Do rice farmers have knowledge of greenhouse gas emission mitigation strategies? New evidence from Nigeria

 Esiobu Nnaemeka Success, Björn Ole Sander, Jauhar Ali et al.   |  

The greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) from rice fields contribute significantly to global warming and climate change. Therefore, mitigating emissions from rice fields is critical to limiting global warming, increasing yield, and income, ensuring food security, and improving the standard of living for farmers and all. Understanding farmers’ knowledge of GHG emissions and mitigation strategies is among the crucial starting points for deciding what steps should be made to mitigate emissions from rice fields and produce rice in a cleaner environment.

Millions of families throughout the world depend on rice, the second-most popular food crop (behind wheat) to meet their dietary calorie needs. According to projections, the demand for rice will increase by 56% by the end of 2050 compared to the production level of 25.1 million tons in 2001 as a result of the population growth rate.

A large increase in rice production is required to supply this need on a worldwide scale. In Nigeria, rice is a primary staple grain and is consumed in large quantities by all households including the affluent and poor. The structural rise in rice consumption over the years, with consumption spreading across all socioeconomic strata, including the poor, appears to have been caused by a confluence of many variables.

The rise in demand could be a result of rising income levels and population increase as well as the food’s convenience in terms of preparation, storage, and calorie availability. Rice is critical in Nigeria from separate vantage points: first, in terms of the number of calories (2.06kg) it provides per person and day; 24.80 kg of calories per annum and second, based on the value of income it generates through its various local production value chains. Meeting the increased demand for rice consumption in Nigeria requires increased production.

Also in Nigeria, the growing demand for rice exceeds supply, resulting in a rice deficit, with smuggled rice filling the expanding gap between domestic production and consumption, with about 2.0 million metric tons smuggled into Nigeria by the end of 2022. The efforts of the most populous nation in Africa to provide food security will be jeopardized by any reduction in rice output brought on by climate change impact and global warming.

Therefore, describing how climate change affects rice production, GHG emissions mitigation strategies and farmers’ knowledge are the kernels of this study. The Southeast region of Nigeria, the most populous nation in Africa, produces a significant amount of rice.

The majority of households in the area rely on rice farming as their main source of nutrition and agricultural revenue to survive. Even though rice is crucial to the rural economy of Southeast Nigeria, GHG emissions from rice fields are endangering its production, health, and environment.

Currently, due to the present objective of the Federal Government of Nigeria on the diversification of its economy, reducing food insecurity, and import restriction, rice is grown in almost 36 states including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) under diverse production systems and agro-climatic conditions.

Rice is traditionally produced in soggy paddy soils. Scientific communities have been concerned about rice paddies because they create dangerous and persistent GHGs, primarily methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O). Rice fields release around 30% and 11% of the world’s agricultural emissions of CH4 and N2O, respectively. CH4 global warming potential (GWP) is 34 while N2O is 298 more than carbon dioxide (CO2).In addition, anthropogenic N2O is thought to be the main cause of acid rain.

Understanding farmers’ knowledge of GHG emissions and mitigation strategies is among the crucial starting points for deciding what steps should be made to mitigate emissions from rice fields and produce rice in a cleaner environment.

Reducing GHG emissions and water use in rice fields is critical for combating climate change, and increasing the yield, income, and standard of living of the farmers. Some of the GHG emission mitigation strategies in rice fields include alternate wetting and drying, system of rice intensification, changing tillage operations, nitrogen fertilizer management, residue management, and aerobic rice varieties.

A key factor in deciding what steps should be made to mitigate the adverse impacts of climate change on rice productivity and the environment is the amount of awareness that rice farmers have regarding GHG emissions.

Although studies on the link between GHG emissions in rice fields are increasing, there remains a dearth of empirical evidence on farmers’ knowledge of GHG emissions and the different mitigation strategies. Hence, the specific objectives of this study were to (i) describe the socio-economic characteristics of the rice farmers in the area and (ii) ascertain rice farmers’ knowledge level of GHG mitigation strategies.

Understanding farmers’ knowledge of GHG emissions and mitigation strategies is among the crucial starting points for deciding what steps should be made to mitigate emissions from rice fields and produce rice in a cleaner environment.

The mean age of Nigerian farmers was 45 years. Most were male with an average farm size of 1.53 hectares. The land is one of the essential productive inputs in rice farming. When farmers have a limited land size, it increases farm production and may make the mitigation of GHG emissions unattainable.

Most of the rice farmers were visited at least twice per year by the extension agents in the area. This is quite poor and could negatively affect rice farmers’ mitigation efforts against GHG emissions in the area. Extension contact improves farmers’ access to recent information, expertise, and knowledge on contemporary farming techniques to raise their yield, income, and standard of living.

Read the study:
Success EN,  OS Björn, Ali J. (2023) Do rice farmers have knowledge of greenhouse gas emission mitigation strategies? New evidence from Nigeria. Asian Journal of Agricultural Extension, Economics & Sociology Volume 41, Issue 9,

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