Assessment Of Rice Farming Household’s Vulnerability To Climate Change In Ekiti State Nigeria

Project and Seminar Material for Agricultural and Bio-Environmental Engineering

Assessment Of Rice Farming Household’s Vulnerability To Climate Change In Ekiti State Nigeria


Climate change is a major environmental threat to the African continent, particularly in the drier regions. There are several studies conducted at regional and national level but a continuous understanding of the knowledge and impact at a local level is required for appropriate interventions. This study therefore seeks to examine farmers‘ perception to climate change, the adaptation strategies employed and their vulnerability to climate change in Ijero LGA of Ekiti State. Samples were drawn from all the 10 wards in the study area and 382copies of questionnaire were purposively administered to households and farmers. The result indicated that majority (91.6%) of the respondents are aware of climate change. Respondents view climate change as a change in weather, mainly in terms of increase in temperature and incessant rainfall. The vulnerability index of the respondents in the study area is 0.42 which reflects a moderate vulnerability. The study concluded that, hindrances to coping with the adopted strategies included inadequate amounts of improved seeds, inadequate funds to acquire new techniques such as irrigation techniques and improved seed varieties, inadequate information on weather incidence, insufficient knowledge on global current adaptation methods and inadequate water for irrigation. This study recommends that, raising awareness and knowledge about early warning of climate change through mass media, improving extension services which would help farmers understand the major impact of climate change and providing programmes that support female farmers. The combination of these would provide global best practice adaptation measures to withstand the effects of climate change, thus making farmers less vulnerable.

Table of Content

Chapter One:


  • 1.1 Background to the Study
  • 1.3 Purpose of the Study
  • 1.4 Aim and Objectives of the Study
  • 1.5 Research Questions
  • 1.6 Justification of the Study
  • 1.7 Scope and Limitations of the Study
  • 1.8 Definition of Terms
  • 1.9 Organization of the Study.

Chapter Two:

Review of Related Literature

  • 2.1 Conceptual Review
  • 2.2 Theoretical Review
  • 2.3 Empirical Review

Chapter Three:

Research Methodology

  • 3.1 Introduction
  • 3.2 Study Area
  • 3.2.1 Location and Size
  • 3.2.2 Climate
  • 3.2.3 Relief and Drainage
  • 3.3. Reconnaissance Survey
  • 3.4 Types of Data Collected
  • 3.5 Sources of Data
  • 3.6 Sampling Technique and Sample Size
  • 3.7 Techniques of Data Analysis
  • 3.8 Instrumentation
  • 3.9 Reliability of the Study
  • 3.10 Validity of the Study
  • 3.11 Method of Data Collection
  • 3.12 Ethical Consideration

Chapter Four:

Data Analysis and Result Presentation

  • 4.1 Introduction
  • 4.2 Socioeconomic and Household Characteristics of Respondents
  • 4.3 Rice Farmers Awareness of Climate Change
  • 4.5 Adaptation Strategies to Climate Change
  • 4.6 Vulnerability Assessment

Chapter Five:

Summary, Conclusion and Recommendations

  • 5.1 Introduction
  • 5.2 Summary
  • 5.3 Conclusion
  • 5.4 Recommendations
  • 5.5 Contribution To Knowledge
  • References
  • Appendix

Chapter One


1.1 Background to the Study

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) (2007), views climate change as statistically significant variation in either mean state of the climate or in its variability, persisting for an extended period (typically decades or longer). Climate change maybe due to natural processes, external forces or to persistent anthropogenic changes in the composition of the atmosphere or in land-use. There have been growing awareness that the earth‘s climate is changing at an alarming rate and the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) affirms that climate change is no longer in doubt but is now unequivocally apparent based on evidence from scientific observations of increases in global average air and ocean temperatures (IPCC, 2007). Although extreme violent weather has occurred throughout history, recent upsurge in climate related hazards is confirming the argument for global warming and climate change (McGuire, Macon and Kilburn, 2002; Odjugo and Ikhuoria, 2003; Nwafor, 2006).

