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Strategies for Sustainable Rice Farming

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Geography
Wordcount: 2270 words Published: 23rd Nov 2017

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Most of the warming that has occurred since mid-20th century is due to anthropogenic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, human activities including modern agriculture contribute to the production GHGs and on the overall, about 14% of GHG emissions comes from the agricultural sector (IPCC, 1996).

Several naturally produced and human produced GHGs trap heat. CO2, CH4, and N2O are long-lived in the atmosphere and are the major contributors to positive increases in radiative forces (IPCC, 1996).

Agricultural activities are significant producers of CH4 and N2O, of the three main gases that are influenced by land management and that are responsible for the potential greenhouse effect, CH4 has the 2nd greatest climate forcing potential of 27% CAST, (1992) arising from enteric fermentation of farm animals and rice cultivation.


In Nigeria, rice is one of the major cereals grown for food, the cultivable land to rice lies under five major ecologies namely: rain fed upland, rain fed lowland, irrigated rice, deep water and tidal mangrove swamp (Olayemi, 1997). Although Nigeria is the largest rice producer in West Africa and 85% of the total production comes from the north FAO (2012), rice production still seeks an increase in yield to meet the budding population and reduce importation.

According to Bello (2004), Nigeria has the potential to produce enough rice for its needs and even export but this is not achieved now because the technology, management practices and the efficiency with which farmers use resources influence productivity.


Self-sufficiency in rice production is the goal of the Nigerian government, this has prompted the government to find ways of boosting local rice production (Bello, 2004). Rice paddies have been identified as major CH4 source induced by human activities and Nigerian paddies are not left out. This poses a challenge as researchers are faced daily with the challenges of how to mitigate or adapt to climate change, increase adoption of low carbon practices in all sectors and ways to implement their findings in local and global context of sustainable resource management.

Consequently, estimating CH4 emissions from rice paddies and evaluating the low carbon practices used by farmers has become a pressing issue for assessing GHG impacts from agroecosystems and development of mitigation options at local scales for sustainable resource management.


  • Spatio-temporal mapping of lands cultivated to rice from 1983 to 2013 in the study area.
  • To compare the CH4 emissions from upland and lowland rice fields.
  • Assess the understanding of climate change and various low carbon practices among rice farmers for environmental protection.
  • Understand the challenges associated with the adoption of low carbon options for rice cultivation.


To achieve the stated objectives, the study will involve Geo-spatial analysis, field measurements and socioeconomic survey.

The study area:

The study will be carried out in the savannah belt of Nigeria, Bida zone in Niger state will be selected for the study because of its long history of rice cultivation and its proximity to National Cereal Research Institute, where technologies for cereal cultivation emanate and are disseminated. The zone consists of three Local Government Areas (Lavun, Bida and Gbako) and has a total land area of 6, 181 km2.

Geo-spatial analysis

Data: Cloud free-Ortho-rectified Landsat images of the area for the years 1983, 1993, 2003 and 2013 will be acquired from image vendors.

Analysis: ArcGIS and IDIRSI geo-spatial tools will be used for the analysis of the Images. The images will be overlaid and an area of interest will be created from the overlay. Ground truthing will be done to aid supervised classification of the false and true composites of the area. The map of the dominant land use change of the area will be generated for each year. Accuracy assessment of the classification will be done, image differencing of the land cover maps will quantify the changes in land sizes cultivated to rice.

Methane measurement: CH4 emission will be measured by using a portable methane gas meter (Gastech, Australia). Surface CH4 measurements from uplands and lowlands will be taken by inverting a 70mm diameter plastic funnel on the soil surface, the inlet tube of the CH4 meter will be connected to the funnel to read CH4 concentrations (Kartik and Nanjappa).

Sampling procedure and Data collection

A multistage sampling will be adopted for the study. First, two administrative wards will be randomly selected from each Local Government Area, for the second stage, two villages will be selected randomly from each selected ward and at the third stage, 20 rice farmers from each selected village will be randomly selected to give 80 farmers per Local Government Area and a total of 240 farmers from the zone. To allow for pre-testing and errors, 300 questionnaires will be printed.

The sampling frame will focus on adult rice farmers who live in the communities and have been farming for over 25 years based on the assumption that these respondents will have adequate experiential knowledge about the subject matter.

Primary data on the understanding of farmers about climate change, its effect on paddy farming, low carbon practices used and the challenges associated with the use of these practices will be collected by administering structured questionnaires to respondents in the study area.

