Report and Opinion, 2011;3(5

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Organic Agriculture Practices for Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation in Ohaji Area of Imo State, Nigeria. Chikaire, J., Nnadi, F.N, and Nwakwasi, R.N Department of Agricultural Extension, School of Agriculture and Agricultural Technology, Federal University of Technology, Owerri. email: bankausta@ yahoo.com; nflorentus@yahoo.co.uk Abstract: Organic agriculture, as an adaptation strategy to climate change and variability, is a concrete and promising option for rural communities and has additional potential as a mitigation strategy. Adaptation and mitigation based on organic agriculture can build on well-established practice because organic agriculture is a sustainable livelihood strategy with decades of use in several climate zones under a wide range of specific local conditions. This research work entitled organic agriculture and climate change Adaptation and Mitigation is a short review of the importance of organic agriculture as strategy for climate change adaptation and mitigation. The study reveals the organic farming practices of the respondents as oppos ed to the conventional agriculture. The financial requirements of organic agriculture on adaptation or mitigation strategy are low. Because of use of traditional or indigenous knowledge, farmers spend less and practice crop rotation, use organic and compost manures and others. The study made use of structured questionnaire and oral interview. A total of 140 respondents were used for the study and data analyzed using descriptive statistics. The study reveals the plenty benefits of organic agriculture as a climate change adaptation and mitigation strategy such as avoidance of nutrient loss, lower N 2 O emissions, lower CO2 and lesser CO 2 emissions respectively. It was recommended that agricultural policy at all levels incorporate organic farming as a strategy for climate change adaptation and mitigation. [Chikaire, J., Nnadi, F.N, and Nwakwasi, R.N, Organic Agriculture Practices for Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation in Ohaji Area of Imo State, Nigeria. Report and Opinion 2011;3(5):1-6]. (ISSN: 1553-9873). http://www.sciencepub.net . Key Words: Adaptation, climate change, mitigation, organic agriculture, vulnerability. for instance, may render many current crops unfit for the area (Burton and Lim, 2005). Farmers in LDCs face st ark challenges. Nearly 60% of the populati on of LDCs are farmers, who contribute over 30% of the Gros s Domestic Product of thes e nations (Kandlikar and Risbey, 2000). Individual farmers in developing countries often rely on their production not onl y for income but as a main source of food. In a world in which millions of peopl e already go hungry, such losses are a matter of grave concern. Every effort must be made to prevent these losses, rather than focus on ways to cope after disaster has occurred. Many agricultural system s provide necessary environmental services that are als o vulnerable to the effects of global climate change. Climate change i s likely to disproportionately affect farmers in LDCs. Much research has indicated that marginali zed communities suffer t he most from altered environmental condi tions (Tompkins and Adger, 2004). Povert y already exist s in fragile arid and mountainous regi ons that may respond more quickly to climat e change (Alti eri and Nicholls, 2006). The IPCC nam es rainfal l variabi lity and rel ated di sast ers as "the singl e m ost det ermining factor

Introduction Climate change holds the potential to radically alter agro-ecosystems in the coming decades, and devastating crop failures arc already evident in several countries of the world. Global warming will not only increase global mean temperatures, but will also increase the frequency of extreme weather events and the variability of weather in general (Tompkins and Adger, 2004). We may expect changes in land vegetation, ocean circulation, sea surface temperature and global atmosphere composition, which will in turn impact rainfall patterns (Salinger, et al., 2005). These changes will bring new chall enges to farmers. The Intergovernm ental Panel on Climat e change (IPCC) expects that world production of food should rem ain steady through the next century with less certainty beyond that point (Burton and Lim, 2005). Other sources are more cautious, warning that climate change may depress yiel ds in already food-insecure areas or t ha t previous changes in global climate have had negative impacts on production as a whole (Fuhrer, 2003; Tompkins and Adger, 2004). Even if overall production remains high, certain regions wil l experi ence devas tating declines. Tem perature increases in the tropics, http://www.sciencepub.net/report