The evolving climate change coupled with increasing temperature has been observed to plunge some localities into experiencing extreme weather conditions (Olaniran, 2002; Ayoade, 2003; Odjugo, 2005). The on-going climate change and its associated global warming are expected to cause distinctive climate patterns in different climatic zones, which will impact negatively on the ecosystem (Mshelia, 2005; Hengeveld, Whitewood, and Fergusson, 2005; Ayuba, Maryah, and Gwary, 2007). That is why Ojo (1991) and Clerk (2002) advised that weather and climate should not be taken for granted in the pursuit of technological development, exploration and processing of environmental resources. The impact of climate change is felt worldwide, but the effects are more varied in countries based on certain underlying factors. In the Nigerian context, the severe impact of climate change is felt majorly by people whose livelihoods are more intertwined with nature such as farmers, livestock readers, biomass users among others.
Climate plays an important role in the living and livelihood of man. Hence, changes are perceived by humans based on peculiarity of effects and local level variation. Consequently, different communities perceive climate change differently and this should be taken into account for national and regional policy initiatives to either combat or cope with climate change impacts. Hence, the focus of this study is on the perception of farmers.

In the context of climate change, adaptability is often referred to as ―adaptive capacity,‖ defined as, ―the ability of a system to adjust to climate change (including climate variability and extremes) to moderate potential damages, to take advantage of opportunities, or to cope with the consequences‖ (McCarthy, Canziani, Leary, Dokken, and White, 2001: p. 21). Scenario based climate change impact assessments increasingly make assumptions about adaptations and invariably treat them as mostly technical adjustments (for example, changing to different crops, adopting efficient irrigation systems, or altering production systems) to the impacts identified.

Coping strategies are those that have evolved over time through farmers‘ long experience in dealing with the current known and understood natural variation in weather that they expect both within and between seasons, whereas adaptation strategies are longer-term (beyond a single rainfall season) strategies that would be needed to respond to a new set of evolving climatic conditions that they have not previously experienced. Adaptations to climate change are not just discrete technical measures, but are modifications to farm practices with respect to multiple (climatic and non-climatic) stimuli and conditions. Climate change adaptation refers to adjustments in management strategies to actual or expected climatic conditions or their effects, in order to reduce risks or realize opportunities (Smit, Burton, Klein, and Wandel, 2000). Adaptations usually take different forms, can occur at different scales, and can be undertaken by different agents of a community (e.g farmers, middlemen, large scale organizations, and governments). There is thus a need to continuously assess coping and adaptation ability of farmers, who are stakeholders in the climate change issues toward evolving avenues of mitigating undesirable impacts. This study is a contribution to that process using Ijero local government area of Ekiti state as the locale of investigation.

1.2 Statement of the Research Problem

Available evidences show that climate change is global, likewise its impacts, but the biting effects will be felt more by the developing countries especially those in Africa due to their low level of coping capabilities (Mshelia, 2005; Nwafor, 2007; Jagtap, 2007). Africa is one of the most vulnerable regions to climate change in the world. Previous assessments (Hulme, 1996; IPCC, 1998;) concluded that Africa is particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change because of factors such as widespread poverty, recurrent droughts, inequitable land distribution and over dependence on rain-fed agriculture.

Nigeria is one of such developing countries and researchers have shown that Nigeria is already being plagued with diverse ecological problems, which have been directly linked to the on-going climate change (Adebayo, 1997; Odjugo and Ikhuoria, 2003; NEST, 2003; Chindu and Nyelong, 2005; Odjugo, 2005; Adefolalu, 2007; Ikhile, 2007). These studies focused more on climatic impacts.

The unimpeded increase in greenhouse gas emissions is raising the earth‘s temperature. The consequences include melting glaciers, more precipitation, more and more extreme weather events, and shifting seasons. The accelerating pace of climate change, combined with increase in global population, threaten food security everywhere.

Populations in the developing world, which are already vulnerable and food insecure, are likely to be the most seriously affected. In 2005, nearly half of the economically active population in developing countries 2.5 billion people relied on agriculture for its livelihood.

