Environmental Challenges and Linkages to Smallholder Agriculture in the Nigerian drylands: Implications for Food Security

  • Patrick N. Jellason

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


Dryland smallholders of Nigeria have successfully lived with environmental challenges and past experiences will help prepare them for future climatic variations. However, predicted changes will exceed collective experiences, and these communities are thus more likely to be at risk. This work focused on co-developing science-informed Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) with smallholders as mitigative and adaptive solutions for resilience to climate changes. Mixed methods were employed; including: a Delphi study of GAPs with experts; baseline survey of smallholders’ existing practices; in-depth interviews; focus group discussions; pre-and post-participatory training surveys; Theory of Planned Behaviour survey and stakeholder engagement. Data were collected from a total of 220 respondents in two drylands communities (Kofa and Zango- hotter and drier) in North-West Nigeria. Quantitative data were analysed using descriptive statistics, Principal Component Analysis (PCA), and Multiple Regression. Qualitative data were thematically analysed using Nvivo. Zango households perceived increased temperatures while Kofa households perceived reduced rainfall and drought as the signs of climatic fluctuations; farmers lacked water and soil fertility management practices important for resilience promotion. The pre- and post-co-learning surveys indicated improved confidence to manage environmental challenges leading to resilience. Attitude towards behaviour and subjective norm were the most important determinants of intention (p < 0.05) to adapt to environmental change in Kofa while only attitude was important in Zango. Thus, households were more likely to integrate adaptation into their farming practices when the climate is perceived to be changing. Extension knowledge gaps exist and a new model of extension was proposed; however, fatalistic belief in God as the cause of climate and environmental change could leave the communities vulnerable. The original contributions of this thesis include the development of a framework for transitioning vulnerable farmers to be more resilient, and the farmer segmentation model. Further studies are needed to consider detailed exploration of farmer behaviour towards decision-making for adaptation.
Date of Award2018
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Coventry University
  • Royal Agricultural University
SupervisorRichard N Baines (Supervisor) & John S. Conway (Supervisor)

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