BACKGROUND OF STUDY
In recent times, the issue of climate change through extreme temperature, frequent flooding, drought and increased salinity of water used for irrigation has become a recurrent subject of global debate. The intensity of the debate is on the increase due to the enormity of the challenge posed by the phenomenon especially in the third world.
This is as a result of the widespread poverty, prevailing slash-and-burn agriculture, green house emission, erosion and burning of firewood and farm residues that characterize the developing economies to which Nigeria belong (Ajetombi and Abiodun, 2010). Though the threat of climate is universal, agricultural production activities are generally more vulnerable than other sectors. The vulnerability of the Nigerian agricultural sector to climate change is of particular interest to policy makers because agriculture is a key sector in the economy accounting for between 60- 70% of the labour force and contributing about 40% to the GDP (Adejuwon, 2004). The extent to which one can hold climate responsible for variability in agricultural productivity in Nigeria will, for a long time, remain a subject of research vis- a-vis the interplay of other determinants. The production of most major crops has declined in magnitude since the drought of the 1970s which was recorded as the first evidence of climate change in Nigeria. Although efforts have been made by several governments in Nigeria to revamp the sector through multifarious programmes, the rate of population growth which has made it difficult for demand to meet supply has become a source of great worry (Nwachukwu et al., 2010). More worrisome is the fact that the climate change impacts in Nigeria are more predominantly man- made related than natural. Observation has shown that their causes ranged from poor drainage system, waste disposal to urban planning distortions among others. Furthermore, it has been observed that climate variability impacts usually depend on a range of climate parameters’ changes and on the country’s social, cultural, geographical and economic backgrounds. The location, size and the characteristics of the relief gave rise to various types of climates in Nigeria ranging from tropical rainforest along the coasts to Sahel climate in the Northern parts of the country. Annual rainfall ranges from greater than 350 mm in the fairly wet coastal area to less than 600 mm of the Sahel region in the northwestern and northeastern parts (Adejuwom, 2004).
Agriculture belongs to the main sector of Nigerian economy and it is characterized by a multitude of small scale farmers scattered over wide expanse of land area, with small holding ranging from 0.05 to 3.0 hectares per farm land, rudimentary farm systems, low capitalization and low yield per hectare. The roles of agriculture remain significant in the Nigerian economy despite the strategic importance of the oil sector. Agriculture provides primary means of employment for Nigerians and accounts for more than one–third of total gross domestic product (GDP) and labour force (FAO, 2005: World Bank, 2003). Agriculture in Nigeria is a major branch of the economy providing employment for 70% of the population. The sector is being transformed by commercialization at the small, medium, and largescale enterprises levels. Major crops include beans, sesame, cashew nuts, cassava, cocoa beans, groundnuts, kolanut, maize(corn), melon, millet, palm kernels, palm oil, plantains, rice, rubber, sorghum, soybeans and yams (Olomola, 2007).
Cassava (manihot esculenta A ) is a native from South America that is extensively cultivated as an annual crop in the tropical and subtropical regions for its edible starchy tuber as root. Cassava has the ability to grow on marginal lands and its one of the most important staple food crops in Tropical Africa with its efficient production of food energy, year round availability and tolerant of extreme environmental stresses which makes it eminently suitable for farming and food system in Nigeria. Cassava production plays a key role in alleviating poverty in Nigeria, as it is virtually impossible that an average household will not consume cassava product in a day. Therefore, cassava is an important factor in food security, poverty alleviation, rural – urban drift and reducing unemployment among others (Okpukpara, 2006). The discovery and exploitation of petroleum, the black gold led to the decline in the importance attached to the golden crop cassava and other important agricultural produce. Nevertheless, Nigeria still has a high percentage in exportation of cassava (Adegeye, 1996).
The inter-annual variability of rainfall, particularly in the North is large, often culminates in climate hazards especially hoods and droughts with their devastating effects on food production and associated catastrophic consequences. By virtue of Nigeria’s location primarily within the lowland humid tropics, the country is generally characterized by a high temperature regime almost through the year. The mean maximum temperature in the far South is between 30°C-32°C while in the North it is between 36°C-38°C. More so, the diverse nature of Nigeria’s climate consequently gave rise to a high degree of biological diversity resulting mainly in six vegetation zones: the Mangrove swamps, the Salt water and Fresh water swamps, Tropical lowland rainforests, Guinea savanna, Sudan savanna and Sahel savanna. From a water balance perspective, the country experiences large spatial and temporal variations in rainfall, and less variation in evaporation and evapo-transpiration. Consequently, rainfall is by far the most important element of climate in Nigeria and thereby becomes a critical index for assessing agricultural and water resources in the country (Adejuwon, 2006). Based on the projections of 1PCC (1996), the humid tropical zone of Southern Nigeria, which is already too hot and too wet is expected to be characterized by increase in both precipitation (especially at the peak of the rainy season) and temperature. Already temperature increases of about 0.2°C-0.3°C per decade have been observed in the various ecological zones of the country, while drought persistence has characterized the Sudan – Sahel regions, particularly since the late 1960s. For the tropic humid zones of Nigeria, precipitation increases of about 2 – 3% for each degree of global warming may be expected. Thus, it is reasonable to anticipate that the precipitation would probably increase by approximately 5- 20% in the very humid areas of the forest regions and Southern Savanna areas. The increase in temperature in these areas would also possibly increase evaporation, reducing the effectiveness of the increase in precipitation.
