Farmers’ Perception of the Effects of Climate Change and Coping Strategies in Three Agro-Ecological Zones of Nigeria
The study assessed farmers perception of the effects of climate change and coping strategies in three agro-ecological zones of Nigeria. Three agro-ecological zones namely Middle-Belt, North-Central and North–East were purposively selected and one LGA where NAERLS extension model village is located was purposively selected from each of the 3 agro-ecological zones. One village was randomly selected in addition to the NAERLS model village. Twenty five farmers were randomly selected from each village. One hundred and fifty (150) validated structured questionnaires were used to elicit information from respondents. Data were analysed using both descriptive and inferential statistics. Farmers were fully aware of the effect of climate change and possible coping strategies such as the need for agricultural insurance, planting of drought and flood tolerant varieties and reduction of water loss through practices such as mulching and rearing of heat tolerant livestock. General perception was that climate change increases the rate of sickness/infection, reduces family income and that frequency of flood and that drought has increased. Chi-square analysis indicated a positive and significant relationship between perception of climate change and agro-ecology (X2 =23.52; p<0.05), age(X2 =5.98; p<0.05), educational level(X2 =6.47; p<0.05), coping strategy(X2 =23.29; p<0.05) and communities(X2 =37.36; p<0.05). It was recommended that efforts should be geared towards developing and making available crop varieties and livestock breeds that are tolerant to adverse conditions associated to climate change such as diseases, flood, drought and temperature. A multi-media enlightenment campaign of the effects and possible coping strategies of climate change should be adopted by all tiers of government and NGOs to reach the farmers using available extension structure on ground. Also, farming communities can run local disaster risk committees to encourage local adaptation measures as survival tactics for the purpose of ensuring food security.