Awareness and effects of climate change on cocoa production in Ondo State, Nigeria
According to estimates, the contribution of cocoa, which is the Nigeria’s highest foreign exchange earner among all agricultural commodities, has dropped from 308,000 tonnes in the 70’s to an average of 215,000 tonnes in recent years. This, according to reports, resulted from climate failure, among other factors. In the light of this, this study examined awareness and effects of climate change on cocoa production in Ondo State, the Nigeria’s leading cocoa producing state. Specifically, the study decribed socio-‐economic characteristics of cocoa farmers in the study area, investigated the awareness and perceived effects of climate change on cocoa production by the farmers and identified the adaptation strategies practised by the farmers. Primary data obtained through a combination of purposive and random sampling techniques of 120 farming households from the six Local Government Areas noted for cocoa production in the state were used for the study. Descriptive statistics involving frequency distribution tables, mean, mode and percentages were used for the analysis. The results revealed that 80.8% of the respondents were aware of climate change. The general effects of climate change experienced by the farmers were excessive rainfall (23.3%), less rainfall (12.5%), irregular rainfall pattern (59.2%), delayed onset of rainfall (5.0%), high temperature (37.5%), drought (5.0%) and variation in sunshine hours (28.3%). The visible effects of climate failure on the farmer cocoa production were pest attack (35.8%), disease attack (44.2%), late ripening of cocoa pod (20.8%), reduced weight of cocoa bean (53.3%) and contaminated cocoa bean (45.0%). This is unfavourable to farmers and the Nigerian economy in general. Therefore, this study calls for dissemination of timely information on sound adaptation strategies to effects of climate change by agricultural development agencies and provision of training by relevant stakeholders to improve the technical knowledge and skills of the farmers on measures to mitigate effects of climate change on cocoa production.