Cocoa farmers in Osun State, South-west Nigeria, are recounting how climate change is resulting in poor harvests, making them lose income and pushing them into unimaginable poverty.
In a focused group discussion of five farmers led by Mr. Olu Abayomi, the farmers told MAWA-Foundation that Climate change is adversely impacting on them. In their narratives, they uniformly pointed out that they planted 3 million seedlings, and only about 250,000 survived. A development they said was a bad experience for farmers.
According to the farmers, a change in weather conditions that has led to an acute shortage of rainfall as a result of climate change is making their cocoa farms face stunted growth leading to poor yields.
“The change in weather conditions that brought an acute shortage of rainfall is making our cocoa farm not yield well, cocoa needs good rainfall to produce well, and climate is affecting rainfall” the farmers said.
Mr. Akinlabi, a cocoa farmer at Agbontu community in Odeda Local Government Area of Ogun State, continues to recount how he has been badly hit by climate change. According to him, he has lost over five hectares of his cocoa farm to a terrible weather condition as a result of climate change, which leads to a shortage of rainfall that badly affects cocoa growth.
The farmers who spoke at the Focused Group Discussion, told MAWA-Foundation that they have been cocoa farmers for over, 30, 45, and 36 years respectively. However, they pointed out that in the last 30 years, cocoa framing was lucrative and yielded well. But, are worried that in the last 10 years, cocoa yields have been hugely dropping making farmers struggle with poor harvests and poverty.
The farmers, however, blamed poor cocoa yields for acute shortage of rainfall which they said was a result of climate change that has brought a change in weather conditions.
The farmers, also, told MAWA-Foundation that cocoa farmers in Iwo Ale, Ikagbo, and Oja Ilerin areas of Osun State are suffering the same challenge. They painted a gory picture of how cocoa farmers in the area are losing harvest and are struggling to survive as a result of poor yields being recorded yearly.
MAWA-Foundation found that data from the Federal Produce Inspection Service revealed that in the last 15 years, Nigeria has drastically dropped in the production of cocoa.