Analysis of farmers’ adaptation strategies to climate change in cocoa production in Kwara State
Changing climate and weather patterns are predicted to have severe negative impacts on food production, food security and natural resources in the immediate and coming years. Climate change alters the development of cocoa pods, insect pests and pathogens which translate into lower crop yields and impact farm income. This study examined the climate change adaptation strategies of farmers on cocoa production practices. A multi-stage random sampling procedure was used to select 60 cocoa farmers from three out of eight Local Government Areas (LGAs) producing cocoa in Kwara State. Interview schedule was used in data collection and analyzed with descriptive statistics and correlation analysis. The results reveal that 60.7% of the farmers were male. Majority (59.9%) of the farmers were between middle and old age with farming experience of 21-30 years and farm size of mainly between 0.4-2.7 hectares. Most farmers (85%) observed an extension beyond the normal dry months of November to February. This situation could have some implications on cocoa production. The main climate change strategies adopted by farmers include praying for rain (86.7%), use of improved varieties, (81.7%), climate prediction (76.7%), changes in cropping pattern and agro-forestry (75% each), control of soil erosion (73.3%) and fertilizer application (60%). Inadequate irrigation, 41.7% and crop diversification, 36.7%; constituted minor strategies. The cocoa production practices still adopted were weeding, 98.3%; seedling planting, 96.7%; insect pest and diseases control, 95%; bush clearing, 93.3%; fermentation and drying, 91.7%; tree felling, 88.4%; pruning, 85% and burning before planting, 70%. However, Pearson product moment correlation coefficient (PPMC) showed that a significant relationship existed between age of cocoa farm (0.016) and cocoa production practices at P< 0.05. Cocoa farmers’ climate change strategies (0.121) were not statistically related with cocoa production practices at P< 0.05. Most of the strategies and practices currently used by farmers should be improved upon to ensure appropriate agronomic practices and adaptation to changes in climate.
Keywords: Climate change, adaptation, cocoa production practices, farmers