CAPACITY FOR AGRICULTURAL ADAPTATION TO CLIMATE CHANGE IN UNIVERSITY FACULTIES OF AGRICULTURE IN SOUTH-EAST NIGERIA

ABSTRACT

Adaptation to Climate Change (CC) is the adjustment in natural or human system in response to actual or expected climatic stimuli or their effects. To cushion and curb the devastating impacts of CC in South East Nigeria, there is great need to build resilience and capacities of institutions towards more lasting and far reaching approach to CC adaptation. With the phenomenon of CC becoming so alarming, building adaptive capacity, including providing tools and information, raising awareness of adaptation options, educating key professionals about CC and investing in CC science becomes imperative. In this context, individuals as well as collective capacity to put existing and new knowledge into practice is crucial as capacity includes "abilities, skills, understandings, attitudes, values, relationships, behaviours, motivations, resources and conditions that enable individuals, organizations, networks/sectors and broader social systems to carry out functions and achieve their development objectives over time. Adaptation to CC therefore, requires information generation and dissemination. The study assessed the capacity for agricultural adaptation to CC among university faculties of agriculture in South East Nigeria. A total of 120 respondents were selected using simple random sampling. Percentages, mean scores, and factor analysis were used in data analysis and presentation. The findings show that the teaching capacities of the universities to CC adaptation were low. In the same vein, the research capacities of the universities in CC issues were found to be on the low ebb. These were seen in the very few numbers of CC researches and activities carried out in the universities. On outreach capacities of the universities to CC adaptation, it was found to be very poor. However, the medium most frequently used were posters, fliers, lectures, farm visits/ village outreach and the use of radio programmes. The respondents’ perceived constraints to building CC agricultural adaptation in the universities include, poor learning environment, lack of reliable weather forecast/climate information, lack of proper policy/policy implementation on CC, poor outreach capacities in terms of human resources on CC, lack of technical and communication facilities, poor or absence of teaching materials, lack/limited availability of grants and scholarship on CC issues, lack of funds for research on CC, poor funding for teaching etc.

CHAPTER ONE
INTRODUCTION
1.1 Background information
Climate Change (CC) has been defined as change which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and which is, in addition, to natural climate variability observed over comparable time period. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (2007), explained CC as ‘statistically significant variations that persist for an extended period, typically decades or longer’. It is made up of discrepancies in the occurrence and magnitude of sporadic weather events and concomitant rise in world mean surface temperature. Regardless of international progress to reduce emissions of the greenhouse gases that cause CC, the climate system will continue to adjust to past emissions in the next few decades. This will bring unavoidable impacts on natural and human systems, presenting the challenge of second response to Climate Change, which is adaptation (to prepare for and cope with these effects).


The effects include among others increasing temperatures, decreasing rainfall in the continental interiors, drought, desert encroachment, melting ice, extreme weather, floods, sea level rise, sinking of Islands, water scarcity, health and agricultural problems (Odjugo, 2007; 2009; Adefolalu, 2007; Nwafor, 2007; Awake, 2008). In the south east Nigeria, the impacts of CC is very evident as observed in the increased flooding, landslide and erosion of the zone which has led to loss of lives, houses, farmlands, properties, roads etc. (Agwu and Okhimamhe, 2009). The environment of a large part of the south eastern zone presents its own challenge with respect to CC vulnerability. Apart from experiencing delayed onset or early retreat of rains, unsteady growing season, and other extreme climatic events in the region, large distribution of loose acidic soils, extensive gully erosion, few reservoirs to support irrigation and growing urbanization are critical vulnerability factors. For instance, many parts of Anambra and Enugu States are ravaged by sheet and gully erosion; some of the worse hit areas include the Anatu-Agulu-Nanka axis, the areas around Nkisi River, and Amawbia and Ozubulu areas of Anambra state. Soil productivity in many parts of the region has been badly impacted with considerable reduction in food productivity (Adesina and Odekunle, 2012). This calls for CC agricultural adaptation capacities in the area.

Adaptation to CC is the adjustment in natural or human system in response to actual or expected climatic stimuli or their effects (IPCC, 2001). With respect to agriculture, CC adaptation aims at reducing and developing appropriate coping measures to address the negative impacts of CC on crop production, soil management/conservation and animal husbandry. Adjustments are possible in practice within the limits of available income and technology. That is why adaptation to CC will be of relatively lesser problem in the developed nations as a result of their high level of technological development and high per capital income. CC is a serious problem in the developing nations, especially Nigeria, due to low income and poor technological base. (Mshelia, 2005; Jagtap, 2007; Rockfeller Foundation, 2008; IFPRI, 2009;Odjugo, 2010).

Low levels of awareness of CC amongst policy makers and the public at large, and poor understanding of its risks have hindered effective decision making. There is a need for urgent reforms in the current pedagogy, knowledge diffusion structures, mindsets of the actors, reward systems, governance structures and policy frameworks for African universities to effectively engage in higher education for sustainable development including adaptation to climate change ( African Association of Universities, 2009).

To cushion and curb the devastating impacts of CC in Nigeria, there is great need to build resilience and capacities of institutions towards more lasting and far reaching approach to CC adaptation. Universities exist with the aim of advancing the frontiers of knowledge. They help to enlarge human choices, skills and capabilities, by developing human resources. With the science of CC now becoming increasingly clear, sustainability and adaptability is turning more and more into an issue for education (Institute of Education, IOE, 2009). University education provides leadership in research, training and innovation responsible for sustainable development of any nation. It has long been perceived throughout the world, that higher education plays a critical role in preparing and providing the leadership to meet these challenges and to stimulate sustainable development (Bloom et al., 2005).

Okiy (1998), identifies six main functions of Nigerian Universities as; conservation of knowledge, pursuit, promotion and dissemination of information through teaching, advancement of knowledge through research oriented development, provision of intellectual leadership and development of human resources for meeting manpower and societal needs. These defined functions above, make the university the ideal centre for building capacities and resilience required for CC adaptation especially in the agricultural sector.

1.2 Problem statement
With the phenomenon of CC becoming so alarming, building adaptive capacity, including provision of tools and or information, raising awareness of adaptation options, educating key professionals about CC and investing in CC science as well as related social, ecological and socio-economic studies becomes imperative. In this context, individual as well as collective capacity to put existing and new knowledge into practice is crucial as capacity includes "abilities, skills, understandings, attitudes, values, relationships, behaviours....

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Item Type: Postgraduate Material  |  Attribute: 83 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
Format: MS Word  |  Price: N3,000  |  Delivery: Within 30Mins.
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