Climatic Change

, Volume 132, Issue 2, pp 321–336

Impact of climate change on staple food crop production in Nigeria

  • Valentina Mereu
  • Gianluca Carboni
  • Andrea Gallo
  • Raffaello Cervigni
  • Donatella Spano


Climate change impact on the agricultural sector is expected to be significant and extensive in Sub-Saharan Africa, where projected increase in temperature and changes in precipitation patterns could determine sensible reductions in crop yields and concerns for food security achievement. This study presents a multi-model approach to analysing climate change impacts and associated risks for staple food crops in Nigeria. Previous attempts to evaluate climate change impacts in Nigeria had mainly focused on a reduced number of crops, with analysis limited to single experimental fields or specific areas, and in many cases considering only a limited number of climate models. In this work, crop simulation models implemented in the DSSAT-CSM software were used to evaluate climate change impacts on crop production in different Agro-Ecological Zones, considering multiple combinations of soils and climate conditions, varieties and crop management. The climate impact assessment was made using an ensemble of future climate projections, to include uncertainty related to climate projections. Even if precipitations could increase in most parts of Nigeria, this is not likely to offset the crop yield reduction due to the increase in temperatures, particularly over the medium-term period (2050), with yield decreases projected especially for cereals. The short-term effects are more uncertain and yields for cassava and millet might actually increase by 2020. Moreover, yield reductions are only partially mitigated by the direct effect of increased CO2 atmospheric concentration enhancing crop yield. In both periods and for all crops, there is a higher risk that crop yields may fall below the actual risk threshold.