According to Regmi and Adhikari (2007), climate change is recognized as a threat to communities which depend more on natural resources such as soil, water and biodiversity. As it is, Nigeria remains vulnerable to the economic, ecological and social impacts of climate change since this phenomenon adversely affects various climate-sensitive sectors such as agriculture and water resources. Agriculture remains the backbone of the Nigerian economy providing livelihoods for over 80% of the population, and owing to dependence on nature the livelihood security of farmers should be in consideration. Also, water resources are linked to livelihoods and development through drought and flood disasters. Dinar, Hassan, Kurukulasuriya, Benhin, and Mendelsohn (2006), opined that, many African countries, which have their economies largely based on weather-sensitive agricultural productions systems like Nigeria, are particularly vulnerable to climate change. And this vulnerability has been demonstrated by the devastating effects of recent flooding in the northern and Niger Delta regions of the country and the various prolonged droughts that are currently witnessed in some parts of northern region. Thus, for many poor countries like Nigeria that are highly vulnerable to effects of climate change, understanding farmers‘responses to climatic variation is crucial.

According to Mertz, Mbow, Reenberg, &Diouf, (2009), the study of coping and adaptive resource management strategies is not new, particularly in the drier regions of West Africa, where a poor and vulnerable population has always dealt with a highly fluctuating natural environment. There are diverging opinions on how well rural populations are dealing with their environmental and economic conditions. Recent studies observed that people in dry land are the most ecologically, socially, and politically marginalized groups lagging behind in most economic and health indices and that climate change will be yet another stress factor in a vulnerable system. Moreover, it is argued that the value of local knowledge in climate change studies has received little attention. Using agent-based modelling in a vegetable garden system of South Africa, Bharwani, Bithell, Downing, New, Washington, and Ziervogel, (2005) showed that wealthier households benefit more than the poor from weather forecasts and that, subsistence farmers are the most vulnerable to short-lived droughts even if average rains are good.

Previous studies on the impact of climate change (particularly rainfall and temperature) and climate related adaptation measures on crop yield are not all encompassing. Long term adaptation was observed in Burkina Faso and Niger, where shifts in farming location between sandy dunes and more clayey pedi-plains and piedmonts were related to precipitation patterns (Reenberg, 1994; Reenberg, Nielsen, and Rasmussen, 1998), whereas short term adaptation coping with the 1997 drought in Burkina Faso caused farm households to implement a range of food saving strategies, encourage migration, sell livestock, and even resorting to borrowing and mortgaging of the following year‘s crops (Roncoli, Ingram, &Kirshen, 2001). In this case, the ramifications of one year‘s drought were felt in the following year in terms of lacking seed and labour for cultivation and it sparked interest in drought resistant varieties, but longer term adaptation measures were not assessed (Roncoliet al., 2001). In Nigeria, Nabegu (2010) observed that climate change induced geomorphological hazards in Kano and Udeh (2022) assessed farmers‘ perception and adaptation strategies to climate change in Kano. Also, Abaje, Sawa and Ati (2022) observed climate variability and change, impacts and adaptation strategies in Dutsin-Ma local government area of Katsina State.

From the array of literature available and accessible to the researcher, e.g. (Reenberg, 1994; Reenberget al., 1998; Roncoliet al., 2001; Nabegu, 2010; Udeh, 2022; Abajeet al., 2022) no study has been conducted on rice farmers‘ adaptation to climate change in Ijero local government area (LGA). This leaves a gap to be filled because Ijero LGA is one of the areas in the northern part of Ekiti with a peculiar dry environment and about 80% of the population are rural farmers expected to be most vulnerable to climate change. Consequently, attempt is being made in this study to investigate both long term and short term adaptation strategies being used by farmers towards contributing to knowledge and policy on future adaptation strategies in Ijero LGA and similar areas.

1.3 Purpose of the Study

The Purpose of the study is to assess of rice farming household’s vulnerability to climate change in Ekiti State Nigeria

1.4 Aim and Objectives of the Study

The aim of this study is to analyse the perception and adaptation strategies of farmers to climate change in Ijero Local Government Area of Ekiti State and the objectives are to:

  1. Determine the socio-economic characteristics of households in Ijero LGA.
  2. Examine the level of awareness of climate change amongst farmers.
  3. Examine farmers‘ perception of climate change in the Ijero LGA.
  4. Characterise the adaptation measures of households to climate change impact.
  5. Analyse the vulnerability of households to the impact of climate change.

1.5 Research Questions

Based on the identified research gap, this study attempts to address the following questions:

  1. What are the socio-economic characteristics of households in Ijero LGA?
  2. What is the level of awareness of climate change of farmers?
  3. How do farmers perceive climate change in Ijero LGA?
  4. What have been the adaptation measures to this change?
  5. How vulnerable are different households to climate change impacts?

