SOCIO-ECONOMIC FACTORS INFLUENCING ADAPTATION STRATEGIES OF FLOODING IN BENUE STATE, NIGERIA.
The study examined Socio-economic factors influencing adaptation strategies of flooding in Benue State, Nigeria. The study used purposive, multi-stage random, and convenient sampling techniques to select 315 farmers whose farms have been affected by flooding. Data for the study were collected from both primary and secondary sources using structured questionnaires, interviews, journals, data from NIMET and publications from other relevant agencies like BNARDA. The data collected were analysed using descriptive statistics, Maximum Likelihood Estimate (MLE).The mean age of the farmers in the study area is 47 years. The analysis of the gender indicates that farming activities are dominated by males. It was revealed that 79.0% of the household heads were married. Also, 45.7% of the farmers have primary school education, while only 28.5% (Secondary School holders) constitute lower mean averages in terms of educational qualifications. Maximum Likelihood Estimate showed that the Log Likelihood was 590.543, while Chi-Square value 12.961 was significant at 1% level of probability, this implies that the overall effect of the explanatory variables was statistically significant.
Economic losses caused by floods are rising in Africa( Hoeppe and Gurenko,2013). Both researchers predicted that if nothing is done by way of mitigation, crop yields would drop by 50% in 2017. This scenario is already manifesting in Asia and other tropical countries where the rural farming households depend on agriculture for their livelihood. The floods have adversely affected billions of people mostly through loss of farms and farmlands, rendering people homeless.
Floods constitute major of menace to different continents of the world at different times ranging from flash floods to pluvial floods. The notorious attitudes and events they constitute if not well managed, can lead to excessive damage. More so, these challenges are often prominent in Asia and Africa due to lack of adequate planning of roads, farmlands and other areas of critical usage which may be needed for urban and rural regions. The socio-economic factors influencing adaptation strategies of flooding play significant roles in the application of major ways of farmers plant and harvest a large chunk of harvests. They are very important and constitute how well crop production in a country thrives. It is of necessity that in the period of adverse climatic events like flooding, these factors become critical in justifying more of harvests or otherwise, the need to survive during such periods of adversity. It is noteworthy also that environmental issues or natural events like flooding can stiffen food production, therefore, the knowledge the socio-economic factors like Age, Sex, Educational Qualification and so on, will help in ascertaining the adaptive knowledge of farmers.
In Nigeria, It is very common-place event to lose a large chunk of produce to flooding based on lack of adaptive strategies hinged on socio-economic factors of farmers. Farmers often lack the meteorological knowledge of what it takes to synchronize the adaptive strategies to the climatic events of flooding. It is estimated that tons of useful Agricultural produce are washed away during excessive rainfall (flooding) and pushes to great economic losses by the nation at large and farmers in particular.
In Benue State, it is becoming increasingly difficult for farmers to engage in crop production activities during flooding without adequate adaptation strategies. These strategies are linked to Socio-economic factors and these Socio-economic factors create a lot of challenge if they are not properly understood because they present problems that will make farmers adopt the adaptive strategies slowly. The effect of these on Nigeria and theme state is lack of food sufficiency. It is very important to note that Benue State regarded as the food basket of the nation will have a major setback in fulfilling this note. The role stands out when farmers are able to churn out a harvest commensurate to the expectation of teeming population of the state and nation.
Benue State is proudly referred to as the ‘food basket of the nation’ since the rich nutrients deposits of alluvial soils that support bumper harvest have helped farmers in producing crops on large scale. However, with the climate change and River Benue overflowing its bank, flooding has become a critical issue in recent years. Therefore, climate change and its attendant climate events (especially floods) have become what farmers will have to cope with, since it is fast becoming unpredictable to give accurate account of crop yields on farms. Farmers therefore need adequate knowledge on the nature and causes of climate change with the attendant climatic events and the various mitigation, adaptation and coping strategies to use. This of course, depends on their access to credible information sources and their capacity to apply the information. A major problem for crop production in Nigeria (at large), and Benue State (in particular), as it concerns climate change is the reduction of arable lands which arises from the incursion of sea to arable land for farming..
Statement of the Problem
Most farmers in Nigeria depend on rain-fed agriculture and hence fundamentally are dependent on the vagaries of weather. Climatic events (especially flooding) is impacting negatively on ecosystems, farming systems and other livelihood processes. The problem of flooding impact has been significant in the reduction of crop production in Benue State with the change in cropping patterns. The change in cropping patterns has made Benue state gradually losing the acronym ‘food basket of the nation’ due to the lowering of agricultural output by this scourge. In recent years, there has been a decline in Benue’s agricultural produce. In previous years, groundnut was produced in commercial quantity in Benue State but the situation is no longer the same in recent time. As crops decline so are food prices rising. Cultivation of the crop has gradually dropped. (Ripples, 2018)
The problem has resulted in the situation where the present crops(Yam ,Rice, Maize, Sorghum and other cereal crops) produced in large quantity to replace this commercial quantity of groundnut are expressing great flooding impact due to climate change. The scourge has affected crops both in quality and quantity. In October 2017, Nigeria’s tubers of yam exported to the United States were rejected due to low quality. There is some evidence that climate change is already having a measurable effect on the quality and quantity of food produced globally. Farmers are no longer able to farm due to challenges posed by climate change. Two hectares of rice farmlands were washed away by heavy rainfall in Benue State as a result of climate change in August 2017. Over 3,000 other farmlands were also submerged, affecting about two million farmers in the state. The overflow of water from the River Benue coupled with the excess water from River Niger have increased the incessant occurrence of flooding in Benue State (Ripples, 2018).The severity of flooding was also noted in the months of September and October, 2012, when it ravaged some parts of Nigeria especially Benue State and the quantification of such economic loses on crop production was quite immense. Cereal crops were the worst hit with over 75% of crops like rice, maize, sorghum suffering economic loses and 50% of yams cultivated had specific quality challenges. These challenges are products of unprecedented flooding which destroyed hundreds hectares of farmlands and damaged crops as a result of different heavy downpour, river overflows (especially River Benue) among others. (Adeloye and Rustum , 2014).
