STRATEGIES FOR CLIMATE CHANGE ADAPTATION AMONG RURAL HOUSEHOLDS IN IMO STATE, NIGERIA
The study was designed to ascertain the strategies for climate change adaptation among rural households in Imo State, Nigeria. Specifically, the study ascertained the respondents’ level of awareness on climate change, ascertained their perceived causes of climate change, identified and documented the effective local adaptation strategies to climate change, and finally identified factors that militate against effective adaptation to climate change in the study area. All the rural households in the state constituted the population for the study. A total of 108 respondents, made up of 12 household heads selected from each of the nine villages purposively selected for the study were used. Data were collected using semi-structured questionnaires. Percentage distribution, mean statistic, charts, and factor analysis were used to analyze the data. The major findings showed that majority (78.3%) of the respondents were aware of climate change. It further showed that a greater proportion, (about 41%) of the respondents know very little about climate change. Most of the respondents, (about 62%) were aware of climate change through personal experience and observation. Further, most of the respondents (47.7%) described climate change as persistent short rainfall duration. About 71% of the respondents agreed that climate change had effect on agriculture, while about 49% of the respondents perceived that major effect of climate change on agriculture was declining crop yield. Some percentages (about 18.0%) of the respondents perceived women as the most vulnerable to climate change. The respondents perceived gas flaring (M= 2.07), violation of local customs (M = 2.01) and natural phenomena (M = 2.00) as the causes of climate change in the study area. Furthermore, they perceived growing of drought-resistant crop varieties (M = 1.14), use of pest/disease resistant crop varieties (M = 1.06), roof water harvesting (M = 1.00), sinking of more wells (M = 1.06), ground water harvesting (M = 1.07), planting deeper into the soil to avoid heat stress (M = 1.10), increased weeding (M = 1.29), changing of planting dates (M = 1.05), and changing timing of land preparation (M = 1.01) as effective adaptation strategies to climate change in the study area. Perceived constraints to effective adaptation to climate change in the study area were limited access to improved crop varieties (M= 1.95), high cost of farm labour (M= 1.80), inadequate financial resources to adapt (M= 1.80), high cost of diversification of enterprise (M=1.78), lack of irrigation schemes (M = 1.66), high cost of constructing dams (M = 1.58), limited access to improved livestock breeds (M = 1.57), limited availability of land (M = 1.53), high cost of land (M = 1.53), poor extension service (M = 1.52) and lack of government policy on adaptation (M=1.50). However, the constraints were grouped into: financial constraints with high cost of diversification of enterprise (0.85), inadequate financial resources to adapt (0.83), high cost of labour (0.83), high cost of improved crop varieties (0.78) and poor extension service (0.66) as factors that loaded under it; government failures with poor land ownership system (0.81), low income level (0.80), use of zero tillage encourages weed growth, pest and disease attack (0.73) and poor responses to crises related to climate change (0.67) and limited land availability (0.61) as factors loading under it; and finally technical constraints with lack of access to weather forecast (0.70), planting before the rains result to crop failure (0.68) and inadequate knowledge on how to cope (0.65) as factors loading under it. The study concluded that as a result of the little knowledge of the respondents on climate change owing to their reliance on personal observation and experience as major sources of information on climate change, the extension agency and mass media should be fully used in the dissemination of information on climate change in the rural areas.