  1. Aba DA, Idem NUA, Marley PS, Maigida DN (2004) Sorghum. In: Idem NUA, Showemimo FA (eds) Zaria cereal crops of Nigeria: principles of production and utilization. Ade Commercial Press. 38–78Google Scholar
  2. Adejuwon, JO (2004) Assessing the suitability of the EPIC crop model for use in the study of impacts of climate variability and climate change in West Africa. AIACC working paper no.5, 1–22Google Scholar
  3. Adejuwon JO (2006) Food crop production in Nigeria. II. Potential effects of climate change. Clim Res. Vol 32:229–245Google Scholar
  4. Ainsworth EA, Long SP (2005) What have we learned from 15 years of free-air CO2 enrichment (FACE)? A meta-analytic review of the responses of photosynthesis, canopy properties and plant production to rising CO2. New Phytologist 165:351–371CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Amusan AO, Adetunji MT, Azeez JO, Bodunde JG (2011) Effect of the integrated use of legume residue, poultry manure and inorganic fertilizers on maize yield, nutrient uptake and soil properties. Nutr Cycl Agroecosystems 90:321–330CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Ayeni LS, Adetunji MT (2010) Integrated application of poultry manure and mineral fertilizer on soil chemical properties, nutrient uptake, yield and growth components of maize. Nat Sci 8:60–62. Accessed 14 September 2014
  7. Ayoola OT, Adeniyan ON (2006) Influence of poultry manure and NPK fertilizer on yield and yield components of crops under different cropping systems in south west Nigeria. African J Biotechnol 5:1386–1392Google Scholar
  8. Butt TA, Mccarl BA, Angerer J et al (2005) The economic and food security implications of climate change in Mali. Clim Change 68:355–378CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Cervigni R, Valentini R, Santini M (2013) Toward climate-resilient development in Nigeria. Directions in development. World Bank, WashingtonGoogle Scholar
  10. Challinor AJ, Ewert F, Arnold S et al (2009) Crops and climate change: progress, trends, and challenges in simulating impacts and informing adaptation. J Exp Bot 60(10):2775–2789CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Ekeleme F, Kamara AY, Omoigui LO et al. (2008) Guide to rice production in Borno State, Nigeria. Accessed 14 September 2014
  12. HWSD - Harmonized World Soil Database, v 1.1 (2009). Accessed 14 September 2014
  13. Harris F, Yusuf MA (2001) Manure management by smallholder farmers in the Kano close-settled zone, Nigeria. Exp Agric 37:319–332Google Scholar
  14. Hatfield JL, Boote KJ, Kimball BA et al (2011) Climate impacts on agriculture: implications for crop production. Agron J 103:351–370CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Hoogenboom G, Jones JW, Wilkens PW, Porter CH et al (2012) Decision Support System for Agrotechnology Transfer (DSSAT) version 4.5. University of Hawaii, HonoluluGoogle Scholar
  16. ICS-Nigeria, Information and Communication Support for Agricultural Growth in Nigeria. Accessed 23 June 2011
  17. Jagtap S, Abamu F (2003) Matching improved maize production technologies to the resource base of farmers in a moist savanna. Agric Syst 76:1067–1084CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Jalloh A, Nelson G, Thomas T, et al. (2013). West African agriculture and climate change: a comprehensive analysis. International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), Washington, DC., 1–408 Accessed 14 February 2015
  19. Jones PG, Thornton PK (2003) The potential impacts of climate change on maize production in Africa and Latin America in 2055. Glob Environ Chang 13:51–59CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Jones JW, Hoogenboom G, Porter CH et al (2003) The DSSAT cropping system model. Eur J Agron 18:235–265CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Kebbeh M, Haefele S, Fagade SO (2003) Challenges and opportunities for improving irrigated rice productivity in Nigeria. 1–24 In: The Nigerian rice economy in a competitive world: constraints, opportunities and strategic choices. West Africa Rice Development Association (WARDA) Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire. Accessed 14 September 2014
  22. Kuku-Shittu O, Mathiassen A, Wadhwa A et al (2013) Comprehensive food security and vulnerability analysis. IFPRI Discuss Paper 01275:1–44Google Scholar
  23. Lobell DB, Burke MB (2008) Why are agricultural impacts of climate change so uncertain? The importance of temperature relative to precipitation. Environ Res Lett 3:1–8CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Lobell DB, Burke MB (2010) On the use of statistical models to predict crop yield responses to climate change. Agric For Meteorol 150:1443–1452CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Lobell DB, Burke MB, Tebaldi C et al (2008) Prioritizing climate change adaptation needs for food security in 2030. Science 319:607–610CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Long SP, Ainsworth EA, Leakey ADB et al (2006) Food for thought: lower-than-expected crop yield stimulation with rising CO2 concentrations. Science 312:1918–1921CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Longtau SR (2003) Multi-agency partnerships for technical change in West African agriculture: Nigeria case study report on rice production. Eco-Systems Development Organization (EDO), JOS, NIGERIA. Accessed 14 September 2014
  28. Mitchell TD, Jones RG (2005) An improved method of constructing a database of monthly climate observations and associated high-resolution grids. Int J Climatol 25:693–712CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Monfreda C, Ramankutty N, Foley JA (2008) Farming the planet: 2. Geographic distribution of crop areas, yields, physiological types, and net primary production in the year 2000. Global Biogeochem Cycles 22:1–19CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Mora C, Frazier AG, Longman RJ et al (2013) The projected timing of climate departure from recent variability. Nature 502:183–7. doi:10.1038/nature12540 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Müller C, Cramer W, Hare WL et al (2011) Climate change risks for African agriculture. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 108:4313–4315CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Nakićenović N, Swart R (2000) Special report on emissions scenarios: a special report of working group III of the intergovernmental panel on climate change. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, ISBN 0-521-80081-1 Google Scholar