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Indeed. 2007).the organic agriculture paradigm. global cereal output is declining. today's total global agricultural production is sufficient to feed the current world population and both necessary technologies and multilateral environment and conservation need (Scialabba.Report and Opinion. hunger. 2006). 2006).sciencepub.and small holders in general . poverty and environmental degradation persist even as concerns about global human security issues continue to increase. Farm ers in devel oping countries need tool s to help them adapt to these new conditions. accessible opportunities to strengthen their farms’ resilience. the concept al so includes the farm's dependence on its own resources instead of http://www. Communities as a whole increase their resilience when they develop information and support networks to handle new challenges (Tompkins and Adger. Resili ence has been described as a system's abi li ty to maintain normal functions in the lace of unexpected conditions. However. 2007). 2004). the last decades provide uncompromising evidence of diminishing returns on grains despite the rapid increase of chemical pesticide and fertilizer applications resulting in lower confidence that these high input technologies will provide for equitable household and national food security in the next decades (Sanders. Various types of adaptation can be distinguished. It is based on enhancing soil fertility and diversity at all levels and make soils less susceptible to erosion.(ITC/FiBL. Perhaps the most certain feature of global climate change is its unpredictability. which moderates harm or exploits benefici al opport unities . overgrazing and widespread use of practices that result in soil degradation. They must boost the capacity of agricultural production of adapt to more unpredictable and extreme weather conditions such as droughts and floods. These changes in land use contribute considerably to global CO 2 emissions. 2011. 2003. Organic farming links productivity with ecology and creates livelihoods in rural areas: it is a surprisingly multifaceted option. Farmers in developed countries may include in their response to climate change increased inputs such as s yntheti c fertilizers and pesticides and capital investm ents in irrigati on and to help then crops survive.net/report external inputs and the farmer's ability to experiment with different practices and learn what works best (Mileslead and Darnhofet. 2004).have a much smaller set of options and must rely to the greatest extent possible on resources available on their farms and within their communities. Adaptation in agricult ure i s certainl y not new. although there has been a reduction in the percentage of under-nourished (FAO. the committee on World Food Security assessed the food situation in September 2006. Sustainable agriculture and food supply systems are thus more urgently needed than ever before. with the due knowledge of ecological processes. However. Changing weather has always concerned farm ers. offers farmers in LDCs many affordable. as it is unknown which regions will lace longer dry spell s and which will face heavier monsoons. 2005). farmers must be able to increase t heir farms' resili ence to change." As so many of the changes cannot be foretold specifically. they hone skills necessary to adapt to climate change as well (Tompkins and Adger. Moreover. World wide under-nourishment is not explained only by a lack of food availability as several causes of hardship lie outside the agricultural sector.. It emphasizes recycling techniques and low external input and high output strategies. there is need to seek new solutions to address the problems posed by growing populations (and disparities) and environmental degradation through new paradigms for agriculture and food supply chains. The phenomenon of gl obal cl imate change makes the abilit y to adapt even more important. private and public adaptation. Wall and Smith. and they have developed ways t o res pond. 2007: Sanders 2007). In addition intensive agricultural has led to deforestation. IPCC (2001) defines adapt ation to cli mate change s pecificall y as "adjustm ent in natural or human s yst ems in response to actual or expected climati c sti muli or their effects . the number of undernourished has remained virtually unchanged since 1990-92. Organic agriculture is the most sustainable approach in food production. Applied to agriculture. which regions will face longer dry spells and which will face heavier monsoons.3(5) http://www. reduce greenhouse gas emissions in primary food production and halt or reverse carbon losses in soils. The specific objectives of the study were (i) to describe the socio-economic characteristics of the respondents. as adaptation will need to occur at a much fas ter pace. Over all.net/report endangering agricult ural producti on in devel oping count ri es" (Stigt er. Farmers in developing countries . including anticipatory and reactive adaptation. (ii) to identify organic farming 2 reportopinion@gmail. 2005). The study aims to outline the benefits of organic agriculture as a climate change adaptation strategy.sciencepub. during their 32nd session and acknowledged that the World Food summit target of halving the number of hungry people by 2015 will not be met. OA. et al. mainly among the major producing and exporting countries (FAO. In the light of the above. and autonomous and planned adaptation. Ten to twelve percent of global greenhouse gas emissions are due to human food production. As farmers observe conditions and develop responses to current challenges. Agriculture is not only affected by climate change but also contributes to it. which regions will face stronger cyclones and which regions may be spared.com .

