The Impact Of Cash Cropping, Farm Technologies, And Deforestation In Nigeria

Project and Seminar Material for Environmental Science

The Impact Of Cash Cropping, Farm Technologies, And Deforestation In Nigeria


The study examines the impact of cash cropping, farm technologies and deforestation in Nigeria. The study formulated two null and alternate hypotheses, to be tested at 0.05 significance in the course of the study. In the second part of the study, the same data was used to simulate the consequences of having the rural poor cash crop their way out of poverty. The researcher focused on the consequences for the total area of forest clearance, for household labor requirements, and for fallow duration. Paying special attention to fallow duration as previous research suggest that increased land scarcity reduces the fallow period (Coomes et al., 2000). Therefore, this study will contribute to the debate on the causes of deforestation in Nigeria.

Chapter One


1.1 Background of the Study

The awareness of the many services provided by tropical forest (Costanza et al. 1997) and the rapid increase in tropical deforestation has put forest at the center stage of the agenda for developers, conservationists, and policy-makers. Researchers have studied many of the factors influencing deforestation, such as the opening of new roads (Chomitz& Gray 1996; Reid 2001), land property right issues (Deacon 1999; Alston et al. 2000; Godoy et al. 2001), the spread of industrial cash cropping (McMorrow&Talip 2001), and slash-and-burn agriculture, cattle ranching, and logging activities (Hecht & Cockburn 1989; Palm et al. 2005).

Climate change is perhaps the most serious environmental threat to the fight against hunger, malnutrition, disease and poverty in Africa, mainly through its impact on agricultural productivity.

Researchers have found that the various factors that cause deforestation are woven together in a complex net of interactions (Angelsen & Kaimowitz 1999). Furthermore, authors find that the causes of deforestation could, in turn, result from deforestation. Because of the complexity of the issue, the variability across sites, and the lack of reliable empirical information, there is little consensus on an overall mechanism to explain deforestation (Kaimowitz & Angelsen 1998). But the lack of empirical information is one of the main drawbacks on research on deforestation. Kaimowitz and Angelsen (1998) reviewed 146 econometric models explaining deforestation and found that 24% were based on simulations and 23% draw on analytical models, i.e. theoretical mathematic equations including no empirical data.

Furthermore, among the 53% of the studies based on empirical data, 38 drew on secondary, national-level data. Only nine of the models reviewed (or 6% of the total) used household-level empirical data. The authors suggest that future studies of the causes of deforestation should focus on either household or regional-level data, because studies without a strong micro-level empirical Cash cropping and deforestation base are of little value: “There is no substitute for careful, quantitative micro-level empirical research, and the volume of such studies is not impressive. Plausible theoretical mechanisms are often found to be of little empirical relevance” (Kaimowitz & Angelsen 1998: p. 99).

First, we use household-level data which, according to Kaimowitz and Angelsen (1998) is of great value and still relatively rare. Second, we document deforestation by indigenous peoples. Indigenous peoples do not account for a large share of deforestation, but this share could grow as indigenous people become more integrated into the market economy (Godoy 2001) or in response to population growth (Picchi 1991). Third, we contribute to the debate on the effects of agricultural technology innovations on Cash cropping and deforestation 5 deforestation. The results of the simulations help formulate recommendations on the type of technologies needed to reconcile development and conservation of tropical forests.

Deforestation is the conversion of forest to an alternative permanent non-forested land use such as agriculture, grazing or urban development (van Kooten and Bulte, 2000). Deforestation is primarily a concern for the developing countries of the tropics (Myers, 1994) as it is shrinking areas of the tropical forests (Barraclough and Ghimire, 2000) causing loss of biodiversity and enhancing the greenhouse effect (Angelsen et al., 1999). FAO considers a plantation of trees established primarily for timber production to be forest and therefore does not classify natural forest conversion to plantation as deforestation (but still records it as a loss of natural forests). However, FAO does not consider tree plantations that provide non-timber products to be forest although they do classify rubber plantations as forest. Forest degradation occurs when the ecosystem functions of the forest are degraded but where the area remains forested rather cleared (Anon., 2010).