1.6 Justification of the Study

Agricultural adaptation to climate risks is a relatively new field of inquiry (Wall and Smith, 2005). According to Nelson et al., (2009), climate change will cause yield declines for the most important crops in developing countries. Climate change will have varying effects on irrigated yields across regions of the world. Climate change will result in additional price increases for the most important agricultural crops such as rice, wheat, maize, and soybeans.
Indigenous knowledge arises out of continuous experimentation, innovation and adaptation, blending many knowledge systems to solve local problems (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, (UNFCCC) 2006). Without a comprehensive understanding of micro-scale indigenous practice evolving macro scale policy interventions would be elusive.

Climate change is a global phenomenon while adaptation is largely site-specific. A common disadvantage for local coping strategies is that they are often not documented, but rather handed down through oral history and local expertise. As site-specific issues require site specific knowledge, experience has shown that identified adaptation measures do not necessarily translate into changes because there are context-specific social, financial, cultural, psychological and physiological barriers to adaptation (IPCC, 2007). It is very important to clearly understand what is happening at community level, because farmers are the most climate change vulnerable group.

Riebsame (1988) observed, measuring individuals‘ perceptions and activities can provide insights into how people see and adjust to climate change and variability, and such user information is relevant when communicating results of climate impact studies and projections of future climate changes to users. Earlier studies have shown that crop yields are very sensitive to rainfall in Western Nigeria due to the erratic nature of rainfall amounts and distribution (Kowal and Kanabe, 1972; Peacock and Heinrich, 1984; Ekpoh, 1999b). Farmers are also increasingly aware of climate change and their particular vulnerability to irregular rainfall. Smallholder farmers in Western Nigeria are highly vulnerable to climate change. Many are developing coping strategies independently. However, there remains a need to provide opportunities for sharing successful adaptation strategies with other farmers and to combine this with research to lessen the impact of climate change on their livelihoods.

1.7 Scope and Limitations of the Study

The spatial scope of this study is the ten wards in Ijero Local Government Area of Ekiti State. The scope of the study in terms of content is to assess farmers’ perception and adaptation strategies to climate change in Ijero LGA. The targeted populations are the farming community members in Ijero Local Government Area of Ekiti State.

The temporal scope of the research is based on a growing season in the study area and number of years the respondents who constituted the sample population indicated a change in climatic conditions during their farming activities as included on the questionnaire. The major research variables include climate change and farming activities.

1.8 Definition of Terms

Climate Change a change in global or regional climate patterns, in particular a change apparent from the mid to late 20th century onwards and attributed largely to the increased levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide produced by the use of fossil fuels.

Vulnerability the quality or state of being exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, either physically or emotionally.

Rice Farming the cultivation of rice by planting on dry land, transferring the seedlings to a flooded field, and draining the field before harvesting.

Farmer a person who owns or manages a farm.

1.9 Organization of the Study

This study is divided into five chapters.

  • Chapter one is introduction which consists of the background to the study, statement of problem, research questions, research hypotheses, objectives of the study, the significance of the study, the scope and limitations of the study and finally the organization of the study.
  • Chapter two deals with the literature review which consists of the conceptual literature, theoretical literature, empirical literature, theoretical framework.
  • Chapter three gives the research methodology including research design, population of study, sample size, sampling technique, method of data collection, instrument of data analysis, method of data analysis, validity/reliability of instrument.
  • Chapter four is presentation and analysis of data, discussion of findings.
  • Chapter five gives the summary, conclusion and recommendations.

Chapter Five

Summary, Conclusion and Recommendations

5.1 Introduction

This chapter presents the summary of this study, conclusions derived from the findings and recommendations based on farmers’ vulnerability and adaptation strategies to climate change in Ijero LGA of Ekiti State, Nigeria.

5.2 Summary

The study provides insight on the vulnerability and adaptation strategies to climate change in Ijero LGA of Ekiti State. This study was achieved through set of objectives which are to examine vulnerability of climate change in the study area, examine vulnerability and characterize the coping measure of households to climate change. A total of ten wards in LGA were sampled and well structured questionnaire were used on 382 respondents while purposive sampling method was used to administered questionnaire.