1% attended tertiary institution.1% and 50. Organic agriculture lower risks of crop failure with 100%.1% of them are widowers. 1992: FGN. Another benefit is the less C0 2 emissions through erosion due to better soil structure and more plant cover with 91. while 14. Again. Reduction in the cost of inputs is another benefit with 78.3%). followed by hand picking of insects with 71.3% have 1 title while 1. use of compost (59.6%.Report and Opinion. The table also reveals that 70. Descriptive statistics were used to analyze the data collected.4% within 41-50 years. They are followed by 26.4%. on the borders of fields protects fields from strong winds and storms. Organic Agriculture Practices The result in table 2 shows 96. The use of green manure had 88. and soil carbon sequestration through management practices such as organic manure application.5% have adult education. Data collection was by use of structured questionnaire and interview schedule for key informants.sciencepub.9% have a family size of about 1-6 members and 21.3%. Ohaji/Egbema has a total population of about 192.8%. while 14. About 98. use of air-tight container for storage (42. while 7.4%). 891 persons in 2011 projected from 2009 official gazette.sciencepub.3(5) http://www. such as trees and hedgerows.7% have 2-3 leadership titles.3% did not receive by extension agent. Crop rotation followed as the second major organic farming practice with 92.7%). 2011.8% each.3% of the respondents are within the age brackets of 51-60 years.7% respectively are also benefits of organic agriculture for climate change adaptation and mitigation. The six villages has an estimated number of 1400 households obtained from the village heads.3%. 57. while the ones who burn said they add ash to the soil by burning. Organic agriculture lowers C0 emissions from 2 farming systems inputs (pesticides. Imo State occupies a land mass of about 5. Cover crops help hold the soil in place during fallow periods. and mixed cropping with 64. It can be seen that because majority did not receive formal education they prefer nature faming. Permanent vegetation.7% respectivel y. Results and Socio-economic Characteristics of Respondents. Discussion The result in table 1 shows that 39. the farmers sun dry their produce as shown by 78. Methodology This study was conducted in six villages in Ohaji Area of Imo State. Interview with key informants revealed that the farmers do not burn for fear of killing the soil microbes. 69. A total of 140 households were randomly selected from the list.7% of the respondents have a family size of 7-12 members.4%. use of intercrops etc with 57. fertilizers produced using fossil fuel) with 53. The state has a total of twenty -seven Local Government Area out of which Ohaji was selected for the study being an agricultural area.8%). and slash and burn with (35.7% of the sampled farmers are married. followed by reduction in the indebtedness of the farmers with 71.4% have 4 titles.7%. use of adaptable local crop variety. soil moisture retention and restoration of productivity of degraded soil with 85. Hoeing and hand weeding (52. Again.8%).8%. while 32.com .4% have more than 13 members.%.4% of the farmers use organic manure as a major organic farming practice.6% and intercropping recorded 85.927. Nigeria because the six villages practice organic agriculture.net/report practices of the respondents and (iii) to identify the benefits of organic agriculture as a climate change adaptation and mitigation strategy. Protection of soil from erosion. and planting of cover crop and legumes with 75%. Others are increase in diversity of income sources.5%. 2009).3% and 5% attended primary and secondary schools respectively.6% are young people who seek greener pastures outside the agricultural sect or.% respectively. The table also shows that 78. while 7. 45. Instead of using machines and equipment for drying of farm produce. Others are tilling with stick (60. Such vegetation also provides benefits for biodiversity.4%. 60. While the visit of extension agent helped majority as well to embrace organic farming. only 2.0%). About 26% are above 60 years while 8. 25. use of leaves as mulching materials (56. http://www.1% being widows.8% have been visited by extension agent. 563 million persons in 2011 (NARP. The understanding here comes from the regular extension contacts with farmers and the fact that culturally they are used to the practices Benefits of Organic Agriculture Table 3 reveals the various benefits of organic agriculture as a climate change adaptation strategy.net/report 3 reportopinion@gmail. followed by avoidance of nutrient exploitation and lower N2 0 emissions due to lower nitrogen input with 92.3% is another benefit. Increased soil organic matter content with 89.530 square kilometers with a total population of about 3. Imo State is in the South East Zone of Nigeria. with 22.