Statistical Analysis

All data collected will be analyzed, using computer based Statistical Packages for Social Sciences (SPSS) and STATA. A multiple linear regression will be used to link socioeconomic factors with factors that influence land use.


CAST, 1992. Preparing U.S. Agriculture for Global Climate Change. Task Force Report No. 119. Council for Agricultural Science and Technology, Ames, IA.

Facts and Figures about Niger State, Assessed from http://www.nigerstate.gov.ng/epubl/Facts%20and%20Figures%20about%20Niger%20State1.pdf

Kartik V. and Nanjappa A. Phytocapping: An Innovative Technique to Reduce Methane Emission from Landfills. Assessed from methaneflux paper (Environmental Research Journal).pdf

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), 1996. Climate Change 1995. The Science of Climate Change. The Contribution of Working Group I to the Second Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge University Press, New York.

Impact of Trade on Domestic Rice Production and the challenge of Self-sufficiency in Nigeria Assessed from www.warda.cgiar.org/…/RicePolicy/Chuma.E/Chuma.E.Nigeria.Pres.ppt.

Olayemi, J.K 1997. The Nigerian Rice Industry: Performance, Problems and Prospects. A research report prepared for Food and Agricuktural Organisation, FAO; December 1997.

UNCCS (United Nations Climate Change Secretariat), Emissions Summary for Nigeria, http://unfccc.int/files/ghg_data/ghg_data_unfccc/ghg_profiles/application/pdf/nga_ghg_profile.pdf




The distinctiveness of this study is that it seeks to incorporate the experiences of rural farmers in understanding the challenges associated with adopting Low carbon initiatives at local scales. This project aims at:

  • Describing the local perception of climatic vagaries in their environment
  • Characterizing the prevalent land use patterns in recent times.
  • Characterizing the various local conservation practices used by rice farmers for resource conservation.
  • Describing the effects and constraints of adopting resource protection practices.

The study would reveal the changes in land cover as mediated by increase in productivity over the past thirty years in the study area and the associated methane emissions. This would be helpful in the design sustainable resource conservation measures for climate protection. As well, the study will reveal the awareness level of the respondents’ on some facts about climate change and variability, its toll on rice farming and various measures used to adapt to these changes.

Since considerable attention has not been given to measuring results from adaptation and mitigation activities, results from this study hopes to be a working tool for the Nigerian government in the development of a simple Monitoring, Reporting and Verification (MRV) plan that is more readily useable by farmers through capacity building and technology development or transfer.

This study will also provide insight into local resource conservation strategies that can be improved upon for sustainable resource management. The dataset will therefore become a working tool for the government, legislators, private sector, civil society and other stakeholders for appropriate understanding on the trends of greenhouse gas emission from paddies in Bida zone for necessary policy formulation on strategies to reduce the emissions in order to improve ecological system conservation and mitigate global warming.

Please explain how you intend to communicate the project results during and after the sponsorship period and which target groups you particularly want to address. (2,000 characters max.

The ultimate foci of this study is to raise public awareness on the amount of greenhouse gases released from paddies, it also intends to assess the low carbon strategies used by farmers and the challenges associated with using them. The major target groups are the locals and government officials.

Although, the communities have limited expertise at some stages of the study, I intend to work in partnership with them for their ability to suggest strategies that would facilitate data collection and ensure that the data collected are representative of the community during the study. This will be done by clearly explaining the purpose of the study to the community head, since he has a very good knowledge of the community and can help ensure that all factors required for the study is provided.

The proximity of the National Cereal Research Institute (NCRI) will be of great assistance during the study and dissemination of results. They will be helpful in providing previous research results and some experimental techniques that will be invaluable in the design of the survey.

Usually, conveying research results requires wisdom to avoid rejection. Before communicating the research results to the entire community, results will discussed with the study team from NCRI and the community representatives.

Also, since the FADAMA intervention programmes that serve as an intermediary between the government and the communities are common around the study area, assistance will be sought from the FADAMA facilitators during the study and when communicating the research results to the government to enhance acceptance for policy formulation.

Timeline of the project, including milestones




Arrival in Germany, Intensive German language course


Reconnaissance survey, acquisition of project materials and pretesting of questionnaire


Questionnaire administration and analysis.


Image acquisition, geospatial analysis and ground truthing


Preliminary write-up and corrections


Presentations and submission

This study is expected to cover a one calendar year period, although this proposed duration is subject to modifications from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.


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