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  • Writer's pictureNsedu Awatt


Updated: May 4


Agriculture is the economy's most important sector that is highly dependent on weather and climate. It's so because the industry relies heavily on the land, water, and other natural resources that weather and climate affect. While climate change variables (such as Temperature, precipitation, and relative humidity) could lengthen the growing season or allow different crops to be grown in some regions, it could also slow the growth rate and crop season in other areas. In Nigeria, agriculture is the primary source of food and employer of labor employing about 60-70 percent of the population. [1] It is a significant important sector of the economy and the source of raw materials used in the processing industries and a source foreign of exchange earnings for the country. [2]

Climate change is a significant factor that threatens food production and supply in Nigeria. It poses a severe challenge to agricultural systems, including crops, livestock, forestry, and fisheries, and its adverse effects vary from region to region within the country. Some parts experience drier and are more susceptible to drought, while others witness heavier rains, floods, or altered rainfall patterns. An increase in Temperature changes the length of the growing seasons and affects yield in some areas while also modifying the distribution of fish populations in rivers and oceans. Conversely, profits will decline if the higher Temperature exceeds a crop's highly optimum Temperature. The overall effect of climate change on food production depends mainly on the rate and severity of the change and the degree to which farmers are willing and able to adapt to the change.


Climate change is the most severe environmental threat to the fight against hunger, malnutrition, disease, and poverty in Africa, mainly through its impact on food production. Climate change and agriculture are interrelated processes, both of which take place globally. [3]

Climate change affects food and water resources critical for livelihood in Nigeria, where much of the population, especially people experiencing poverty, rely on local supply systems sensitive to climate variation. Disruptions of existing food and water systems will devastate development and livelihood. Crop, livestock, forestry, and fisheries sectors must adapt to the impacts of climate change and improve the resilience of food production systems to feed the country's growing population. Research has shown that the link between rainfall and animal numbers is approximately linear. [4]

Agricultural practices have often added to the water shortage problem in Africa more than anywhere else due to differences in property rights. More precisely, because farmers often do not own the land they work on, preserving natural resources is generally viewed as a secondary objective. In addition, pressures represented by increasing populations and changing technology add to the problem of land deterioration related to agricultural practices. Rainfall is an essential element of climate change in Nigeria and water resources potential in the country. [5]

Impact of climate change on livestock production.

The Northeast region of Nigeria, for instance, is increasingly becoming an arid environment at a high-speed rate per year, occasioned by a fast reduction in the amount of surface water, flora, and fauna resources on the land. [6]Conversely, some livestock, especially poultry, cannot withstand excessive cold, resulting in high mortality and infection rates.

Pigs and poultry become uncomfortable whenever there is excessive heat. Heat stress is hard on livestock, especially in combination with high humidity. High-temperature results in reduced semen quality, lower birth weights, extreme loss of water, lower mating effectiveness and intensity, decreased feed intake and appetite, increased water intake, lower hormone levels, and fertility rates. However, pasture and feed production will likely be affected as the drought-induced food deficit lengthens. Low rainfall causes poor pasture growth and may also lead to a decline in fodder supplies from crop residues. Insufficient levels of fodder lead to weight loss and increased deaths among stock. Herders put further pressure on limited local pastures and migrated themselves and their herds elsewhere, leading to farmers' herder conflicts and food production shortages.

Impact of Climate Change on crop production

The most immediate consequence of drought is a fall in crop production due to inadequate and poorly distributed rainfall. [7]A lack of rain can cause entire crops to fail or yield a poor yield, even for farmers who irrigate their fields. In turn, low crop production leads to losses in other industries that rely on agricultural products to stay in business. Drought increases prices for grains, feeds, and even grocery products. Furthermore, high Temperature causes a reduction in the quality of vegetables and fruits, a conducive environment for pathogens and vector growth, and a reduction in the quality of stored food and grains, etc.

