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MS Thesis Defense - Azariah Lawal

An Analysis of Food Systems Resilience in Nigeria

Date: Time: 1:00 pm–2:00 pm
Contact: Mike Hayes,
Disturbances are inherent in every socio-ecological system (SES). However, the spate and scope of upheavals in contemporary SES has increased dramatically in recent years. These events, which have a global reach, include earthquakes in Mexico, hurricanes in the Caribbean and severe floods in India. Agricultural systems are perhaps the most impacted when disasters occur because different aspects of agricultural production are directly affected. The burgeoning farmers-Fulani herdsmen conflict in West Africa is a manifestation of these challenges. The industrial revolution, the 1930s Dust Bowl, and the current COVID-19 pandemic are examples of events that transformed, or are transforming, agricultural systems. When faced with events like these, contemporary food systems are faced with two options: collapse or transform. It is essential to have resilient agricultural systems because these systems lie at the nexus of resolving emerging global issues.

Nigeria is an important country in western Africa; it is the most populous African country. Agriculture play an indispensable role in the country employing two-thirds of the labor force. However the sector is bedeviled by a plethora of challenges like outdated land tenure system that constrains access to land, very low adoption of irrigation, limited adoption of research findings and technologies, high cost of farm inputs, poor access to credit, inefficient fertilizer procurement and distribution, inadequate storage facilities and poor access to markets. Despite these challenges, it is the world’s largest producer of Cassava with about 50 million metric tons produced annually. The average yield of 13.63 metric tons (MT) per ha, against potential yield of up to 40 MT per ha (FAO, 2020), this huge difference between current yield and potential yield underscores the importance of resilience. In Agricultural systems resilience analysis research, the work of Meuwissen et al. (2018) stands out. They developed a five-step framework (“Resilience of what?”, “Resilience to what?”, “Resilience for what”, “Resilience Capacities”, “Resilience enhancing attributes”), which was used in this work to analyze the resilience of food systems in Nigeria. This is an important research because after decades of reliance on crude oil, the government is now going back to an agriculture driven economy. We conclude that food systems in Nigeria have been at the reorientation phase of the adaptive cycle and that there is need for increased stakeholder involvement, particularly at the government level, to help farmers harness the benefits of resilience in the system.

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This event originated in School of Natural Resources.