Towards a Systemic Analysis of the Impacts of Climate Change on Agricultural Production in Nigeria

Laura Schmitt Olabisi, Saweda Liverpool-Tasie, Adeola Olajide. 2016. Towards a Systemic Analysis of the Impacts of Climate Change on Agricultural Production in Nigeria. Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Food Security Policy Research Paper 21. East Lansing: Michigan State University

The impacts of climate change on the agricultural sector in Nigeria going forward are expected to be severe, but so far there is a dearth of systemic analysis of how these impacts would develop over time, or how they would interact with other drivers impacting Nigerian agriculture. Such a systemic analysis could contribute to adaptation efforts by identifying policy mechanisms that serve as system ‘levers’ to effect change given the considerable uncertainty associated with both the socio-economic and ecological aspects of climate change. This study begins to provide a systematic analysis of the impact of climate change on agricultural production in Nigeria using a participatory research method. We convened a workshop of key stakeholders with diverse and in-depth knowledge of Nigerian agriculture in Ibadan, Nigeria, in June, 2016. Using a causal loop diagramming (CLD) technique, we grouped these stakeholders by region and led them through an exercise in which they drew diagrams depicting the barriers to, and opportunities for, Nigerian agricultural development. CLD is a method used in system dynamics modeling, and it is effective for identifying causal relationships between variables as well as feedback mechanisms. As expected, there were interesting differences across the 6 geopolitical zones of Nigeria reflecting their agro ecological differences.

However, all groups identified at least one reinforcing feedback loop linked to agricultural productivity. This indicates a current ‘low productivity trap’—low productivity levels reinforcing a state of low productivity—which could potentially turn into self-reinforcing productivity gains with some systemic interventions. There was also a clear indication of other environmental factors (separate but linked to climate change) affecting Nigerian agriculture. This indicates the need to evaluate the combined impact of multiple environmental drivers, rather than attributing all potential impacts to climate change.

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