Flood occurrences are fast becoming annual events which are largely due to climate change. These occurrences are common during rainy season and basically hovered between May and October of every year. One of such years is . The event pushed most of the country’s rivers over their banks and submerged hundreds of kilometers of urban and rural land. Overall, an estimated 1.3 million people were displaced and about 431 people lost their lives with several hectares of farmland destroyed. Though the unusually large flood was predicted by the Nigeria Metrological Agency NIMET, government at all tiers failed to act on time, resulting in the worst humanitarian crises in Nigeria since the civil war in 1967-1970. Despite the expected increase in frequency and magnitude of flood in Nigeria and invariably Benue, few economic impact assessment studies on crop production have been undertaken to establish the underlying causes of their vulnerability. In the absence of comprehensive data and information, the measures to cope with flood have remained ad hoc. Agricultural sector is the most affected sector of Benue economy. This is because most of the economic activities around or within flood prone areas are agriculture-oriented and 75% of the livelihood activities in agricultural sector. In crop production, farmers lost 21.7billion Naira to flood disaster which adversely affected the rural economy with negative multiplier effect on Benue State economy.
Objective of the Study
The objective of the study is to determine the Socio-economic factors influencing adaptation strategies of flooding in Benue State, Nigeria.
The Study Area
The study was carried out in Benue State. Benue state is one of the North central states in Nigeria. The state has 23 local government areas namely: Buruku, Gboko, Guma, Gwer east, Gwer west, Markudi, Tarka, Ado, Agatu, Apa, Obi, Ogbadigbo, Ohimini, Oju, Okpokwu, Ukum, Katsina-ala, Konshisha, Kwande, Logo, Otukpo, Ushongo, Vandeikya respectively.
Benue state lies within the lower Rivers Benue trough in the middle belt region of Nigeria. Its geographic coordinates are longitude 7047’ and 1000’East. Latitude 6025’ and 808’ North and shares boundaries with five other states namely: Nasarawa State to the north; Taraba state to the east, cross river state to the south, Enugu state to the south west and Kogi state to the west. The state also shares a common boundary with the republic of Cameroon on the south-east. It also occupies a land mass of 34, 059 square kilometers (LCAPC (2014))
Agriculture forms the backbone of the Benue State economy, engaging more than 70 percent of the working population. This has made Benue the major source of food production in the Nation. Mechanization and plantation agriculture/agro-forestry are still at its infancy. Farm inputs such as fertilizers, improved seed, insecticides and other little foreign methods of agro-chemicals are being used. However, cost and availability is still a challenge. Important cash crops include Soya-beans, Rice, Peanuts, mango varieties, Citrus. Other cash crops include Palm oil, Melon, African pear, Chili pepper, Tomatoes etc. food crops include Yam, Cassava, Sweet potato, Beans Maize, Millets, Guinea corn, Vegetables etc. there is very little irrigation agricultural techniques. Animal production includes Cattle, Pork, Poultry and Goat but no dairy products.
Sampling Technique and Sample Size:
The state was divided into three Agricultural zones: A, B and C accordingly;
Zone A ; Benue North Central: Buruku, Gboko, Guma, Gwer east, Gwer West, Markudi, Tarka.
Zone B: Benue South : Ado, Agatu, Apa, Obi, Ogbadibo, Ohimini, Oju, Okpokwu
Zone C: Benue North-east: Ukum, Katsina-Ala, Konshisha, Kwande, Logo, Otukpo, Ushongo, Vandeikya.
The population for the study consists of farmers whose farms were affected by flooding in the study area. Purposive and multistage sampling were adopted for the study. The First stage involved the purposive selection of four Local Government Areas (4 LGAS each) from the three Agricultural Zones while Second stage was the purposive selection of the farmers in the twelve (12) Local Government Areas through the Agricultural Development Program (ADP) enumerators. Thirdly, (3) extension blocks were selected from the 12 LGAS, making thirty-six (36) extension blocks in all. Fourthly, one (1) farming village/community was selected from each extension block making a total of (12) villages/communities. Lastly, through convenient sampling and findings of (less-prone to flooding areas (zone A) to more-prone to flooding areas(zones B and C), questionnaires were administered.
Number of Farmers affected by Flooding( Sampling frame) and the number of Farmers(Sample Size) in the Local Government Areas and Villages( Communities)
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