to mankind, although these setbacks are only restricted to those areas or places of low terrain especially in the coastal regions of the world (Chorley, 1977).

Doocy, Daniels, Murray and Kirsch (2013) stated that, the causes of flooding are not only by natural processes but also by human activities. Natural processes include excessive moisture through heavy rainfall, snow melt in the spring combined with rain while human activities refers to the way mankind alters the hydrological cycle of the river and drainage system, the altering of dams, deforestation, land reclamation, improper soil management and so forth.

Several years back, farmers in Nigeria were experiencing seasonal flooding problems which resulted to low crop yield and low income. For example, in Oleh, 54 percent of the total maize cultivated was lost to flooding, while more than half of the yield from plantain was also lost to flooding in 2011 and 2012 (Ojeh and Orivoh, 2014). Flooding, which has been a perennial problem in Oleh, has caused much havocs and difficulties to the inhabitants of Oleh community, such as destruction of farmlands, destruction of buildings, lives and properties. Roads are flooded thereby making them unmotorable and so restricting the movement of people in the area; also, drastic reduction of human activities such as farming, fishing which are the major activities of the people.

Flooding affects numerous aspects of man’s environment. These include his economic activities; settlements and lifestyle. Several threats to livelihoods ranging from the physical threats to social and economic threats exists, while affected persons suffer some psychological effects. Flooding also causes land pollution which leads to epidemics and infections. Flooding has been seriously affecting Oleh community. A lot of social and emotional costs were involved in flooded areas. These costs include: displacement from homes, the loss of personal valuables and the ongoing fear and insecurity caused by the experience. Portable water supplies were contaminated and lost during periods of flood. Furthermore, flooding in Oleh made people to suffer untold hardships in the process of trying to make new buildings to withstand flooding.

Also, the school system was disrupted as communication and personal mobility proved difficult. Although, most people complained of the adverse impact caused by flooding, some people rejoiced during flooding and prayed because of the gains usually made from the affected persons. For instance, marketers sold items such as oil palm, meat double of its normal price. Transporters also make more income by increasing transport fare.

Perennial flooding in Oleh has forced the inhabitants to make canals, raise foundation of houses, sand fill compounds, cultivate water tolerant crops and prematurely harvest their crops. Pre-mature harvesting is seen as the people’s commonest and most assured way in which they can locally reduce the effects of flooding in their production and food supplies.

Over the years, governments and non-governmental organizations have attempted to provide drainage system, fund, and policy with a view to reducing flood damage. Notwithstanding all coping strategies, most people in Oleh cannot cope at all and were forced to relocate their dwelling units during flooding to the camp provided by the government. Regrettably, on November 24, 2012, flood victims in Nigeria and Oleh in particular were forced out of camps, which exposed government’s inadequacy in handling flood situations.

Although there are a lot of published works on flooding, unfortunately, until now, adequate work has not been done on the impacts of flooding on socio-economic activities in Oleh. For example, Ojeh and Orivoh (2014) who worked on flooding in Oleh only focused on the impacts of flooding on crop yields, neglecting other socio- economic activities. Furthermore, researchers such as Odermerho (1988), Sada and Odermerho (1988), Efe (2007), Aderogba (2012c), and others, at various times have written on the devastating nature of flooding but not in Oleh. Despite the frequency and magnitude of flooding in Oleh, no comprehensive study on impacts of flooding on socio-economic activities of the people has been undertaken. Based on the aforementioned problem and research gap, the researcher was motivated to carry out this study. Filling this gap in knowledge is the main purpose of this research.

1.3 Aim and Objectives of the Research

The aim of this study is Analysis Of Effect Of Flood On Livelihoods And Adaptation Measures Of Smallholder Crop Farmers.

The specific objectives are set to:

  1. Identify the impacts of flooding in Oleh community.
  2. Evaluate the adverse and beneficial impacts of flooding on socio-economic activities of the people in Oleh community.
  3. Know the number of fish lost in ponds per household in Oleh community.

1.4 Hypothesis

HO: There is no significant relationship between flooding and socio-economic activities in Oleh.

1.5 Significance of the Study

The importance of this research cannot be overemphasized because of its immense significance to different groups of people who are in need of information that it will provide. Its significance includes the following:

The study will enable the management of flooding and provide an in-depth understanding and knowledge of the flood prevention strategies available so that they can adopt them adequately.

The study will also serve as a source of secondary data for students and scholars who intend to carry out similar studies in the future.

1.6 The Study Area


Oleh lies roughly to the South-East of Delta State. It is located between latitudes 50 14’N and 50 33’ N, and longitudes 60 07’ E and 60 25’ E. Oleh is bounded on the North by Ozoro and Owhe town respectively, on the South by Olomoro/Emede town, and on the East by Irri town while on the West by Emevor town (see figures 1.1)

Chapter Five

Summary of Findings

From the results of the analysisof effect of flood on livelihoods and adaptation measures of smallholder crop farmers activities and critical aspects namely: Agriculture, Education, Transportation, Water of people in Oleh, Isoko South Local Government Area of Delta State.

  1. Flooding caused loss of economic trees and agricultural products in the study area which resulted to shortage in supply and led to high price of some food items.
  2. The education sector was equally not spared. Learning was disrupted due to submerged schools and damaged infrastructure. Roads were submerged and damaged due to flooding, this affected transportation system that led to increase in fare. Also, travelling was delayed during flooding.
  3. Regarding water, there was high loss of portable water. This happened as a result of increased contamination of water during flooding.
  4. The study revealed that there was high loss of fish stock in ponds due to flooding in Oleh. In addition, 63000 African catfish (Claris gariepenus) and 22500 Hetro (Heterobronchus longifiles) were the total number of fishes lost among households between 2012 and 2014.
  5. High volume of fish caught was revealed as positive impact of flooding in the study area.


  1. Community based floods early warning system should be developed. Moreso, children should be educated regarding the risks involved in playing in flood water. This will go a long way in creating awareness and preparedness of the inhabitant of Oleh. Thus, the negative impacts such as loss of human lives, animals, plants and properties would be reduced.
  2. Individuals and non-governmental organizations should provide improved varieties of crops that are highly water-resistant to farmers in the study area. This will help to minimize unnecessary premature harvesting of crops during flooding.
  3. Individuals, corporate bodies and governments should provide adequate funding for disaster management bodies and agencies; this will go a long way in reducing dreadful experience from the study area.

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