It is therefore not surprising that there is a growing consensus in the scientific literature that over the coming decades higher temperatures and changing precipitation levels caused by climate change will be unfavourable for crop growth and yield in many regions and countries (Yesuf et al., 2008). To what extent this will be the case for Nigeria particularly in the Southeast rainforest zone where both temperature and precipitation levels reach extremes has not received substantial research interest and attention (Nwajiuba and Onyeneke, 2010). Previous studies on the trend of climate change in the rainforest zone of Nigeria to which the Southeastern and south-south states belong (Munonye and Okoh, 2008; Nwajiuba et al., 2008; Nnaji and Duruji, 2008; Nwajiuba and Onyeneke, 2010) failed to provide in-depth simultaneous insights of the trend of climate variables in the zone (eg. temperature, rainfall, relative humidity) affecting crop yield. However, Nwajiuba and Onyeneke (2010) tried to incorporate the climatic variables in their linear regression model but failed to include a time trend in the model. A time trend serves as a proxy to the non- inclusion of some non climate variables which are important in agricultural productivity.
Given the fact that agriculture depends largely on the climate, it follows therefore that any change in climate is bound to impact on the sector and other socio-economic activities. The impact may be positive or negative. According to NBS (2006), the major crops in the South-south rainforest zone of Nigeria are Cassava, Yam and Maize. Cassava, however, is the most important staple food in Nigeria. Although Nigeria grows Cassava in large quantities, its cultivation is on small farms often in fields to be set aside as fallow and even cropped on marginal soils, replacing crops that require greater soil fertility (Adebayo et al., 2009). Africa claims 62% of the total world production of cassava. Nearly two-thirds of total Cassava production in Africa (38.3 million tonnes) is grown in Nigeria, making it the largest producer in the world with about 19% of global market share (Sanni et al., 2009; Adebayo et al., 2009). Based on 2002 estimates, southeast was the second highest producer on per capita basis with 0.56 tonnes per person after-North central with 0.72 tonnes per person. Within the zone, Enugu and Imo states dominate Cassava production (Phillips et al., 2004). Remarkable successes have been recorded in Cassava from production, processing to marketing at domestic and commercial scales. In production, increases in improved varieties and crop area have been achieved through various programmes by International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (11TA), National Root Crops Research Institute (NRCRI), Root and Tuber Expansion Programme (RTEP), Agricultural Development Programme (ADP), Federal Ministry of Agriculture, the launching of presidential initiative on cassava in 2003, among others. All of these have successfully promoted new entrants and investment in the subsector (Sanni et al., 2009).
STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Although notable researches have been conducted in the region on climate change which include environmental degradation, vulnerability and mitigation of climate change impacts (Akinro et al., 2008), coastal management and adaptation to climate change (Etuonovbe, 2008), and Awareness of climate change and implications for achieving the MDGs in the Niger Delta and south-south region of Nigeria (Ajayi, 2014). However, there is literature dearth on researches on the effects of climate change on the production of cassava in the south-south region.
However, Akwa Ibom state being one of the cassava producing states in Nigeria is highly sensitive to variation in climatic factors most especially rainfall, temperature and sunshine duration. Several views have been expressed about the impact of irregularity of climate on cassava production but non has researched on the effect of climate change on cassava production in Akwa Ibom State. This necessitated this research work.
AIMS AND OBJECTIVES
The aim of the study is the effect of climate change on cassava production in Ini Local Government Area In Akwa Ibom State. Other specific objectives include:
2. to examine the effect of climate change on cassava production in Ini Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State.
3. to examine the impacts of these changes on cassava suitability in Ini Local Government Area of Akwa ibom state.
4. to Identify some of the challenges that climate change might bring for crop improvement over the coming decades in ini local government of Akwa ibom state.
5. to proffer solution to the challenges that climate change might bring for crop improvement over the coming decades in ini local government of Akwa ibom state.
2. what is the effect of climate change on cassava production in Ini Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State?
3. what is the impacts of these changes on cassava suitability in Ini Local Government Area of Akwa ibom state?
4. what are some of the challenges that climate change might bring for crop improvement over the coming decades in ini local government of Akwa ibom state?
5. what is the solution to the challenges that climate change might bring for crop improvement over the coming decades in ini local government of Akwa ibom state?
STATEMENT OF RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS
SIGNIFICANCE OF STUDY
The study will be of help to individuals especially farmers in ini local government area and the government of Akwa ibom state at large in understanding that climate change poses a huge challenge to cassava production in the state and find ways to manage and prevent the causes of climate change in the future.
The study will draw the attention of the government at both state and federal level on the importance to invest more and look the way of agriculture which is the main stay of Nigeria’s economy by empowering farmers and investing hugely.
Finally, this study will establish grounds for further research in certain areas which obviously call for further exploration.
SCOPE OF STUDY
The study will cover the effect of climate change on cassava production in Ini Local Government Area In Akwa Ibom State.
LIMITATION OF STUDY
1. Financial constraint- Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
2. Time constraint- The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
DEFINITION OF TERMS
Effect: a change which is a result or consequence of an action or other cause.
Climate change: Climate change refers to any significant change in the measures of climate lasting for an extended period of time. In other words, climate change includes major changes in temperature, precipitation, or wind patterns, among other effects, that occur over several decades or longer.
A change in global or regional climate patterns, in particular a change apparent from the mid to late 20th century onwards and attributed largely to the increased levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide produced by the use of fossil fuels.
Cassava production: Processing of cassava for food involves combinations of fermentation, drying, and cooking. Submerged fermentation involves the soaking of whole peeled, cut and peeled, or unpeeled cassava roots in water for various periods, as typified by the production of fufu and lafun in Nigeria.
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