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Climate Change and Agricultural Adaptation: Roles and Competence Needs of Frontline Extension Workers in Anambra State, Nigeria

Mabel Ukamaka Dimelu, Chizoba R. Onwuatudo, Achonam. Innocent Enwelu.

Abstract


Climate change is widely accepted as the major environmental problem facing human development, with greater impacts on developing countries due to their agrarian economy, poverty and low capacity for adaptation. Extension as major stakeholders has crucial role in building capacity for adaptation. The study was conducted in Anambra State to determine the roles and competence needs of frontline extension workers for agricultural adaptation to climate change. All extension workers (96) from the state Agricultural Development Programme were used for the study. Data were collected through use of questionnaire and analysed using mean scores, standard deviation and factor analysis. Results show several roles for extension in addressing the problem of climate change. These include conducting workshop, seminar for creation of awareness/knowledge (M=3.74), facilitating access to relevant information (M=3.54), dissemination of innovation/technologies on best practices for climate change adaptation (M=3.44) among others. Requisite skills and knowledge identified for extension workers were in the areas of communication, networking/linkages, facilitation, participatory methods, documentation of indigenous knowledge, information communication technology and adaptation technologies. Building these competences could be constrained by institutional, technical, financial, logistic and attitudinal factors. The study recommends that extension organizations should promote strong linkages with actors in climate change innovation system and in- house training of extension agents for adequate acquisition of relevant skills and information on climate change adaptation.  Institutions of higher learning should revise curriculum to reflect climate science for high literate workforce in agricultural extension. This should be promoted with strong policy supports by the government.


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