CLIMATE CHANGE INFORMATION NEEDS OF RURAL FARMERS IN ENUGU STATE, NIGERIA

ABSTRACT
Adaptation is considered an appropriate response to climate change and variability, especially for rural farmers. However, the farmers’ ability to effectively respond to climate change challenges is determined by the quality of information available to the farmers and how easily the information is accessed. The study sought to assess the information needs of rural farmers on climate change. A total of I52 respondents were selected using multistage sampling technique. Percentages, mean scores, standard deviations, factor analysis and multiple linear regression model were used in data analysis and presentation. The findings show that all the respondents indicated awareness of climate change. However, the knowledge score used indicated that none of the respondents had high knowledge on climate change. The respondents’ major and perceived reliable sources of knowledge were personal observations and friends. These information sources according to the findings were useful especially on adaptation. The major areas of information needs of the farmers on adaptation were use of improved varieties, occupational diversification, use of weed tolerant varieties, change in timing of farm operations, use of herbicides and pesticides and incorporating residue into the soil. However the findings indicate that the following were the perceived major constraints to effective communication of climate change: poor communication linkage between scientists, extension agents and farmers, lack of proper enlightenment, lack of participatory approach to communication, poor use of local dialect in translation and communication of climate change information jargon to rural farmers, lack of communication facilities etc. The respondents’ perceived strategies that can be used for effective communication of climate change information were: use of vernacular through mass media to disseminate climate change information, use of participatory approach in communicating climate change information, incorporating the needs, perception and concern of the target audience and ensuring relevance of information to the target audience, ensuring reliability of information, use of credible experts who have knowledge of vernacular, and bridging the communication gap between scientists, extension agents and farmers. Other strategies include: use of local and religious leaders to disseminate climate change information, use of local languages (dialect) and folks, use of audio visual aids and provision of timely information, training of communicators of climate change information, strengthening agricultural extension delivery system, provision of communication facilities by government to climate change communicators, and use of service providers to disseminate climate change information through short message service. The findings reveal that the following had significant influence on knowledge level (p≤0.05): years spent in formal education, membership of social/religious organization, number of climate change training, farm size, marital status, access to credit, and climate change training.

CHAPTER ONE
Introduction
1.1 Background information.
The International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 2007 considered data from climate observations across the world and concluded that the evidence for warming of the global climate is ‘unequivocal’. Climate change refers to any change in climate overtime, whether due to natural variability or as a result of human activity (IPCC, 2001). Globally, climate change is considered as one of the serious threats to sustainable development, with adverse impacts expected on the environment, human health, food security and physical infrastructure (Africa-Wide Civil Society Climate Change Initiative for Policy Dialogues (ACCID), 2010). Climate change affects all aspects of the climate, making rainfall less predictable, changing the character of the seasons, and increasing the likelihood or severity of extreme events such as floods.

Scientists agree that rising concentrations of human-produced greenhouse gases (GHG) in the earth's atmosphere are the causes of climate change. For example, the increased industrialization in the developed nations introduces large quantities of greenhouse gases (GHGs), including carbon (IV) oxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) into the atmosphere. These GHGs are the primary causes of global warming (IPCC, 2007a).

The global increases in carbon (1V) oxide (CO2) concentration are due primarily to fossil fuel use and land use change, while those of methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) are primarily due to agriculture (IPCC, 2007a). Clearing of forests for agricultural production replaces forests with crops thereby reducing the rate at which carbon sequestration (trapping and absorbing carbon (IV) oxide gas) occurs. Agriculture is therefore one of the main culprits of climate change, producing significant effects through the production and release of GHGs (Ozor and Nnaji, 2011).

There is no doubt that the earth is getting warmer and human beings are mainly to be blamed (Spore, 2008). According to Leggett (2008) continued population and economic growth, with dependence on fossil fuels and needs for expanding agricultural lands, are expected to drive GHG emissions and induce climate change over the 21st Century to levels never experienced in human civilization.

While benefits may accrue to some people who may experience a limited amount of climate change, the aggregate effects are expected to become increasingly adverse, with people living in dry regions or along low-lying coasts, and people with low incomes, expected to be especially vulnerable (Leggett, 2008). In other words, climate change is not an issue that only has implication for energy supply or environment; rather, it touches all the resources that we depend on in life. It puts extra burdens on the social and economic challenges that the poorest already face, emphasizing and increasing their vulnerabilities due to the dependence of their livelihoods on climate sensitive natural resources and their weak social protection.

The IPCC (2007a) describes Africa generally as “one of the most vulnerable continents to climate change and climate variability. Many parts of Africa in 2007 suffered severe drought while floods on the other hand destroyed roads and buildings and wiped out millions of hectares of farmlands in many parts of the continents (Spore, 2008). Local knowledge indicates that climate change impacts are leading to significant negative effects on livelihoods in Africa, particularly among subsistence and small-scale agricultural communities.....

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Item Type: Postgraduate Material  |  Attribute: 127 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
Format: MS Word  |  Price: N3,000  |  Delivery: Within 30Mins.
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