Assessment of potential impacts of climate change on agricultural development in the Lower Benue River Basin
Agriculture in the Lower Benue River Basin faces several challenges which threaten the future of agricultural development. This study was an assessment of potential impacts of climate change on agricultural development in the Lower Benue River Basin. Through analysis of physical and socioeconomic parameters, the study adapted an impact assessment model to rank potential impacts on agricultural development in the study area. Rainfall intensity seemed to be increasing with a gradual reduction in the number of rainy days. The average discharge at Makurdi hydrological station was 3468.24 cubic metres per second (m3 s−1), and the highest peak flow discharge was 16,400 m3 s−1. The daily maximum temperature and annual temperature averages for the study area are gradually rising leading to increased heat stress. Physical and chemical analyses showed that the soils are moderately fertile but require effective application of inorganic and organic fertilisers. The main occupational activities in the study area are agricultural based. The identified potential impacts of climate change on agriculture were categorised under atmospheric carbon dioxides and oxides, rainfall intensity, frequency of floods and droughts, temperature intensity and variation, heat stress, surface water trends, and soil quality and fertility. The identified potential impacts related to population dynamics on agriculture were categorised under population growth, rural-urban migration, household income and infectious diseases and HIV and AIDS. Community-level mitigation strategies were proffered. Policy makers are advised to promote irrigation farming, support farmers with farm inputs and credit facilities and establish active agricultural extension services to support the sustainable development of agriculture.
KeywordsClimate change Population growth Sustainability Modelling ISO 14001 HIV
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