Climate Change and Food Security
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Published: Mon, 02 Oct 2017
1.1 Background to the study
Our activities are inimical to the environment, our daily work and behaviour domestically, industrially and even agriculturally threatens the stability of environment as well as balance of the ecosystem. We often burn bushes to farm, we practice agriculture without due regard to the environment (oil), we cut/fell trees down without knowing that we are altering the eco- system and nature. All these human activities are threatening the nature and at the end, we ourselves are to face the consequences and are to be blamed.
(Professor David Ukali, chairman of NEST, Nov, 2010)
David Ukali’s statement explains how human activities lead to the backlash we experience in our environment today. Man suffers various environmental changes as a result of inappropriate agricultural practices coupled with unscrupulous destructions of various important elements in the environment. Climate change is perhaps the most serious environmental threat to the fight against hunger, malnutrition, disease and poverty in Africa, mainly through its impact on agricultural productivity. Climate change is one of the most serious environmental threats facing mankind worldwide. Climate change may already be impacting Nigeria as manifested by increased flooding, delayed rains, enhanced desertification, increasing bush fires and food insecurity.It affects agriculture in several ways, including its direct impact on food production. Climate change which is attributable to the natural climate cycle and human activities, has adversely affected agricultural productivity in Africa (Ziervogel et al. 2006).
That there is a change in the global climatic system is no longer in doubt. For instance, the periods we used to have rain have changed its proportion in terms of sun rays and that is why it has been generally agreed that this climate change which is posing the greatest threat to man and life on planet earth is gaining acceptance and that in the coming decade the world will witness higher temperatures and changing in precipitation levels which would lead to low/ poor agricultural income. The issue of climate change has become more threatening not only to the sustainable development of socio-economic and agricultural activities of any nation but to the totality of human existence (Adejuwon, 2004). Rough estimates suggest that over the next 50years or so climatic change will likely have a serious threat to meeting global food needs than any other constraints on agricultural system. (IPCC; 2007, BNRCC, 2008).
Available evidence shows that climate change is global; sea level rose about 17 centimetres (6.7 inches) in the last century and the rate has doubled in the last decade, there has been a rise in the global temperature even though the 2000s witnessed a solar output decline resulting in an unusually deep solar minimum in 2007-2009, surface temperatures continue to increase, glaciers are retreating almost everywhere around the world including in the Alps, Himalayas, Andes, Rockies, Alaska and Africa, likewise its impacts but the most adverse effects will be felt mainly by developing countries, especially those in Africa, due to their low level of coping capabilities (Nwafor 2007; Jagtap 2007).
Nigeria is viewed as one of these developing countries (Odjugo, 2010). Nigeria is experiencing adverse climate conditions with adverse impacts on the welfare of millions of its population, as the planet warms, rainfall patterns shift, and extreme events such as droughts, floods, and forest fires become more frequent (Zoellick 2009). Many African countries, which have their economies largely based on weather- sensitive Agricultural production system like Nigeria, are particularly vulnerable to climate change (Dinar et al, 2008). This vulnerability has been demonstrated by the devastating effects of recent flooding in the Niger- Delta region of the country and the various prolonged drought that are currently witnessed in some part of Northern region.
According to Olanrewaju (2003), climatic change is any form of long term climatic inconsistency. The recent changes in the climate have been linked with the increase in greenhouse gases (GHG) on the atmosphere in addition to anthropogenic activities and support emissions of other artificial chlorocarbons (Olanrewaju, 2003).
Climate change is also believed to result from the effect of global warming on the environment. Global warming is regarded by many people to be the most serious environmental challenge of modern times (Giddens, 2006). Global warming refers to the gradual rise of the earth’s average temperature due to changes in the chemical composition of the atmosphere; it is believed to be caused in parts by humans, because the gases that have built up and altered the earth’s atmosphere are the ones produced in large quantities by human activities. Global warming means that many dry areas are going to get drier and wet areas are going to get wetter. “Climate change in Nigeria is a ticking time bomb and it exists little or even nothing to mitigate its effects.”(Nnimmo Bassey, Nigeria.) Peer-reviewed research accepted by the Journal of Geography and Regional Planning concludes that Nigeria’s average temperature has risen by 1.7 degrees in the period 1901-2005. The increase has been higher in the semi-arid regions and lower in the coastal zone; the rate of change has increased since the 1970s.