  33. NBS (Nigeria National Bureau of Statistics) (2010). NBS/CADP Baseline Survey Report. National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) - Commercial Agriculture Development Project (CADP). Accessed 22 September 2014
  34. Nelson GC, Rosegrant MW, Koo J et al (2009) Climate change impacts on agriculture and costs of adaptation. Food policy report no. 19. International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), Washington, p 30Google Scholar
  35. Niang I, Ruppe OC, Abdrabo MA et al (2014) Africa. In: Barros VR, Field CB, Dokken DJ et al (eds) Climate change 2014: impacts, adaptation, and vulnerability. Part B: regional aspects. Contribution of working group II to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp 1199–1265Google Scholar
  36. NPAFS (2010) Report of the 2009 agricultural production survey (APS). National programme for agriculture and food security. Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, AbujaGoogle Scholar
  37. Odekunle TO (2004) Rainfall and the length of the growing season in Nigeria. Int J Climatol 24:467–79CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Odubanjo OO, Olufayo AA, Oguntunde PG (2011) Water use, growth, and yield of drip irrigated cassava in a humid tropical environment. Soil Water Res 2011:10–20Google Scholar
  39. Ogbonna AC (2008) Sorghum: an environmentally-friendly food and industrial grain in Nigeria. A Research report in University of Uyo, Nigeria, 1–5. Accessed 14 September 2014
  40. Parry M, Rosenzweig C, Iglesias A, Livermore M et al (2004) Effects of climate change on global food production under SRES emissions and socio-economic scenarios. Glob Environ Chang 14:53–67CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Ringler C, Zhu T, Cai X et al (2010) Climate change impacts on food security in sub-Saharan Africa insights from comprehensive climate change scenarios. IFPRI Discussion Paper 01042:1–28Google Scholar
  42. Rockel B, Will A, Hense A (2008) The regional Climate Model COSMO-CLM (CCLM). Meteorologische Zeitschrift 17:347–348CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Rosenzweig C, Jones JW, Hatfield JL et al (2013) The Agricultural Model Intercomparison and Improvement Project (AgMIP): protocols and pilot studies. Agric For Meteorol 170:166–182CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Rosenzweig C, Elliott J, Deryng D et al (2014) Assessing agricultural risks of climate change in the 21st century in a global gridded crop model intercomparison. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 111:3268–3273CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Roudier P, Sultan B, Quirion P, Berg A (2011) The impact of future climate change on West African crop yields: what does the recent literature say? Global Environmental Change 21:1073–1083CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Sacks WJ, Deryng D, Foley JA, Ramankutty N (2010) Crop planting dates: an analysis of global patterns. Glob Ecol Biogeogr 19:607–620Google Scholar
  47. Santini M, Valentini R, Cervigni R (2013) Climate projection ensemble as support to water management and irrigation in Nigeria. J Water Clim Chang 4:287–301CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Schlenker W, Lobell DB (2010) Robust negative impacts of climate change on African agriculture. Environ Res Lett 5:1–8CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Scoccimarro E, Gualdi S, Bellucci A et al (2011) Effects of tropical cyclones on ocean heat transport in a high resolution coupled general circulation model. Journal of Climate 24:4368–4384CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Semenov MA, Porter JR (1995) Climatic variability and the modelling of crop yields. Agric For Meteorol 73:265–283CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Thornton PK, Jones PG, Alagarswamy G, Andresen J (2009) Spatial variation of crop yield response to climate change in East Africa. Glob Environ Chang 19:54–65CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Tingem M, Rivington M (2009) Adaptation for crop agriculture to climate change in Cameroon: turning on the heat. Mitig Adapt Strateg Glob Chang 14:153–168CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Tubiello F N, Amthor JS, Boote KJ, Donatelli M et al. (2007) Crop response to elevated CO2 and world food supply: a comment on ‘food for thought.’ edited by Long et al. Science 312: 1918–1921, 2006. European Journal of Agronomy 26:215–223Google Scholar
  54. Tubiello FN, Soussana J-F, Howden SM (2007b) Crop and pasture response to climate change. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 104:19686–19690CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. United Nations (2013). World population prospects: the 2012 revision, key findings and advance tables. Working Paper No. ESA/P/WP.227. Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  56. USAID MARKETS (2009) Package of practices for sorghum production. Accessed 01 May 2011
  57. USAID MARKETS (2009) Package of practices for rice production. Accessed 13 December 2011
  58. USAID MARKETS (2010) Package of practices for maize production. Accessed 01 May 2011
  59. VSN International (2012) GenStat for Windows, 15th edn. VSN International, Hemel Hempstead, Web page: Google Scholar
  60. Webber H, Gaiser T, Ewert F (2014) What role can crop models play in supporting climate change adaptation decisions to enhance food security in Sub-Saharan Africa? Agricultural Systems 127:161–177CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. White JW, Hoogenboom G, Kimball BA, Wall GW (2011) Methodologies for simulating impacts of climate change on crop production. F Crop Res 124:357–368CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Valentina Mereu
    • 1
    • 2
  • Gianluca Carboni
    • 3
  • Andrea Gallo
    • 1
  • Raffaello Cervigni
    • 4
  • Donatella Spano
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Science for Nature and Environmental ResourcesUniversity of SassariSassariItaly
  2. 2.Euro-Mediterranean Center on Climate ChangeSassariItaly
  3. 3.Department of Crop ProductionAgricultural Research Agency of Sardinia (AGRIS)CagliariItaly
  4. 4.Environment and Natural Resources (AFTEN) Africa RegionWashingtonUSA

Personalised recommendations