Agriculture Project Topics

Assessment of Rainfall Variability on Cowpea Production in Bida Local Government

Assessment of Rainfall Variability on Cowpea Production in Bida Local Government

Assessment of Rainfall Variability on Cowpea Production in Bida Local Government


Objectives of the Study

Overall objective  

The overall objective of the study was to carry out an assessment of rainfall variability on cowpea production in Bida local government.

 Specific objectives  

The specific objectives of the study were to:

  1. Assess the trends in rainfall and Cowpea production for the last ten years in the study area. ii.  Determine the relationship between Cowpea production trend and rainfall trend for the last ten years.
  2. Identify adaptation strategies to rainfall variability which are available in crop livestock mixed farming system in the study area.
  3. Ascertain the influence of socio-economic and farm factors on Cowpea production in crop livestock mixed farming system.



This chapter describes relevant literature to this study in which various concepts regarding rainfall variability and adaptation strategies in mixed crop livestock farming system are described. Further socioeconomic factors influencing Cowpea production have also been described by various scholars in various studies.

Definition of Concepts

Rainfall variability

Banchiamlak and Mekonnen,(2013) defines rainfall variability as the degree to which rainfall amounts vary across an area or over time; it (rainfall variability) is an important characteristic of a climate of an area and has two components: namely spatial and temporal variability. IPCC, (2007) defined rainfall variability as the fluctuation of rainfall occurrence annually or seasonally above or below a long term normal value. Every year in a specific time period, the rainfall of a location can either be above or below normal.

Farming systems

Several definitions of farming systems have been provided by different authors.  Some of the notable definitions of farming systems are as follows. Fresco, (1986) defined farming systems as decision making and land use units consisting of farming households, cropping and livestock systems that produce crop and animal products for consumption and sale. Dixon, (2001) defines farming system as populations of individual farming systems that have broadly similar resource bases, enterprise patterns, household livelihoods and constraints, and for which similar development strategies and interventions would be appropriate. Beets, (1990) defined farming systems as units consisting of human groups (usually households) and resources they manage in their environments, involving the direct production of plant and/or animal products.





Area of study  

Bida is a Local Government Area in Niger State, Nigeria and a city on the A124 highway which occupies most of the area. The LGA has an area of 51 km² and a population of 188,181 at the 2006 census. The postal code of the area is 912. Bida is the second largest city in Niger State with an estimated population of 178,840 (2007). It is located southwest of Minna, capital of Niger State, and is a dry, arid town. Areas include Katcha, Enagi, Baddeggi, Agaie, Pategi, Lemu, Kutigi, and others. There are other places in Bida such as Bamisu estate, Ramatu dangana, ECWA poly road, Small Market, Main Market and the Federal Medical Centre (Bida) others. There are also different schools like Federal Government Girls College Bida, Federal Polytechnic Staff Secondary School, Government College, Bida and others. The town is known for its production of traditional crafts, notably glass, bronze articrafts and brass wares. Bida is also known for its Durbar festival and the Nupe Day Festival. It is also the home to the Federal Polytechnic, Bida, Federal Medical Centre and Niger State School of Nursing. The major ethnic group is the Nupe. Bida is the headquarters of the Nupe Kingdom led by the Etsu Nupe (presently Etsu Yahaya Abubakar). The leadership style of the ancient town of Bida is emirship, and the head of the town is addressed as Etsu Nupe. Other tribes include Igbo, Yoruba, Hausa, Igala and Gbagi, Ibira. (Area profile, 2019).



This chapter presents and discusses the major findings of the study. The first part presents the findings on socio- economic characteristics of the sampled population with respect to farming system and rainfall variability. The second part presents the trends in rainfall and Cowpea production. The third part describes the relationship between rainfall and Cowpea production trends; the fourth part presents information on farmers’ coping and adaptation strategies to rainfall variability in mixed farming systems. Lastly, while the fifth part provides information on the influence of socioeconomic and farm factors on Cowpea yields in crop livestock mixed farming systems.

Socio-economic Characteristics of Respondents in the Study Area

The socioeconomic characteristics of the population including age, gender, marital status, education level, family size, farm size, farming experience and land ownership are critical to farm decisions and performance in relation to crop production. For example, gender determines responsibilities for male and female farmers in crop and livestock production; and family size determines labour force in production. Studying these characteristics is important in understanding the contribution of each attribute in Cowpea production under Cowpea cereal- livestock mixed farming systems in the study area.




The findings of the study show that rainfall variability influence Cowpea production as annual rainfall was increasing Cowpea production was decreasing the decrease of Cowpea yield is influenced by inter annual rainfall variability. On the relationship between rainfall and Cowpea production trends, an increase in rainfall led to a decrease in Cowpea production; however, Cowpea decreased at non-significant rate (p-value 0.927).

Based on the results from the adaptation analysis of farming systems, the study concludes that the mixed farming system yields more Cowpea than the non-mixed farming system with average Cowpea yields of 2.57 tonha-1 and 1.36 tonha-1 respectively.  Socio-economic and farm factors which influence Cowpea yields in the study area were house hold size, farm size, farmer’s access to credits, and the cost of agricultural inputs.

Policy Implication and Recommendations

Nigeria’s agriculture is the driving force of the country’s economy and therefore its development is of importance. In order to achieve this, the sector has to grow at, at least 6 per cent. However, the rate of growth has over the past decade averaged about 4.4 per cent indicating a stagnant growth. In order to address the stagnating growth, a number of reforms such as KILIMO KWANZA Resolve, the Nigeria Food Security Investment Plan (TAFSIP), Feed the Future Programme and Bread Basket Initiative have been initiated to complement speedy implementation of Agriculture. The reforms aim at creating the enabling environment for ensuring household food security, improving agricultural productivity, profitability, farm incomes and alleviating rural poverty.

In order to boost production and contribute to improved income and livelihoods for small

holder Cowpea farmers, this study recommends the following policy responses:

  1. Appropriate strategies for reducing vulnerability to inter seasonal rainfall variability should be adopted; the strategies may include deliberate efforts for protecting the environment through providing environmental management education to farmers. These may include for example, the conservation of natural forests, proper farming practices, tree planting and sustainable farming (Crop livestock mixed farming systems).
  2. Up scaling of crop-livestock mixed farming systems since mixed systems were found to be capable of adapting to rainfall variability effects.
  3. Agricultural production input costs should be affordable to farmers therefore private companies and government institutions responsible for farming inputs should find a way of supplying inputs (seed and pesticides) at a cost that many  farmers  will afford and use it to increase  crop production.
  4. The formation of farmer managed co-operatives among smallholder farmers should be encouraged. These may be in the form of co-operative banks, agricultural marketing co-operatives (AMCos), or savings and credit co-operative societies (SACCOS) that would assist in providing soft loans which are purposively aimed at meeting the costs of inputs with affordable interest rates.

 Area for Further Studies

Based on the findings from this study most of the smallholder farmers were aware that mixed farming system can help to shield against crop loss on the face of rainfall variability. However only few have adopted the technology; therefore further studies can be conducted to find out the reasons as to why only few farmers have adopted the technology.


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