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Exploring smallholders’ cultural beliefs and their implication for adaptation to climate change in North-Western Nigeria

Jellason, N. P. ORCID:, Conway, J. S. and Baines, R. N. (2020) Exploring smallholders’ cultural beliefs and their implication for adaptation to climate change in North-Western Nigeria. The Social Science Journal. ISSN 1873-5355

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1080/03623319.2020.1774720


This paper examined coping and adaptation strategies employed by smallholder farmers and their efficacy in response to climate change in Zango and Kofa communities in North-Western Nigeria. Three focus group discussions with 51 participants comprising men, women, and the youth, and 15 follow-up interviews were conducted in this study to understand the influence of cultural beliefs on climate change adaptation. Results show that to adapt, farmers borrow food from neighbours to repay in good season, use early maturing crops, sell livestock and other assets, engage in other businesses. Farmers also offer prayers and sacrifices based on the belief that climate change is caused by God. Thus, offering prayer and making sacrifices were very pronounced and found to be the dominant strategies farmers adopt in both communities which could potentially lead to less adaptation action thereby indirectly exposing the vulnerable communities to additional shocks. We found that most (50% and above) of the participating farmers in both communities had no access to any formal education which could affect their adaptation decisions. We concluded that farmers’ cultural beliefs and practices such as prayer influences their adaptation behaviour and therefore adaptation designs need to address cultural influences to avoid future maladaptive responses consequently exacerbating vulnerability.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Agriculture, Policy and Development > Economic and Social Sciences Division > Food Economics and Marketing (FEM)
ID Code:91858
Uncontrolled Keywords:Climate change vulnerability; cultural beliefs; adaptation; maladaptation; smallholders
Publisher:Taylor & Francis

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