AN ASSESSMENT OF ADAPTATION STRATEGIES TO CLIMATE CHANGE AMONG SMALLHOLDER CROP FARMERS IN ENUGU STATE, NIGERIA
This study was conceived in regard to the empirical reality that farming in Enugu State, as it applies to all parts of Southeastern Nigeria, is constrained by the adverse effects of climate change. It was therefore, considered necessary to conduct an assessment of smallholder farmers’ awareness to climate change, their adaptation strategies, the associated costs and returns, underpinning, and constraints to their adoption of the identifies adaptation strategies. This study assessed adaptation strategies to climate change among smallholder crop farmers in Enugu State. Specifically, it described the socio-economic characteristics of the respondents, described farmers’ level of awareness of climate change, identified climate change adaptation strategies used by the respondents, estimated and compared the costs and returns of these strategies, determined factors that drive the choice of these strategies, and analyzed the constraints to adoption of adaptation strategies. A multistage random sampling procedure was used to select 320 smallholder crop farmers from 16 communities from whom data were collected in the 2014 farming season using structured questionnaire. The analytical techniques involving descriptive statistics, cost and return technique, multiple regression model, multinomial logit model, and likert type scale were used in analyzing the data. Majority of the respondents were male (63.7%), average household size of 7 persons and an average farm size of 1.23 hectares in the study area. Cassava was the most cultivated crop in the study area. Eleven adaptation measures to climate change were identified to be used while multiple cropping (98.4%) was the most used among others. Multiple cropping had the highest average gross margin of (N39,509.92) per hectare while adjusting the dates of planting had the least of (N12,900.42). Returns from adaptation practices (0.317), age of household head (-36.02), level of education (2.36), household size (14.51), awareness to climate change (933.8), and farm size (17.07) were factors that significantly influenced the level of investment in climate change adaptation practices. Household size increased the probability of using increased cultivation of farm land, mulching practice, increased fertilizer use, and multiple cropping as adaptation strategies by 1.26%, 1.63%, 0.12% and 0.16% at 5, 10, 10, and 1 percent levels of significance respectively. Inadequate finance (2.83), land tenure system (2.60), high cost/lack of improved crop varieties (2.44), and lack of accurate and timely weather forecast (2.06) were the most serious constraints to using climate change adaptation strategies. It was therefore, recommended that there was need to encourage farmers to use multiple cropping as adaptation strategy because of its high net farm income per hectare while functional, accessible and very cheap small scale credit facilities should be available to farmers.