The consequence for the Nigerian people is a geographical pincer threat from desertification in the north and coastal erosion in the south. Through a combination of overgrazing, abuse of woodland for fuel and increasingly unreliable rainfall, the Sahara is advancing at an estimated rate of 600 meters per annum, rising sea levels threaten Nigeria’s coastal regions the Niger Delta may be the source of oil wealth but its low-lying terrain crisis-crossed with waterways makes it extremely vulnerable to flooding and salinization i.e. the build-up of salts in soil eventually to toxic level for plant.
Food security is the outcome of food system processes all along the food chain; climate change will affect food security through its impacts on all components of global, national and local food system. The definition of food security as adopted at the World Food Summit (WFS) in November 1996 says that; “food security exists when all people at all times have physical or economic access to sufficient safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life” ( FAO, 1996).
One of the biggest threats is growing climate unpredictability, which makes subsistence farming difficult, the impact of the change will be difficult to handle and it will be potentially very long lasting,Droughts are getting worse and climate uncertainty is growing, Climate change is thus an unprecedented threat to food security (Medugu, 2013). Arid and semi-arid areas in northern Nigeria are becoming drier, while the southern part of the country are getting wetter, as the weather gets warmer most of the aquatic life, the fish, tend to seek colder waters thereby emptying Nigeria’s vast waters of marine resources, and which by extension means Nigeria’s reliance on imported fish and other sea foods increases. Climate change often appears very esoteric but in Nigeria; it is real, Currently there is an increasing incidence of disease, declining agricultural productivity, and rising incidences of heat waves (Stringer et al., 2009).
The threat that climate change poses to agricultural production does not only cover the area of crop husbandry but also includes livestock and in fact the total agricultural sector. The impacts of climate change on agriculture can be classified into biophysical and socioeconomic impact (Khanal, 2009). Climate can also affect the quantity and quality of feed stuffs such as pasture, forage, and grain and also the severity and distribution of livestock diseases and parasite (Niggol and Mendelsohn 2008). Climate change impacts the four key dimensions of food security, namely food availability, food stability, food accessibility, and food utilization.
According to vision 2020 as declared by the government of late president Umar Musa Yar’dua in October 2009 stated that; “by 2020 Nigeria will have a large, strong, diversified, sustainable and competitive economy that effectively harness the talents and energies of its people and responsibly exploits its natural endowments to guarantee a high standard of living and quality of life to its citizens” the declared aims of Nigeria’s national agricultural policy are; firstly attain food security, secondly increase production and productivity, thirdly generate employment and income and fourthly expand exports and reduce food imports thereby freeing resources for critical infrastructure development and delivery of social services. To achieve this aims, the problem of climate change as to be curtailed so as to enhance future possibilities of economic development and growth which is the major goal of the country.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
In Nigeria, agriculture has tended to be the main source of food, and a major source of industrial raw material, as well as the means of earning foreign exchange. It employs close to 70% of the Nigeria’s population. Agricultural practice in the country is predominantly rain-fed and therefore particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, and a study report by ( Harvard Business School) HBS in 2010 predicted that under a business as-usual scenario, Nigeria’s agricultural productivity could decline by between 10-25% by 2080, in certain parts a decline in rain-fed agriculture could be as high as 50%, exposure to extreme events makes subsistence and small scale farmers most vulnerable to climate change because of their limited capacity to adapt.
Therefore, Nigeria’s vulnerability will be in two ways:
- The resulting impacts of climate change
- The impact of response measures this is because Nigeria’s economy is highly dependent on income generated from the production, processing, export and consumption of fossil fuels and associated energy-intensive products.
As a result of the global climatic change, Nigeria has been affected greatly as there has been variations in the weather condition and also the frequent flooding that have led to the destruction of properties and also death of many Nigerians especially in the riverine area of the country.
1.3 Research Questions
The research questions for the study are as follows;
1) What is the relationship between climate change and food security?
2) What has been the effect of global climate change on food security in Nigeria?
3) What is the impact of climate change on food security in Ogun State?
