Article : Indigenous Mitigation And Adaptation Strategy To Drought And Environmental Changes In Nigerian Section Of Lake CHAD Basin

Title

Indigenous Mitigation And Adaptation Strategy To Drought And Environmental Changes In Nigerian Section Of Lake CHAD Basin

Author

JOSHUA, Jonah Kunda, EKWE, Michael Chibuike

The purpose of this paper is to examine the indigenous techniques of copping with drought by the farmers of Southern Chad Irrigation Scheme in the Nigerian portion of Lake Chad Basin with the intent of proposing a practical and effective drought mitigation plan based on these identified practices. Data for the study was obtained from questionnaires administered to collect primary data on the socio-economic activities and drought coping strategies of 156 respondents using systematic random sampling technology in Baga (in the north of the Basin) and Southern Irrigation Chad project around Marte (in the south of the Basin). Discussions were held with farmers and fisher men in about eight farms per village. The strategies with which local communities are responding to the increasingly unfavorable environment of the basin were evaluated. These were done with a view to providing an understanding of the dynamics of land and water usages in the area. The findings of the study revealed that farmers in the area perceived drought as the most serious ecological problem that occurs with more than 70% of the respondents ranked the 1972/1973 drought as the worst ever and called it ‘Bangabanga’ in Hausa, while 86% of the respondents believed drought occurrence is the will of Allah. The study also revealed that 23% of the respondents participate in rain fed and dry season farming as adaptation strategy. These respondents indicate that dry season farming is more profitable than the risky rain fed farming because of continues variation in the number; amount and duration of rain fall in the area. Other survival strategies adapted by the inhabitants include; cultivation of recession land, mixed farming, the use of Streams, wells and ponds, delayed farmland clearance, supplementing their major economic activity with a minor activities such as buying and selling of agricultural and non-agricultural goods during the dry season, hand craft, and the selling of fuel wood to adapt to the continue fluctuation of fresh water resources which mostly affect their socio-economic activities in the area. However, none of these strategies addressed the fundamental issue of decline in water supply. A comprehensive drought mitigation plan that will coordinate and incorporate effectively the indigenous techniques of the farmers needs to be evolved. It is also expedient that some sensitization campaigns on the need to adapt drought resistant hybrid and high yielding seedlings needs to be organized for the farmers.

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