Climate change awareness and adaptation in the Niger Delta Region of Nigeria

Type Journal Article - African Technology Policy Studies Network, Nairobi
Title Climate change awareness and adaptation in the Niger Delta Region of Nigeria
Volume 57
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2011
Climate change is a major issue around which global development policy is being framed over the past few
years. Because of low adaptive capacities and the projected impacts of climate change, a consensus has
emerged that developing countries are more vulnerable to climate change than developed countries. This
is due to the predominance of rain-fed agriculture in their economies, the scarcity of capital for adaptation
measures, their warmer baseline climates and their heightened exposure to extreme weather events. The
Niger Delta region of Nigeria is known to be particularly vulnerable because of its fragile ecosystem and
human activities such as gas flaring that have heightened the propensity of climate change and its impacts
in the region. Unfortunately, knowledge of Niger Delta farmers about climate change leaves much to be
desired. Recognizing this, the present study sought to investigate farmers’ level of awareness of climate
change and potential adaptive measure for climate change in the region. The purpose of the study is to
examine the level of awareness of Niger Delta communities about impacts of climate change and to identify
and document innovations and practices for climate change adaptation by farmers in the study area. Multistage
sampling technique was used to interview 400 heads of farming households in Cross Rivers, Delta
and Rivers States. Analysis of the data utilized simple descriptive statistics while the results were presented
as tables, figures and charts. Two single gender Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) were conducted in each
of the survey states giving a total of six FGDs. Data from the FGDs complemented the survey results.
Findings of this study indicate that the level of awareness of local communities of climate change impacts
was still low in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria. About 60% of respondents know little or nothing about
climate change and its impacts. It was found, however, that the mass media played a major role in climate
change awareness in the study area. The results also indicate that the farmers have practiced some
innovative indigenous measures for climate change adaptation for many years. This study concludes that
extension workers, the media, researchers and civil society groups have something to learn from the Niger
Delta farmers and could assist in diffusing these innovations for widespread adoption in other communities.
At the policy-making level, it is recommended that policy makers should recognize and incorporate the
innovative practices of the farmers in designing Agricultural and Climate Change Policy in Nigeria. More
robust collaboration among stakeholders for evolving innovative approaches and adaptive measures for
the climate change phenomenon in the region is advocated. Lastly, adequate investment in research and
capacity building is imperative in building resilient adaptation to climate change impacts in the Niger Delta
region of Nigeria

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