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Abstract

The effects of climate change in Nigeria are already being felt as the frequency and intensity of extreme events like droughts and floods have increased. In mature cocoa plants, water deficit and excess result in low yield and increase the level of capsid and black-pod damage. Cocoa seedling mortality is encouraged by prolonged dry season due to changes in climate. The study investigated the perceived effects of climate change on cocoa seedling growth, flowering, pod development, yield, leaves, tree, insect pest and disease occurrence. It examined perceived climatic factors and amount realized from cocoa beans in Kwara State. A multi-stage random sampling procedure was used to select 60 cocoa farmers from three out of eight Local Government Areas producing cocoa in the study area. Interview schedule instrument was used in data collection and analyzed with descriptive statistics and correlation analysis. The results revealed that most (60%) of the farmers believed climate change retards cocoa seedling growth and lead to death. Half (50%) of them opined that climate change delays flowering of cocoa. Majority (70%) perceived it to delay pod development resulting in low yield. In terms of insect pest and diseases occurrence, 51.7 percent indicated that climate change altered crop yield and losses in cocoa farms. Many farmers (58.3%) feel it makes cocoa leaves to be abundant while more of them 65% claimed that climate change retards tree development for optimum production. However, 61.7% had high perception about the effect of climate change on cocoa production. Low Rainfall accounting for 61.7% was observed to be the main climatic factor contributing to climate change in the study area. The revenue realized from sales of cocoa beans was statistically related to farmers’ perceived effect of climate change on cocoa production (r = -0.412, p = 0.001 at p<0.05). The farmers’ perception of climate change is a reflection of the global problems posed by variations in weather impacting food production and income. There is need for concerted efforts that will mitigate the effects of climate change on cocoa production.

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