As the planet warms, rainfall patterns shift, and extreme events such as droughts, floods, and forest fires become more frequent (Zoellick 2009), which results in poor and unpredictable yields, thereby making farmers more vulnerable, particularly in Africa (UNFCCC, 2007). Farmers (who constitute the bulk of the poor in Africa), face prospects of tragic crop failures, reduced agricultural productivity, increased hunger, malnutrition and diseases (Zoellick 2009). It is projected that crop yield in Africa may fall by 10-20% by 2050 or even up to 50% due to climate change (Jones and Thornton, 2003), particularly because African agriculture is predominantly rain-fed and hence fundamentally dependent on the vagaries of weather. As the people of Africa strive to overcome poverty and advance economic growth, this phenomenon threatens to deepen vulnerabilities, erode hard-won gains and seriously undermine prospects for development (WBGU 2004, Zoellick 2009). There is therefore the need for concerted efforts toward tackling this menace.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

Africa has a higher proportion of people living in poverty than any other region of the world. Across the whole region, rural poverty still accounts for 90 percent of total poverty and approximately 80 percent of the poor still depend on agriculture or farm labour for their livelihood. Of even more concern, the total number of poor people is increasing (Otive, 2006). For instance, the UN human poverty index in 1999 placed Nigeria amongst the 25 poorest nations in the world (United Nations, 2005). Presently, it is estimated that two thirds of the 120 million or 80 million Nigerians are poor (Garba, 2006). Poverty results in shortened lifespan. For instance, given an estimated average global life expectancy of 65.82 years for both sexes, Nigeria’s overall life expectancy at birth is 44.3 years. In other words, Nigerians are about 30% below the average world life expectancy. The severity of poverty in Nigeria’s rural areas is particularly heart-rending. This is further aggravated by the country’s extremely low per capita income of US$1,158 – based on 2007 estimates; that is, approximately US$3.00 per day (Oluba, 2010).

Presently, there are no reasons to suggest any positive change regarding the above information, especially in Nigeria. On the contrary, poverty in Nigeria has continued to increase.

The foregoing is expected to have dire consequences for the farmers’ capacity to adapt to climate change. Deressa (2008) reports that most of the problems (or constraints) encountered by farmers in adaptation to climate change are associated with poverty. This is because poor and hungry farmers would naturally divert their limited farm income towards the basic necessities like feeding and medication rather than ploughing them into climate change adaptation measures.

1.3 Objectives of the Study

The main aim of this study is to examine the impact of cash cropping, farm technologies and deforestation in Nigeria. The researcher intend to outline the following sub objectives in the course of the study;

  1. To examine how agricultural policies can influence needs when properly conducted.
  2. To address the farming conditions affecting farmers in Nigeria during climate change.
  3. To examine the impact of agricultural development programmes on environmental conservation.
  4. To proffer solutions and strategies to be adopted in overcoming agricultural production constraints.

1.4 Research Hypotheses

  1. H0: agricultural policies has no significant impact on agricultural production in Nigeria.
    H1: agricultural policies has significant impact on agricultural production in Nigeria.
  2. H0: there is no significant impact of agricultural development programmes on environmental conservation
    H2: there is a significant impact of agricultural development programmes on environmental conservation

1.5 Significance of the Study

The effect of the current farming practices adopted by farmers on the environment in the study area would provide an empirical guide for the identification of any gaps that may exist in the current farming practices employed and the interventions required towards more sustainable food production. Policy makers, thus, stand to benefit from this work, as it will provide them with sufficient information to articulate sound and relevant policies to the eradication of the twin problem of poverty and hunger among rural farmers in Nigeria. The findings of this study will act as feedback to researchers to know the actual type of land tenure and land use practices that add more value to theregion and friendly to the environment, thereby prompting for more research into land tenure, food security and environmental degradation. The extension workers in agriculture stand a better chance to advise farmers on land use practices that are more efficient in food production, sustain land use and those that will degrade the environment after being equipped with the results of this study. It is believed that, this study has provided information to all concerned in agricultural development in Nigeria, so that they can make informed decisions.

1.6 Scope and Limitation of the Study

The study of this nature tends to be so broad that the researcher couldn’t just center on a particular region, as the context of cash cropping, deforestation and climate change is such that will be of immense benefit to the entire nation. In the course of the study, the researcher encounters some constrain which limited the scope of the study;

Time Factor:

The time allocated to the researcher during the period of the study was limited coupled with lectures and exams.

Financial Constraint:

The finance at the disposal of the researcher during the course of the study wasn’t sufficient enough to run the expenses of the research work.

1.7 Definition of Terms


Impact is defined as the action of one object coming forcibly into contact with another or a marked effect or influence.

Cash Crop:

A cash crop is an agricultural crop which is grown for sale to return a profit. It is typically purchased by parties separate from a farm. The term is used to differentiate marketed crops from subsistence crops, which are those fed to the producer’s own livestock or grown as food for the producer’s family. In earlier times cash crops were usually only a small (but vital) part of a farm’s total yield, while today, especially in developed countries, almost all crops are mainly grown for revenue. In the least developed countries, cash crops are usually crops which attract demand in more developed nations, and hence have some export value.

Agricultural Machinery:

Agricultural machinery is machinery used in farming or other agriculture. There are many types of such equipment, from hand tools and power tools to tractors and the countless kinds of farm implements that they tow or operate. Diverse arrays of equipment are used in both organic and nonorganic farming. Especially since the advent of mechanized agriculture, agricultural machinery is an indispensable part of how the world is fed.


