David Olufemi Awolala, AFFP Research Fellow, is working on IDRC funded research titled “Future Risk Preparedness and Early Decision Action: Investigating Contribution of Adaptation Finance for Using Weather Forecast Information to facilitate Rural Resilience in Nigeria”. Preliminary evidences are hereby presented from rural households’ survey data obtained from food crop farmers, farming groups’ leaders comprises both men and women and maize marketing associations at the study sites.
Rationale for the study: Access to weather services is of tremendous significance in risk management decision-making literature. Rural households have long relied on traditional weather monitoring in managing losses and damages to weather shocks, unfortunately however, increasing uncertainties in weather events have rendered indigenous knowledge obsolete. Inadequate weather tracking infrastructure and renewed interest in future risk preparedness and early action has raised prospect of attracting adaptation finance to facilitate access and utilization of value-added weather information as a decision support tool for climate-resilient adaptation plans. In line with the Nigeria’s Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) of COP 21 Paris Agreement, weather and climate information service is foremost as safety net to enable smallholder population take climate resilient decisions. The study addresses access and use of weather forecast information in decision-makings, the most useful kind of forecast information what will trigger early adaptation decision action, and how adaptation finance is facilitating use of value-added forecasts towards farmers’ resilience.
Study Methodology: Nigerian case in the African tropics was studied in the middle savannah belt, comprises the sudan and guinea savannah zones of Nigeria. Multi-stage sampling technique was used to sample 313 farmers as the final sampling units from the two savannahs. In the sudan savannah, 2 local government areas (with and without weather station) and likewise in the guinea savannah, 2 local government areas (with and without weather station) were purposively selected. 15 communities were purposively selected due to their active participation in adopting agricultural innovations previously introduced by the agricultural extension personnel. Further, information was further elicited from respondents using 15 Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) conducted across the 15 sampled communities. There was 4 FGDs with women farmers, 8 FGDs with farmers’ groups and 3 FGDs with maize markers’ association. There was also personal interviews conducted with some village Heads, officials of States’ Ministry of Agriculture and the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet)to help various validate farm level data.
Preliminary findings: Access to weather information is poor in the middle savannah belt, given that 68% have no access except 32% which have access to scientific weather forecasts which signals threat to future risk preparedness and serious limitation for farmers’ decisions capacity to take early warning or adaptation decision actions in the drylands. Weighted Average Index (WAI) shows that rainfall probability in terms of onset data and cessation date, is the most important weather forecast information to farmers in the drylands. Onset date is the most highly profiled weather information that is needed to adopt delayed planting and drought resilient varieties. Dry spell distribution is needed to adapt with minimum tillage and cover cropping practices. Length of growing season is needed to take decision on early maturing varieties. Heckman probit selection results reveal that in the sudan savannah; education, access to extension services and ownership of a mobile handset are major drivers of access to weather information, however in the guinea savannah; gender, length of farmers’ experience, access to extension services, market linkage, number of dry spells experience, access to advisory weather information and access to local weather interpretations are major factors determining farmers access to weather information.
Marginal impact analysis from heckman probit at p-value of 0.0002 shows that based on access to weather information, the probability that a male farmer increases taking climate resilient decision by 23.3%, length of farming experience increases resilient decision by 11.73% and persistent erratic rainfall increases taking resilient decision by 21.7% in sudan savannah. However, persistent erratic rainfall increases taking resilient decision by 35.9% and farther distance of weather station increases resilient decision by 11.6% in guinea savannah.
Conclusions and Policy Issues: At farmers level, there is need to develop initiative that will harness male farmers as effective channel of communicating agro-weather information in savannah areas. Improved rural education services will assist low and uneducated farmers in understanding agricultural impacts of weather forecast results. Access to bank credit, subsidized weather services and market linkages will help facilitate climate resilient decision-making processes in the drylands. At institutional level, professional partnership and coordination between the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET) and the Agricultural Extension Development Programme of States’ Ministry of Agriculture will enable provision of weather services which match farmers’ needs for resilient decision actions. Market linkages should be strengthened as communication feedback mechanisms in reaching farming households with up-to-date weather services. The Nigerian Meterorological Agency (NiMet) should consider stakeholders’ participation in developing location specific and value-added weather information that make sense to farmers, hence taking early actions. The study hereby calls policy drive that will increase adaptation finance and investments to subsidize weather services for telecoms industries and more installations of Automatic Weather Stations (AWS) by NiMet to meet up present national plans to meet the required number of installed AWS as recommended by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). Policy attention on these study outcomes will make adaptation finance work for using weather forecast information towards strengthening farmers’ resilience in Nigeria.