1.0 feed a projected 300 million people,

1.0 Introduction

Although Nigeria’s food production index1 has been rising, she faces a food security challenge; her daily caloric supply of 2,700 kcal2 (FAO, 2013) is less than the basic requirement for an active life3. By 2050, Nigeria will have to increase agricultural production to feed a projected 300 million people, in the face of a changing climate and huge infrastructural deficit.

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The relevance of the agricultural sector to the economy is well known. Data from the National Bureau of Statistics reveals the sector recorded growth in every quarter of 2016 despite the contraction of the overall economy. In addition to its positive impact on national output, its growth also has the potential to reduce youth unemployment and ensure food security.

For sustainable development of the agro-sector, consideration has to be paid to the factors of production viz: land, water, seeds, soil nutrients, etc.; focusing on their resource availability, and the adverse effect of negative environmental externalities – carbon emission, water table depletion, etc. Nigeria has a vast supply of agricultural land (71 million hectares), half of which is under cultivation.4 The cultivated lands are largely owned by rural farmers producing on subsistence scale, using small plots and depending on seasonal rainfall. Only 7 percent of its cultivated lands is under irrigation, revealing a window for the expansion of irrigation.5 Indeed Nigeria has an untapped potential for raising agricultural productivity since poor soil fertility and low input levels, combined with subsistence agricultural practices, contribute to the wide gap between actual and potential yields6.

In addition, most agricultural activities are climate-dependent. In Nigeria, agriculture relies heavily on climate as temperature, photoperiod, water, and relative humidity drive crop growth and yield. Climate is also a major determinant of the performance of the food system at the agriculture end of the food chain.7 The effect of climate change on food systems could vary; ranging from direct impact on crop production, rainfall fluctuations resulting in drought or flooding, warmer or cooler temperature which leads to changes in the length of season, changes in food prices and food supply in the market.8 On the flipside, agriculture also contributes significantly to climate change via greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions across its value chain – 17% of global GHG emissions are a direct result of agricultural activities and an additional 7% to 14% through land use changes9. Hence agricultural production has to be managed effectively to reduce its negative impact on the climate, even in the bid for increased productions.

In spite of the threat of crop yield losses in the tropics, it is important to note that developing countries in warmer climates have the prospect to grow food beyond the detrimental impact of climate change by employing more intensive agricultural practices and adapting agriculture to climate and environmental change.10 In addition, agriculture could also be utilized in the mitigation of climate change11; agriculture has to evolve into a low-carbon activity for continued food production and reduced GHG emission.

To achieve the three-pronged objectives of sustainably increasing food production, guaranteeing the resilience of agricultural practices to climate change, and mitigating climate change, the Agricultural Promotion Policy (2016 – 2020) of the Federal Government of Nigeria incorporated the Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) approach.12 This paper, therefore, presents the institutions relevant to the adoption of CSA and their roles, and provides examples of these institutions.

2.0 What is Climate Smart Agriculture?

The agricultural sector accounted for 24.43% of Nigeria’s GDP in 2016 and has the potentials to achieve more. It is therefore necessary to increase its resilience to climate change if it wants to grow food production and ensure food security. CSA seeks to achieve this development objective, as well as drive the development and adoption of innovations that would (1) sustainably grow agricultural productivity to achieve socioeconomic development; (2) adapt, and build resilience, to climate change; and (3) reduce GHG emissions from agricultural activities13. CSA is an approach to establishing the required technical, policy and investment environment for sustainable agricultural development to achieve food security in the face of changing climate.

3.0 Why does Nigeria need Institutions to adopt CSA Practices?

To drive CSA, it is necessary to integrate the smallholder agricultural system in Nigeria; small-scale farmers make up the largest percentage of food producers in Nigeria1415. As a result, strong institutional support is needed to enable the transition to CSA by farmers. This support is essential for ease of disseminating relevant information, providing financial support and market access, and coordinating farmers’ activities.

1.        Information Dissemination: Some of the practices of CSA might be alien to smallholder farmers, hence the need for knowledge and support. Institutions that make this information available and translate them into knowledge for use are therefore pivotal to adoption of CSA approach.

2.      Provision of Financial and Market Access Support: Most land management practices involved in CSA have their benefits delayed for a later period. As a result, institutions that provide coping mechanisms to poor farmers would be necessary to ensure provision of financial services such as insurance, credit, reward for environment-friendly practices, etc..

3.       Coordination of Farmers’ Activities: Managing communal forest and lowering transaction cost is pivotal to CSA. This implies collective action is demanded of farmers to make CSA activities feasible and affordable. The institutional framework that manages farmers and their needs is therefore necessary for the ease of aligning CSA efforts.

