YAHAYA, Olanrewaju Yusuf (2018-02)


Desertification poses one of the greatest environmental challenges in Nigeria. It accounts for 73% of the estimated total cost of US$5.110 billion the country loses to environment degradation annually. More than 30 million people in the desertification frontline states including Katsina are estimated to be affected by the impact of desertification. The rural population that rely on dry lands ecosystem for farming are likely to be more vulnerable to the menace of desertification. This study therefore examined the vulnerability and adaptation of rural farm households to desertification in Katsina State of Nigeria. The specific objectives were to: (i) identify farm households‘ perception of the causes of desertification; (ii) assess the effects of desertification on farm households‘ livelihood; (iii) determine the degree of vulnerability of farm households to desertification; (iv) examine the factors influencing household‘s vulnerability to desertification; and (v) identify adaptation strategies for mitigating the effects of desertification among farm households. Data were collected from both primary and secondary sources. A systematic random sampling technique was employed to select 633 respondents in 18 rural communities from the six local government areas selected for the study. Data were collected on the perception, exposure, effects, vulnerability and adaptation strategies of the sampled households to desertification. Vulnerability Index was used to classify households into less, moderate and highly vulnerable. Tobit Model was used to determine the factors influencing farm households‘ vulnerability to desertification. The findings of the study were that: i. climate change (73.5%), deforestation (71.7%), environmental mismanagement (64.3%), and act of God (65.2%) were the perceived causes of desertification among the farm households; ii. decreased use of ground water (88.9%), low income from farm produce (66.7%), declining crop yields (63%), and extinction of flora and fauna species (59.3%) were the effects of desertification in the study area; iii. vulnerability to desertification varied from one Local Government Area to the other. The vulnerability index showed that Jibia L.G.A was less vulnerable (1.228), Kaita L.G.A. (0.523), Mashi L.G.A. (0.756) and Mai‘adua L.G.A. (0.685) were moderately vulnerable while Zango L.G.A. (-1.629) and Baure L.G.A. (-1.405) were highly vulnerable; iv. age of household head, farming status, educational level, size of the household, access to credit facilities and access to non-farm income (p < 0.05) were the factors influencing vulnerability of farm households to desertification; and v. planting of drought tolerant crops (95%), intercropping (94%), early planting (81%), liquidating accumulated assets (73%) and manure application (50.2%) were the major adaptive strategies employed by farm households. The study concluded that most of the farm households of the study area were vulnerable to desertification. The study therefore recommended the need to encourage livelihood diversification and intensified efforts toward effective management of environmental resources by respective governmental agencies.