1.1. BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Climate change is one of the prevailing environmental problems in the world and has gained universal discourse in recent time because its effects are multi – faceted. It is a single problem which has given birth to numerous known issues such as sea level rise, ocean warming, increasing temperature, rainfall variability, increasing evaporation and increasing tropical storms among others. These effects have also metamorphosed into some impacts such as the decline in agricultural activities, drought, migration, health problems, crises among farmers and herds - men, flooding, erosion, hunger and poverty among others and other numerous problems yet to manifest. Climate change refers to any change in climate over time that alters the composition of the global atmosphere (Audu et al, 2010). The Inter Governmental panel on climate change (IPCC, 2007 cited in Audu, et al (2010) refers to it as any change in climate or weather due to natural variability or as a result of human activity. Climate change is one of the most critical socio- technological issues mankind faces in the present century (IPCC, 2007 cited in Levi and Prashnant, 2010). In other words, climate change may be defined as the alteration of the climatic system over a long period. Bello (2010) further argued that an extreme weather event that exhibits temporary departures from the mean climatic state is not synonymous to climate change, but rather the long – term persistence of either positive or negative anomalies of a given or combination of climatic events above or below the normal that characterizes climate change. Also, the United Nation Frame Work Convention on climate refers only to the natural variability as the causes (according to African Partnership Forum, 2007 reported by Audu et al, 2010). Causes of climate change are two (2). These are natural causes which could be movement of continents due to plate tectonics, solar output of radiation, volcanism and ocean variability; and anthropogenic causes such as fossil fuel burning, deforestation, cattle rearing and so on (Ekundayo, 2010). Bello (2010), argued that climatic change could be due to astronomical, extraterrestrial, terrestrial and human activities. It should be noted that the activities of man are the major cause of climate change due to population explosion, advancement in technology and uncontrolled exploitation / utilization of natural resources among others. Bello (2010) identified rise in temperature and drought as evidences of climate change. Other evidences of climate change include: increase in annual rainfall during wet season, shorter rainy season and longer dry season, increasing cases of dry spells and drought, unpredictability of rainfall, change in the distribution of rainfall in wet season, excessive dryness during dry season and increasing temperature in wet and dry seasons likewise the harmattan period. Most recent researches on climate change and agriculture focus on few areas mostly dry spells (Sawa, 2010), drought (Binbol, 2010) and desertification. It is based on this that this paper seeks to focus on the general implication of climate change on agriculture.
1.2. STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
The change in climate over the years has been having lots of impacts on the communities of the various nations of the world. Nigeria has been having her share of the impacts of climate change. These impacts are felt by the farmers of Nigeria. Climate change is known to be having impacts on agriculture thereby having effects on agricultural production by the farmers. The main trust is to determine the impact of climate change on agricultural production and economic growth in Nigeria. The question is how have farmers been coping with the impacts of the climate change all these years? When the answer to this question is found, communities will not drift away from their locations for other places. When the farmers are allowed to move away from their various locations due to the impacts of climate change, the consequence will be communities or households drift from one place to another. This will result in hunger, poor health and poor wellbeing of the farmers' households (Maginness & Stephens 2008 and Lal, Alavalapati & Mercer, 2011). Other results of rural-urban shift due to detrimental climate change effects include stresses and disturbances such as increased land use change, pollution, wildre and invasive species (U.S. Global change research programme (USGCRP) 2009). As these shifts continue there will be high pressure on the social amenities in the newly found home, urban area (Rumble, Tubb & Acher, 2008), According to Obioha (2009), the sustainability of the environment to provide all life support systems and the materials for fulfilling all developmental aspirations of man and animal is dependent on the suitability of the climate which is undergoing constant changes. The effect of these changes is posing threat to food security in Nigeria. Hence the needs for the study to investigate the impact of climate change on agricultural productivity and economic growth Nigeria.
1.3. AIMS OF THE STUDY
The major purpose of this study is to examine the effect of climate change on productivity and economic growth in Nigeria. Other general objectives of the study are:
1. To examine the awareness and knowledge of climate change by farmers in Nigeria.
2. To examine the causes of climatic change in Nigeria.
3. To examine the impact of climate change on agricultural production and economic growth in Nigeria.
4. To examine the Climatic change as an influence of agricultural production and economy of Nigeria.
5. To examine the relationship between effect of climate change on agricultural productivity and economic growth.
6. To investigate the adaption of mitigation strategies by farmers on the impact of climate change in Nigeria.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1. What is the awareness and knowledge of climate change by farmers in Nigeria?
2. What are the causes of climatic change in Nigeria?
3. What are the impact of climate change on agricultural production and economic growth in Nigeria?
4. How is the Climatic change influencing agricultural production and economy of Nigeria?
5. What is the relationship between effect of climate change on agricultural productivity and economic growth?
6. What is the adaption of mitigation strategies by farmers on the impact of climate change in Nigeria?
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
H0: There is no significant impact of climate change on agricultural production and economic growth in Nigeria.
H1: There is a significant impact of climate change on agricultural production and economic growth in Nigeria.
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The findings of this study will be beneficial to government, agricultural extension workers, farmers and other researchers. The study will provide information on the perceived extent to which climate change has impacted on farming practices. The information will help government to encourage and support farmers in production activities. The knowledge of the findings would help the government to make policies on how to check the effects of climate change on agriculture in Benue state and Nigeria in general. The study will provide information to agricultural extension workers on adaptation strategies, which they could teach the farmers to adapt to in such situations. One of the purposes of the study is to discover the suitable strategies for alleviating the impact of climate. The information would serve as a body of knowledge for the agricultural extension workers who teach the farmers on improved farming practices to yield productivity. The findings of the study would help farmers to reduce the impact of climate change on agricultural practices. The study will suggest to the farmers suitable adaptation options in coping with climate change effects on agriculture. An understanding of the impacts of climate change would help the framers to mount appropriate strategies to keep agricultural productivity profitable to matching the varying trend in food production. The study could be used as a resource material on climate change and its impact on agriculture for researchers who may be interested in researching on related topics. The research is equipped with the findings on the impacts of climate change on agricultural productivity and economic growth.
1.7 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The study is based on the effect of climate change on agricultural productivity and economic growth in Nigeria, a case study of selected farmers in Benue State.
1.8 LIMITATION OF STUDY
Financial constraint- Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
Time constraint- The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
1.9 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Climate Change: The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) defines climate change as a change in the state of the climate that can be identified by changes in the mean and / or the variability of its properties and that persists for an extended period, typically decades or longer.
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