CABI socio-economist Dr Justice Tambo has shared his expertise in the first study to explore climate change adaptation among poultry farmers in Africa, but specifically in Nigeria where temperatures are expected to rise between 1.1 to 2.5°c by 2050.
Dr Tambo joined lead author Dr Lenis Saweda Liverpool-Tasie and from Dr Awa Sanou Michigan State University in the research which is also the first to examine poultry farmers’ adaptation to climate change with a focus on their experiences with climate-induced losses – not just their exposure to extreme weather events.
In the paper ‘Climate change adaptation among poultry farmers: evidence from Nigeria’, published in the journal Climate Change, the scientists surveyed 1,301 poultry farmers and found that farmers who experienced heat-related losses are more likely to adopt modern practices and multiple adaptation strategies concurrently.
Such climate change mitigation includes small farms investing in traditional strategies such as the stocking of local breeds while medium and large farms adopt modern technologies such as air and water ventilation as well as the use of low-energy bulbs which emit less heat. Other steps feature the giving of medicines and vitamins for the birds as well as litter spreading and de-caking of the chicken houses.
Around 85 million Nigerians are involved in poultry production with another 14 million benefiting from employment in the increasingly commercialised sector. The sector serves as an important source of employment and an affordable animal protein food for the country’s large and growing population.
The researchers, in the paper, state: “Heat stress associated with climate change is a severe challenge to poultry farmers due to its negative effect on chicken growth and productivity.
“As poultry plays an important food security role across Africa – being a source of livelihood and an important source of animal protein – understanding how farmers deal with the realities of poultry production due to climate change is critical.”
The scientists argue that their findings have important implications for policy makers and practitioners including poultry farmers and extension agents.
“There is room for innovation as some of the costly strategies, such as ventilation adopted by the larger farms can be modified to suit the financial constraints of the small farms,” they add. “For example, changing water more frequently to keep water cool compared with having a cooling pad or fan.”
Other recommendations suggested in the report centre on medium and large-scale farmers coming together to share their own experiences and best practices with each other to help protect their poultry from the impacts of rising temperatures due to climate change.
Full paper reference
Liverpool-Tasie, L S O., Sanou, A., Tambo, J A., ‘Climate change adaptation among poultry farmers: evidence from Nigeria,’ Climate Change, (2019), DOI: 10.1007/s10584-019-02574-8
This paper is available as an open access document here: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10584-019-02574-8