CABI has shared its expertise in a new study which shows limited awareness of human-induced drivers of climate change among Nigerian maize-poultry value chain actors.
Dr Justice Tambo, a Socio-Economist based at CABI’s Centre in Switzerland, was part of an international team of scientists – led by Dr Saweda Liverpool-Tasie of Michigan State University – who argue that maize farmers in particular feel their activity does not have a detrimental effect on global warming.
Dr Liverpool-Tasie et al surveyed over 2500 respondents including maize farmers, maize traders, poultry farmers, poultry feed millers, and poultry retailers between March and September 2017 in two Nigerian states (Kaduna and Oyo) that have experienced rapid growth in poultry production over the last decade.
The scientists found that despite numerous efforts to promote climate-smart agriculture as a way to make maize farmers more resilient and also to reduce agriculture’s contribution to greenhouse gas emissions, maize farmers are the least likely to believe that their activity (maize farming) contributes to climate change; 3% and 14% in Oyo and Kaduna respectively.
This contrasts with the share of maize farmers who believed climate change was hurting their economic activity; 63% and 71% in Oyo and Kaduna respectively. This is particularly the case in Oyo where 40% of respondents feel that climate change affects their economic activities but only 6% of them feel their activities contribute to climate change.
Overall in the study, the researchers argue that there is a significant variation in perceptions about climate change across actors along the maize-poultry value chain in Nigeria and also across regions within the country.
Dr Liverpool-Tasie, in the paper published in the Journal of Environmental Management, said, “Across climate events, we find that economic actors tend to perceive those particular climate events that have a direct effect on their economic activity. For example, increased temperature and heat stress significantly affect crop and animal production and thus tend to be significantly perceived by these farmers.
“Similarly, increased flooding, which can devastate a farmer’s poultry flock, or be associated with increase in the frequency of power outage is also highly perceived by poultry farmers, and poultry retailers selling frozen/chilled birds.”
The scientists highlight that food systems contribute and are impacted by climate change in many ways. They state, for instance, that ‘agricultural activities such as the use of inorganic fertilizer, livestock production, biomass burning, and manure handling are sources of greenhouse gases. Similarly, industrialization, food processing and transportation also contribute to climate change.’
Like maize farmers, the scientists suggest, poultry farmers in Nigeria experience the direct effects of climate change as events such as increased heat stress, frequency of droughts and flooding, all directly impact poultry farming. Higher temperatures (linked to changing weather patterns) affect the growth rate of birds, the quality of meat and eggs produced, and the frequency of disease outbreak.
Meanwhile maize traders (who are not also farmers), the researchers claim, are likely to have different experiences with climate events. They may not experience the direct effects of climate events on production but may be exposed to the effects of events such as increased temperature and increased flooding on the quality of their maize. High levels of heat and humidity are associated with maize contamination, due to mold and fungi and this has been demonstrated along the maize-poultry value chain in Nigeria.
In Nigeria, the major contributors to Green House Gas (GHS) emissions comes from land use change, particularly deforestation and land clearing for agriculture and development. The waste from poultry farming can also lead to the emissions of greenhouse gases, the scientists say.
They add that the majority of the machinery need fuel to operate and that can lead to an increase in carbon dioxide emissions. Industrialization for processing agriculture products has led to an increase in the need for energy. Energy consumption exerts a positive direct effect on carbon emission in Africa.
Dr Liverpool-Tasie added, “As food systems transform across Africa, it is important to bear this simultaneous relationship between value chains and climate change in mind. These interactions and their implications need to be part of policy debates and addressed more in the development literature to ensure that current and future food systems are more resilient and productive.”
Dr Liverpool-Tasie concluded, “Though African countries might currently not be major contributors to climate change, this (study) indicates a need for more awareness among economic agents about the effects of various agriculture-related activities on the environment and their contributions to climate change to encourage practices and technologies that can reduce agriculture’s negative effect on the environment and contribution to climate change.”
Full paper reference
Lenis S.O. Liverpool-Tasie, Holly Pummel, Justice A. Tambo, Laura Schmitt Olabisi, Olubukola Osunta, ‘Perceptions and exposure to climate events along agricultural value chains: Evidence from Nigeria,’ 2020, Journal of Environmental Management, DOI: 10.1016/j.jenvman.2020.110430
The paper is available to read here: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0301479720303649?via%3Dihub
See also the blog from CABI’s Climate Change Manager Jonathan Casey ‘CABI confronting the climate crisis.’
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