3(5) http://www.4 Educational level Adult education 110 78.4 51-60 55 61 36 39.7 7.6 26.Socioeconomic Characteristics of Respondents ________________________________________________________________________ Characteristics Frequency* ________________________________________________________________________ Percentage Age 31-40 12 41-50 37 8.1 Married 99 Widower 10 70.3 2-3 36 4 and 2 25.net/report Table 1 .8 No 10 _______________________________________________________________________ 7.7and above 21. 2011.4 Extension contact Yes 130 92.9 7-12 64 13 30 45.sciencepub.net/report 4 reportopinion@gmail.sciencepub.3 5.com .6 14.Report and Opinion.7 above 1.7 Family size 1-6 46 32.5 Primary 20 Secondary 7 14.3and above 25.0 Tertiary 3 Marital status 2.3 Widow 31 22.3 *Multiple response http://www.1 Leadership status None 82 One 20 51.

3(5) http://www. Production in organic agriculture system is thus less prone to extreme weather conditions.0 _____________________________________________________________ *Multiple response Tables 3: Benefits of Organic Agriculture for Adaptation and Mitigation ___________________________________________________________________ Benefits Frequency* _____________________________________________________________________ Percentage Avoidance of nutrient exploitation 130 Increase soil organic matter content 125 92.8 71.7 Legume/Cover crop planting 105 75.3 Reduce input costs of farming 110 Lower risks of crop failure 140 78. such as drought.8 Sun drying of farm produce 110 78.4 of organic manures Use 135 Intercropping 120 96. 2011.net/report Table 2: Organic Farming Practices of _____________________________________________________________________ Respondents Organic farming practices Frequency* ______________________________________________________________________ Percentage Crop rotation 130 Mixed 90 64.4 of adaptable local crop varieties Use 80 Lower 130 57.6 of green manure 88. including biodiversity.com . biological pest control without the use of synthetic pesticide and fertilizers. School of Agriculture and Agricultural Technology. Federal University of Technology. 08065928862.1 N2 O emissions 92. compost.4 59.5 Soil 70 Protect soil for erosion 120 50.com .7 60. Conclusion Organic agriculture is a holistic production management system which promotes and enhances agro-ecosystem health.0 85.3 picking of insects Use of leaves as mulcting materials 100 71. and soil biological activity.4 85.8 89.0 of air-light containers for storage Use 60 42.7 69.Report and Opinion.net/report 5 reportopinion@gmail.sciencepub. Owerri bankausta@yahoo.3 ______________________________________________________________________ *Multiple response Corresponding Chikaire.4 2 CO carbon sequestration (organic manure use) 83.3 92.8 and burn Slash 50 Tillage with sticks 84 35.7 moisture Retention Soil 97 Restores productivity of degraded soil 85 60. It relies on crop rotation.4 Hoeing/weed removal by hand 74 52.7 Tree/hedges planting 78 55. Author: J .6 of compost Use 83 Hand 79 56. Department of Agricultural Extension.8 cropping Mixed farming 75 Use 124 53.8 Less emissions through erosion 128 2 Lower emissions (during fossil fuel use) 117 CO 91.sciencepub.5 100 Increase diversity of income sources 81 Reduce farmers indebtedness 100 57. green manure. http://www.

