Analysis of perception and adaptation of maize–based farming households to climate change in Nigeria
Keywords:Perception, adaptation, climate change, maize, farmers, Heckman–probit model, Nigeria
The problem of climate change is becoming more threatening to sustainable economic development. The fact that climate has been changing in the past and will change in the future emphasises the need to understand how farmers perceive climate change and adapt to it in order to guide strategies for adaptation in the future. This study examines perception and adaptation to climate change of maize-based farmers in three agro–ecological zones of Nigeria using data from a cross sectional survey of 346 farming households selected through a multistage sampling technique. The study re-affirmed male dominance in maize production with about 90.8% of the farmers being male, while about 54.6% were between the productive ages of 41 – 60 years with a mean age of 45 years. About 47.4% of the farmers had no formal education, while the average number of years of formal education was 6.5. Results showed that 81.5% of the sampled maize farmers had perceived changes in climatic variables and 68.5% had employed adaptation measures. Econometric estimation of Heckman probit model revealed that the likelihood of farmers perceiving changes in climate was positively and significantly influenced by farming experience, access to extension agents, farm income and agro-ecological settings, while farming experience, distance to market centre, access to extension agents and farm income increase the probability of adapting to climate change. Policy focus should be awareness creation as well as improved farmers’ knowledge through extension agents, social network and NGOs and strengthening of credit institutions.