Effect of Climate Change on Crop Productivity and Prices in Benue State, Nigeria: Implications for Food Security

Effect of Climate Change on Crop Productivity and Prices in Benue State, Nigeria: Implications for Food Security

Goodness C. Aye (University of Agriculture Makurdi, Nigeria) and Ruth F. Haruna (University of Agriculture Makurdi, Nigeria)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2733-6.ch012


The chapter is aimed at assessing the effect of climate change on crop productivity and prices in Benue State, Nigeria. Time series data on selected output of crops (maize, rice, sorghum, yam, millet, groundnut, beans, and cassava), area planted, price, and climate variables such as rainfall, temperature, and sea level were used. Due to differing periods in data availability, this study used the time period 1995-2009 for analysis, in order to maintain a common period for all the series. First, the trend of productivity, prices, and climate change was analyzed using visual plots and results indicate some level of variability in these series over time. Second, a three stage least square regression was used to simultaneously analyze the effect of climate change on productivity and prices. Results show that climate change had significant impact on the productivity of millet, sorghum, cassava, and groundnut while it had significant impact only on the price of maize. These findings have important implications for food security situation in Benue State, Nigeria.
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There is no doubt that the earth is warming thus resulting in climate change over the past century and future change is envisaged. This has been attributed to human activities such as the use of fossil fuels to produce energy, coupled with unsustainable agricultural and land use practices. Climate change is a major environmental challenge to the world today, with significant threats to ecosystems, food security, water resources and overall economic stability (CAB International [CABI], 2010). IPCC (2007) indicates that rising temperatures, drought, floods, desertification and weather extremes will severely affect agriculture, especially in the developing world. Thus, changes in climatic factors like temperature, precipitation, snowfall, wind, windstorm, flooding etc. have the potential to irreversibly damage the natural resource base on which agriculture depends, and in general adversely affect agricultural productivities, which may consequently threaten the food security of nations. The last couple of years has been a period of increased food prices, thus increasing the number of people going to bed hungry at night to over one billion (CABI, 2010). The underlying causes of increases in food prices are complex. However, this has been partly attributed to poor harvests due to an increasingly variable climate and the use of food crops for biofuels. In agriculture, both temperature and precipitation are dominant climatic factors that affect crop yield and prices, which vary widely throughout the year and over time (Alexandrov & Hoogenboom, 2000). In a study by Brockett, Wang, and Yang (2005), it was indicated that for all industries including agriculture, manufacturing, and services; the role of change in temperature alone contributes more than 90% amongst all climatic factors followed by rainfall as a second dominant factor.

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