pdf) ITF/FIBL Organic Farming and Climate Change. 13.ch/pub/un/syreng/spm . Climatic Change. (available at www. (2009) Official Gazette.logging. W. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. ipcc. and Adger.. N. of Burton. Forestry to Climate Variability and Change: Workshop Summary and Recommendations. and water.sciencepub. Berkeley. Green Food and Organic Agriculture in China. (2007). Rome. Pp. Stigter. Kandlikar. Zaria Salinger. (available at www. L. To be successful.html). (2005). (2007) International trade Centre/Research Institute of Organic Agriculture FIBL). Activities and Extension in Southeast Nigeria. M.com . R.. Assessment of the World Food Security Situation. J. Building Farm Resilience: the Prospects and Challenges of Organic Farming. Journal of Sustainable Agriculture 22(3): 8 1-97. M. Geneva. UK. and B. Darnhofer. 2003. CA.. C. In Development and Change37 (1): 207-226. Switzerland. Z. B.3(5) http://www. Climate Change 2001 Synthesis Report: A Summary for Policymakers. 70(1-2): 19 1-200.sciencepub. 45(3-4): 529-539. Lim. Nicholls. The Calendar of Agricultural (1992).J. FGN. (2006). Vol. Sivakumar. Adaptive Management of Natural Resources enhance Does Resilience to Climate Change? Ecology and Society. I.(2004).O. Climatic Change. Scialabba. 04/05/2011 http://www. USA.K. No. risk-reduction strategies. & R. Ozone. M. Food and Agriculture Organization. Agricultural Impacts of Climate Change: if Adaptation is the answer. and C. Abuja.E.ecologyandsociety.. Agricultural policies at both national and local levels should prominently support organic agriculture as an adaptation and mitigating strategy.L. what is the question? Climatic Change. Agro-ecosystem Responses to Combinations of Elevated CO 2 . FAO.J. Rome Agriculture Fuhrer. (2006). R.orglvol9/iss2/artl 0/main. Achieving Adequate Adaptation in Agriculture.N. Blackwell Publishing. University California. (2000). Food and Organization. Dawei. Using Traditional Methods and Indigenous Technologies for Coping with Climate Variability. Agroecology and the search for a truly sustainable Agriculture. M. 97(1): 1-20. Wembley. and Global Climate Change. 70(1-2): 255-271. and J. (2001). 27(1). Tompkins. References Altieri. Food and Agriculture Organization. 290 pp. NARP. and Smith. A Market Road to Sustainable Agriculture? Ecological Agriculture. E. Climatic Change. Organic Agriculture and Food Security . (2005). 9(2). Mid-Term Review of the World Food Achieving Target .net/report 6 reportopinion@gmail. (2005). Federal 2.N. USA. Risbey. Climate Change Adaptation in Light of Sustainable Agriculture. and I. 70(1-2): 341-362.V. Xurong. Rome. CFS/2007/2.N. and M. E. National Agricultural Research Project. Sanders. Institute of Social Studies.Report and Opinion. Ecosystems and Environment. Reducing Vulnerability of Agriculture and (2005). Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. 2011. FAO (2006). 1.Z. Milestead. Motha. wider recognition of the potentials of organic agriculture is essential. (2007). Risk management. Wall. Government of Nigeria. (2003)..net/report flooding. and economic diversification to build residence are also prominent aspects of adaptation. The coping capacity of the farms is increased and the risk of indebtedness is lowered. Higher farm incomes are thus possible due to lower input costs and higher sale prices. Onyewotu. Journal of Sustainable Agriculture.. Summit CFS/2006/3.