Climate Change and Crop Vulnerability in Nigeria
In Nigeria, food insecurity remains problematic due to dislocations in the agricultural productivity pathways. Food preferences and utilization patterns are skewed in favor of crop-based staples, which availability in quantity and quality, depend on the aggregate crop output. Unfavorable environmental conditions such as caused by climate change would create some level of vulnerability of the crops and thus have implication on food security. Two components of the Agricultural Value Chain, production and storage, appear to be most responsive to changes in environments with production being the most vulnerable since all the activities involved in the process of production occur in the fields and are weather -dependent. Climate change – directed irregularities or deviation from the normal seasonal patterns such as onset and duration of wet and dry periods, short and prolonged dry spells clearly manifest in various levels of crop vulnerability. It would therefore appear that a sustainable crop-based agricultural system can only be achieved where crop vulnerability is considerably minimized. If climate change effects can be incorporated in the design and implementation of national development programs right away, it will help to reduce vulnerability, stabilize food production and better secure livelihoods. The ecosystem approach with crop rotations, bioorganic fertilizers (e.g., from legumes) and biological pest controls, improves soil health and water retention, increases fertile top soil, reduces soil erosion and maintains productivity over the long term.
Key words: vulnerability, climate change, crop productivity.