Linkages among key actors in the climate change and food security innovation system in Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Liberia

Linkages among key actors in the climate change and food security innovation system in Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Liberia

Study examining linkages between climate change adaptation and food security stakeholders in the west African sub-region

Published in the Journal of Agricultural Extensions, this paper outlines a study examining the linkages among actors in climate change and food security innovation systems in the west African sub-region. The study involved questionnaires, semi-structured interviews and focus group discussions with farming households, 1490 in total, from Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Liberia (randomly chosen in a multi-stage process). Additionally, data were collected from 164 respondents from a variety of organisations (research, education, government, NGO, etc.), though with only 20 from Liberia and Sierra Leone, the majority of feedback of this type came from Nigeria.

The aim of the study was to ascertain:

  • the availability of climate change adaptation training
  • the intensity of linkages among stakeholders in climate change and food security systems
  • the performance of these systems to generate innovation
  • respondents’ perception of domestic support for climate change adaptation and food security.
The results showed that only a small minority of farmers in each of the countries have any form of climate change training or the opportunity to attain it. Overseas linkages and collaborations are almost non-existent, while local collaboration was higher in Nigeria than Sierra Leone and Liberia. Also highlighted are levels of collaboration by actor type, with Nigeria (itself barely adequate) generally outscoring Liberia and Sierra Leone. While Nigeria has seen some innovation in a number of areas, aside from improved livestock and crop breeds in Sierra Leone, innovation is largely absent from the other two countries studied.

The paper concludes with the following recommendations.
  • The creation of a comprehensive climate change policy incorporating the west African sub-region is needed.
  • A regional conference on the formulation of climate change policy is proposed.
  • Increased and improved climate change and food security funding and training is needed to boost capacity and therefore productivity.
  • Intensification of collaboration between local and foreign actors could accelerate innovation.
  • These actors should work closely with research institutions to blend locally available adaptive measures with long-term solutions.
  • Revisiting the research reward system is needed, linking rewards to impacts on the productive sector rather than publication in western journals.
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