Table 1: Institutions and activities that support CSA under each role

Knowledge production and dissemination, capacities strengthening, and communication enhancement

Provision of Financial and Market Access Support

Coordination of Farmers’ Activities

Agricultural business hubs

Investments in Agricultural Value Change (e.g. FarmCrowdy, Bank of Agriculture, Commercial Banks)

Strengthening agricultural cooperatives’ collaborative efforts

Capacity strengthening for the provision of weather information (e.g. Nigeria Metrological Agency)

Investments that support market access (logistics and haulage, roads and market infrastructure)

Improving the links between various research agents across the value chain for technology transfer

Promoting access to information on weather, market prices of commodities, inputs, etc. to rural farmers through the use of Information and Communication Technologies such as radio, mobile phones.

Strengthening of the informal markets via training of market agents especially traders.

Seed fairs for promotion of resilient local/improved seeds

Investments in agricultural research and development, agricultural education, training institutes, etc. for provision of knowledge.

Weather index insurance schemes for farmers e.g. Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL)

Water and land management activities


3.1 Key Institutions Needed

The uptake of CSA initiatives requires a proper blend of the various stakeholders responsible for the provision and dissemination of knowledge and the farmers. The following are the areas where institutions are of most importance and some of the institutions needed:

3.1.1 Services

The changing climatic condition in Nigeria – revealed in changing season – calls for redefined advisory and extension services. These services are needed to help farmers adapt their practices to withstand the adverse impact of climate change. The basic information farmers need are on climate and practices for climate adaptation.

The provision of advisory and extension services are done by a number of agencies, which include public sector institutions, civil society organizations, and private institutions. Public sector institutions

These institutions consist of the Federal agencies providing climate information and responsible for funding several related activities across the agriculture value chain. They could also provide the suitable environment for the establishment of CSA via:

·         the amendment and enforcement of related agricultural policies;

·         the distribution of incentivizing agricultural subsidies;

·         the provision of pertinent research and extension services;

·         the improvement of relevant infrastructure (e.g. building roads); and

·         the collection of national census data useful to CSA initiatives.1617 Civil Society Organizations

Food Agriculture Organization defines civil society as space within which the individuals and their movements organize themselves around set goals, constituencies, and thematic interests.18 Some major civil society organizations include non-governmental organizations (NGOs), ‘not-for-profit organizations who are not governmental or intergovernmental’. They also include trade unions, professional associations, research and educational faculties, private foundations, religious organizations (for advocacy and endorsement), the media and similar organizations reflecting civic interests, values, and concerns. These institutions act independently of the nation to defend their members’ rights and maximize benefits for them19. Private Sector Institutions

The market is important for growth and development in Nigeria, and the private sector, being a key actor, is significant for research and development, as well as for the provision of advisory services.  However, the primary goal of this actor is profit maximization among other things. CSA improves the chance of achieving this objective. The key private sector participants relevant to the success of climate-smart initiatives include the individual farmers and their cooperatives, agribusinesses, commercial consultants, banks, credits and services institutions, etc. 

3.1.2 Stakeholders

The major stakeholders are the farmers and agribusiness-related organizations who are the main recipients of the CSA initiatives. They are usually linked by institutional arrangements which could be formal – cooperatives and farmers’ unions and organizations, and private sector institutions – or informal. Formal Institutions20 – Cooperatives and Farmers’ Unions and Organizations

Cooperatives, farmers’ unions and organizations are the stakeholder institutions in the forefront at the national level and state levels for the representation and support of local interests. 

In addition to their roles as spokesmen for the farmers, they also provide extension services to their members. These roles make them the legitimate lobbyist for the provision of bottom-up approaches to solving farmers’ problems, which is central for transformation to CSA approaches. Informal Social and Cultural Institutions

Institutions, as earlier stated, is not limited to formal institutions. Informal arrangements, habits, norms, and all spoken and unspoken agreements that guide interactions among relevant stakeholders are also part of institutions. These are usually termed culture and they shape how things are done in a community and influence the rate and mode of adoption of new practices and/or innovations.

Initiatives, like CSA, that often demand a change in practices and habits usually have some cultural implications (e.g. grazing habits of nomads in northern Nigerian) that could create barriers to acceptance. Therefore, it is necessary that the informal arrangements within a society is properly understood if that initiative is to be accepted. This would require consultation with relevant institutions, religious leaders, traditional rulers, etc. These institutions can play pivotal roles by bringing needed local knowledge, social legitimacy and established networks to CSA programs.

4.0 Conclusions

This paper has outlined the concept of CSA and the institutions needed to drive the approach. It has also described the roles of institutions for the successful adoption of CSA practices – dissemination of knowledge, provision of financial, credit and market services, and coordination of farmers’ activities.

Understanding the institutional environment within which a practice is to be adopted is necessary to the success of the practice, hence institutional endorsement is vital, as it is often key to individuals’ support for the practice.