- Objectives of the Study
The primary objective is to examine global climate change and how it affects food security in Ogun State, Nigeria. It can be achieved through the following.
1) Explaining the relationship between climate change and food security
2) Identifying and analysing the effects of global climate change on food security in Ogun State.
3) Illustrating the impact of climate change on food security in Ogun state
- Research Hypotheses
For the purpose of this research some hypotheses are intended to be formulated and tested. The hypotheses are drawn from the objective research questions of the study. The hypotheses are:
H0: global climate change does not have a great impact on food security in Ogun State
H1: global climate change has a great impact on food security in Ogun State
H0: Adequate efforts have not been made to reduce the effects of global climate change on food security in Ogun State.
H1: Adequate efforts have been made to refuse the effects of global climate change on food security in Ogun State.
- Significance of the Study
Every research work is a contribution to already existing knowledge. Therefore, as the world is dynamic and problems are a continuous part of man’s existence and people will always continue to struggle for survival and as a result of this people will always be moved to investigate and factors responsible for such problems and then going beyond this to proffer solutions for this problems. In as much as global climate change remains prevalent in our country today and threatens the availability of food in the society, it is therefore pertinent to carry out this study so as to bring to the awareness and understanding of people the importance of a good agricultural system and environmental consciousness.
- Scope of the Study
The scope of the study is primarily on global climate change and its impact on food security in Nigeria especially in Ogun state. It will examine the causes and consequence of the phenomenon of climate change and how it has generously affected the availability of food in Ogun state.
1.8 Limitation of the Study
The limitation to this study has been inaccessibility to data, time involvement in unplanned activities such as school meetings, seminars and so on.
- Methodology of the Study
Secondary sources of data shall be employed in this work and they include; relevant books concerning the topic, newspaper, journal articles, magazines, encyclopaedias and the internet shall be made use of. Primary sources of data would also be used as the topic of study is a recent phenomenon and is still in occurrence on daily basis and so the effects would be studied by visits to the rural areas of Ogun states where agricultural practices are happening and also, primary tools would be applied as interviews would be conducted and questionnaires would be distributed.
- Sources of Data Collection
Secondary sources of data are employed in this work and they include; relevant books concerning the topic, newspaper, journal articles, magazines, encyclopaedias and the internet shall be made use of. Primary sources of data would also be used as the topic of study is a recent phenomenon and is still in occurrence on daily basis.
- Sources of Data Collection
The effects of global climate change are studied by frequent visits to the rural areas of Ogun states where agricultural practices are happening and also, primary tools would are applied as interviews would be conducted and questionnaires would be distributed.
Interviews are conducted with the commissioner of agriculture in Ogun State; Mrs Ronke Shokefun and the commissioner of environment; Dr Lanre Tejuoso.
- Techniques of Data Analysis
Descriptive form of data analysis is employed in this project work as am going to be describing phenomenon that is in existence. Descriptive method of data analysis describes systematically the fact, qualities, characteristics of a given population, event or area of interest as factually and accurately as possible to proffer answers to questions asked by the problem of study. This study describes the events of global climate change and how it has taken a prominent position in affecting food security.
- Outline Of Study
This research is made up of five chapters and each chapter analyses the following:
Chapter one focuses on the introductory aspect of the research work which discusses the following: background of study, statement of problem, research questions, significance of study, scope and limitation of study, objectives of the study, research methodology and so on.
Chapter two attempts a literature review and discusses the theoretical framework. In this chapter we will be analysing previous arguments that have been laid out by scholars in the field of this study and so be using a thematic structure to help further our understanding of the phenomenon of this study. The literature review aspect of this chapter helps the researcher to relate with the scholarly works and writings in the field of study while the theoretic framework helps the researcher base his research on a specific theory that is in line and helps to further explain his research.
Chapter three is an overview of global climate change and its effect on food and food security that is the major changes that have been experienced since the inception of climate change in Nigeria especially in Ogun State. Also, how it has disrupted the production and distribution of food in the society focusing mainly on the effects of global climate change and food security in Ogun state,
Chapter four focuses on the analyses of data gathered and thorough explanation of the results gotten from the statistical data.
Chapter five attempts summary of the study and makes recommendation, it also concludes the work.
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