Farm households’ levels of vulnerability to extreme weather events in South-Eastern Nigeria

  • J.N. Obi
  • A.A. Enete
  • J.O. Munonye
Keywords: Nigeria Climate change, Adaptive capacity, Gender, Vulnerability, Farm households.


The impacts of climate change risks, risk management mechanisms and the physical environment under which farm households operate play significant roles in poverty and hidden hunger dynamics in developing countries. Extreme weather events are most often triggers of changes in risk management, which also affect the capacity of households to absorb the resultant shocks. This paper based on primary data collected as part of a PhD dissertation in the Department of Agricultural Economics, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, presents an analysis of farm households’ levels of vulnerability to extreme weather events in South-eastern Nigeria. A multistage sampling procedure was used in the selection of 120 male- and 120 female-headed farm households that constituted the sample for the study. Both structured interview schedule and focus group discussion guide were used to gather data from the respondents, which were analyzed using UNDP vulnerability index. Using household adaptive capacity approach, data were collected on human, economic and institutional capacity of farmers in coping with extreme weather events. Female-headed households were more vulnerable than their male-headed counterparts to the effect of extreme weather events with respect to some of the indicators such as farming income, years of formal education, farm size, land ownership status, number of extension contacts, access to weather information, access to remittance, membership of cooperative and assistance from National Emergency Management Agency in the area. Overall, using household adaptive capacity approach, the results of the gender- based vulnerability analysis showed male-headed farming households with a vulnerability index of 0.38 while the female-headed farming households, on the other hand, had vulnerability index of 0.68.
Although female-headed farm households were more vulnerable than their male counterparts, the farmers were all generally highly vulnerable to the incidence of natural disasters because of low adaptive capacity. The study recommends that government and development partners with the responsibility of protecting the environment should be gender sensitive and redirect more effort in mitigating the negative agricultural effects caused by extreme weather events, especially among female-headed farm households who are more vulnerable.


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1684-5374
print ISSN: 1684-5358