A general reduction in soil water balance directly affects the quality of fruits and vegetables. Excessive rainfall leads to heavy flooding and erosion. Heavy flooding causes damage to infrastructure and crops and washes away productive topsoil. When the soil is waterlogged, there is usually a high risk of compaction and depletion of oxygen content. Anis is a significant problem in lowland rice fields during flooding and weed infestation on farmlands.

Impact of climate change on Fisheries

The low rainfall in recent years has resulted in reduced fish production. Many fisheries already face multiple stresses, including overfishing and water pollution. Climate change tends to worsen these stresses, causing the ranges of many fish and shellfish species to change.

Many aquatic species in search of colder areas of streams and lakes move into new areas that tend to put these species into competition with other species over food and other resources. Some marine disease outbreaks change the climate. Changes in Temperature and seasons can affect the timing of reproduction and migration. Temperature and seasonal change govern the lifecycle of marine animals. With other climate impacts, the effects lead to a significant decline in fish populations and production.

In addition, water bodies are gradually becoming more acidic due to increased atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2), which leads to a rise in acidity that causes harm to shellfish by weakening their shells and removing calcium from seawater.


Nigeria's climate has been changing, evident in:

· Increases in Temperature.

· Variable rainfall.

· Rise in sea level and flooding.

· Drought and desertification.

· Land degradation.

· More frequent extreme weather events.

· Affected freshwater resources and loss of biodiversity.

Therefore, mitigating or adapting to Climate Change requires site-specific strategies and responses. To sustainably contend with climate change, agricultural systems must address their contribution to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Agriculture is involved in activities to sustain productivity and reduce GHG emissions usually released into the atmosphere. It is, therefore, necessary to find ways to meet these challenges, increase agricultural production and sustain food systems for affected regions, countries, locations, and communities.

We advise farmers to adopt new methods of agriculture, such as irrigation, to reduce the effects of climate change in the country. The Nigerian agricultural sector already has many practices in place to adapt to a changing climate, including crop rotation and integrated pest management. Much research is also underway to help prepare for a changing environment.

Solutions to the problem of climate change on food production include the supply of clean and cool drinking water for livestock during drought and excessive heat; water management during drought is also necessary for some crops, such as rice and vegetables, to thrive well. Availability and accessibility of weather forecasts to enable proper preparedness of farmers towards mitigation of any related climate change risk.

The Nigerian government needs to prioritize agriculture by providing sufficient Agricultural funding for research and technology development. Agricultural productivity can be increased and sustained by developing environmentally sensitive farming technologies.


[1] Apata T.G., Samuel, K.D., and Adeola, A.O, 2009. Analysis of Climate Change Perception and Adaptation among Arable Food Crop Farmers in South Western Nigeria. Contributed Paper prepared for presentation at the International Association of Agricultural Economists'Economists' 2009 Conference, Beijing, China, August 16-22,209

[2] Ayinde, O. E., Ajewole, O. O., Ogunlade, I. and Adewumi, M.O. Empirical Analysis of Agricultural Production And Climate Change: A Case Study of Nigeria. Journal of Sustainable Development in Africa (Volume 12, No.6, 2010)

[3] FAO 2016 Climate change is a fundamental threat to global food security, sustainable development, and poverty eradication.

[4] Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), 2007: Climate Change 2007: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability. Contribution of Working Group II to the Third Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [Parry, Martin L., Canziani, Osvaldo F., Palutikof, Jean P., van der Linden, Paul J., and Hanson, Clair E. (eds.)]. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom, 1000 pp.

[5] Impact of Climate Change on Agricultural Production in Nigeria (

[6] Obioha E 2008. Climate change, population drift, and violent conflict over land resources in northeastern Nigeria. Journal of Human Ecology, 23(4): 311-324

[7] Nigerian Environmental Study Team (NEST), 2004; Regional Climate Modelling and Climate Scenarios Development in Support of Vulnerability and Adaptation Studies: Outcome of Regional Climate Modeling Efforts over Nigeria, NEST, Ibadan, Nigeria

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