Strategies For Involving Rural Farmers In Agricultural Biodiversity Conservation In Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria

Project and Seminar Material for Agricultural Engineering AE

Strategies For Involving Rural Farmers In Agricultural Biodiversity Conservation In Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria


Abstract


Akwa Ibom States is located in the rainforest belt of Nigeria known for preponderance of agricultural biodiversity. Agricultural biodiversity or agrobiodiversity is succinctly referred, is the diversity of agrogenetic resources used directly for food and agriculture; the diversity of species that support production and the diversity of species that support agroecosystem, as well as diversity agroecosystems themselves. It performs many closely interrelated socioeconomic and environmental functions, including promoting food and livelihood security, maintaining productive and environmental sustainability; and contributing to resilient rural economics. Because of these enormous potentials, and farmers have been making frantic efforts at conserving this vital resource. However, despite these efforts, agrobiodiversity is being lost at an alarming rate.

This study was designed to determine the measures for enhancing the involvement of rural farmers in agricultural biodiversity conservation In Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria A research question and one related null hypothesis were formulated to guide the study. A total of 858 respondents comprising rural farmers, agricultural extension officers, forestry officers, professional conservators and staff of conservation based NGOs were involved in the study. The data were obtained through a structured questionnaire.

The data were analyzed with mean, and analysis of variance (ANOVA). The findings of the study revealed that some of the key measures for involving rural farmers in agricultural biodiversity conservation In Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria include the application of incentive system in the management of agricultural resources, non-imposition of fines on agro based produce/products and the provision of adequate marketing outlets in the rural areas for agro-based produce among others. Finally, it was concluded that to enhance agrobiodiversity conservation, programmes of agrobiodiversity conservation in the state should involve the rural communities who are the major actors in the development of agroresources and its conservation principles.


Chapter One


Introduction

1.1 Background To Study

The conservation of biodiversity is one aspect of environment, which has recently received global attention. Biodiversity refers to the variety and variability among living organisms and the ecological complexes in which they occur (Board on Science and Technology for International Development (BOSTID), 2002. It is a term used to describe the degree of nature’s variety including both the number and frequency of ecosystems, species or genes in a given assemblage. It is essentially synonymous with life on the earth. It is usually Journal of Agriculture and Veterinary Sciences Volume 2, December 2010 considered at three different levels: genetic diversity, specie diversity and ecosystem diversity. Genetic diversity is the sum total of genetic characteristics of individual plants, animals and other living organisms inhabiting the earth. Such characteristics may include rapid growth, high yields, diseases and pests resistance, and environmental adaptation.

Specie diversity refers to the variety of living organisms on earth, while ecosystem diversity refers to the variety of habitats, biotic communities and ecological processes in the biosphere as well as the tremendous diversity within ecosystems in terms of habitat differences and the variety of ecological processes.

The concept of agricultural biodiversity or agrobiodiversity as it is sometimes referred could be identified within a macro concept of biodiversity. Agricultural biodiversity is restricted to plants and animals used in commerce or having potential use (Srivastava, Smith and Ferno, 2001). It is the diversity of genetic resources (varieties, breeds, species, cultivated, reared or wild) used directly for food and agriculture; the diversity of species that support production (soil biota, pollinators, predators, etc.) and those in the wider environment that support agroecosystems (agricultural, pastoral. forest and aquatic), as well as the diversity of agroecosystems themselves (Food and Agriculture Organization, 2008) .Agroecosystems are those ecosystems that are used for agriculture, and comprise polycultures, monocultures and mixed systems including crop-livestock systems (rice-fish), agroforestry agrosilvo pastoral systems, aquaculture as well as rangelands, pastures and fallow lands (Pimbert, 2009).


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