The study revealed that 92% of farmers are aware of climate change, 75% claimed to understand the meaning of climate change. From the study, it was observed that there has been increase in the incidence of drought during rainy season (66%), increase in pest crop infestation and disease as a result of climate change (61%) and there has been increase in the total amount of rainfall (75%). Also, in the study area there has been rise in temperature (60%) and rainfall is now coming early in the recent years (54%) which are evidences of climate change.

The study also showed that respondents with access to climate change information and extension services are likely to perceive changes in the climate of the area because extension services provide information about weather and climate. Inadequate access to information on weather incidence (73.8%), inadequate improved seed varieties (64%), lack of water for irrigation (58.2%) and no access to loan (75.8%) are hindrances farmers experience adapting to climate change. On the vulnerability assessment of respondents to the impact of climate change in the study area is moderate (0.42) vulnerability index. Ipoti ward is the least vulnerable amongst the 10 wards of the LGA while women with an index of 0.42 are more vulnerable than men (0.3).

The study confirms that the main adaptation strategies of farmers in Ijero include planting of varieties of crops (maize, millet, sorghum, cowpea) (83.6%), mulching of crops to reduce water loss (67.7%), increase in the use of organic manure (68.6%) and rearing of heat tolerant livestock (54.2%). It also includes planting of disease resistant and tolerant crops (62.3%), planting of drought tolerant crops (58.5%), planting of flood resistant and tolerant crops (50.1%), migration (58.8%) and agriculture insurance of enterprise and planting of resistant and tolerant crops (56.5%). The study also showed the change in the type of crops cultivated by respondents in order of preference because some noticeable change in climatic condition.

5.3 Conclusion

Based on the objectives of this study it was concluded that, farmers observed elements of climate change in the study area. Respondents refer to the change in climate currently experienced as, ―bad‖ compared to what was experienced 15 years ago or more in the study area. This finding is similar to the Kenyan study conducted by Ogallehet al., (2012). Also respondents have observed increased temperature, incessant rainfall, dry spells during rainy season etc.

Vulnerability impact assessment conducted reveals that farmers are moderately vulnerable to the impact of climate change. Female respondents are more vulnerable than their male counterparts. Given that the study area is a rural area and level of development is low, which makes the community quite vulnerable to the impact of climate change.
Various adaptive measures are being employed by the farmers. These include planting of drought tolerant crops, mulching of crops to reduce water loss, increase in the use of organic manure and planting of different varieties of crops amongst others.

The problems of climate change are already evident. Therefore, all should be done to properly address this issue for self-sufficiency in food production and for export, thereby enhancing virile economy.

5.4 Recommendations

Following the findings and conclusions made from the study, the following recommendations are made:

  1. More emphasis on dissemination of climate change issues through the mass media is highly needed. Government should broadcast programmes to enlighten farmers on adaptation strategies to reduce factors that aggravate climate change and as well as showcase successful adaptation techniques adopted elsewhere that have local relevance.
  2. Also there is need for extension agents, policy makers and researchers to try and get farmers to effectively adapt to climate change. This can be achieved by providing free extension advice; information on early warning signals and improved farmer education to create proper awareness on climate change and effective adaptation processes that can be employed by farmers.
  3. There is need for Ijero local government council to partner with multilateral and international agencies to build capacities of farmers in relevant areas so as to strengthen the farmers‘ ability to develop and implement adaptation strategies and plans that would reduce her vulnerability to the impacts of climate change. Some of these areas include, providing financial resources which will increase their ability to adopt crop, water and soil management strategies in response to climate change.
  4. Also there is a need for international agencies, researchers and extension agents to provide programmes such as female cooperative groups that support female farmers from being extremely vulnerable to climate change. By so doing, it will go a long way in improving the standard of living of households in the Ijero LGA.

5.5 Contribution to Knowledge

The primary aim of the researcher in this study is to examine the perception and adaptation of farmers to climate change in Ijero LGA and to characterize their vulnerability. So far no study of this kind has been conducted in the study area.

In this study, the researcher has discovered that over 90% of farmers in Ijero LGA are aware that climate is changing and respondents perceive the change in climate to have worsened as compared to the climate of 15 years ago or more in the study area. Farmers use combinations of two or more adaptation methods to counter the effects of climate change. As a result of this, households in the community have a vulnerability index of 0.42s, with females being more vulnerable than their male counterparts.

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