Deforestation, clearance or clearing is the removal of a forest or stand of trees where the land is thereafter converted to a non-forest use. Examples of deforestation include conversion of forestland to farms, ranches, or urban use. The most concentrated deforestation occurs in tropical rainforests.

Climate Change:

Climate change is a change in the statistical distribution of weather patterns when that change lasts for an extended period of time (i.e., decades to millions of years). Climate change may refer to a change in average weather conditions, or in the time variation of weather within the context of longer-term average conditions. Climate change is caused by factors such as biotic processes, variations in solar radiation received by Earth, plate tectonics, and volcanic eruptions. Certain human activities have been identified as primary causes of ongoing climate change, often referred to as global warming.

1.8 Organization of the Study

This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows

  1. Chapter one is concern with the introduction, which consist of the (overview, of the study), statement of problem, objectives of the study, research question, significance or the study, research methodology, definition of terms and historical background of the study.
  2. Chapter two highlight the theoretical framework on which the study is based, thus the review of related literature.
  3. Chapter three deals on the research design and methodology adopted in the study.
  4. Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding.
  5. Chapter five gives summary, conclusion, and recommendations made of the study.

Chapter Five

Summary Conclusion and Recommendation

5.1 Introduction

It is pertinent to note that this research was to examine the impact of cash cropping, farm technologies and deforestation in Nigeria, thus the topic, “the impact of cash cropping,farm technologies and deforestation in Nigeria”.

In the preceding chapter, the relevant data collected for this study were presented, critically analyzed and appropriate interpretation given. In this chapter, certain recommendations made which in the opinion of the researcher will be of benefits in addressing the challenges associated with climate change and deforestation in Nigeria.

5.2 Summary

The Northern Nigeria faces a range of deep economic and environmental issues which limit development, but solutions to many of them will be suggested in recommendations from the researcher. Northern Nigeriahas long been marginalized within the country and now that increased focus is being given to improving agricultural practices, market development and economic diversification, the region seems well-placed to make strong progress over coming years. If deforestation issues are addressed along economic ones. Deforestation is a particularly big threat to the north, and although mainstreaming of climate activities seemed to be universal, based on one on one interviews, there is a diversity of practices and intensity of engagement on deforestation throughout programming which needs to be overcome if farmers are to systematically implement mitigation and adaptation practices and if opportunities in the wider non-farm economy for emissions reductions and resource efficiency are to be achieved.
Therefore the research summarize from the hypotheses of this study that; agricultural policies has a significant impact on agricultural production in Nigeria. That there is a significant impact of agricultural development programmes on environmental conservation.

5.3 Conclusion

The study concludes that Nigerian efforts towards agricultural development the past three decades have failed to improve the country’s economy. A review of the sector depicts a gloomy picture. Performance is reflected in environmental degradation, mounting food deficits, and decline in both gross domestic product and export earnings, while retail food prices and import bills have been increasing. These effects have further impoverished the smallholder farmers, locking them into a poverty web.

Though the increase is so far modest, the fact that cash cropping has a significant effect on the clearing of oldgrowth forest, available only in distant villages in the north, suggests that cash cropping rice is expanding to remote areas of the tropical forest. The high demand for rice in the local market and the importance of rice in household’s economy suggests that rice is likely to fuel more deforestation in coming years. No association between the level of deforestation and having all-year road access to the villages was found. A weak correlation between the walking time to the nearest market and the amount ofdeforestation was discovered. In fact, certain villages do have all year long road access by vehicle, but cannot rely on a regular transportation service on these roads to sell rice. The researcher’s simulations shows that if people try to exit poverty by intensifying cash cropping the environment and the household’s time allocation are likely to suffer.

5.4 Recommendations

Based on the findings of this study, the researcher suggest that;

  1. The Government must seek to establish agricultural strategies which promote political stability, self-reliance, public participation, sustained production and environmental security.
  2. The large labor demand of rice cultivation would boost the use of the locally available farm technologies to reduce labor, namely chainsaw and herbicides. The use of chemicals in farming have risks for users and for the environment, but they seems unavoidable. Extension work is needed to help farmers use those technologies in appropriate ways.
  3. Herbicides and chain saws are labor-saving technologies but they do not increase the productivity of rice. Agriculture research and extension in the area are needed to increase the productivity of rice. An area of research is to find a sustainable way of intensifying the production of cash crops on the same land. Nitrogen being the most limiting edaphic factor for crop production (Sinclair and Vadez 2002), the use of legumes that fix nitrogen might provide a sustainable way of increasing agriculturalproduction. Work is needed to find and introduce such legumes, as they need to be marketable, and adopted by the population.

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