Impact of desertification on livelihoods in Katsina State, Nigeria
Saulawa, Bishir Gambo
Darkoh, Michael Bernard Kwesi
PublisherCenter for Promoting Ideas (CPI), USA., http://www.jalsnet.com/
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Is one of the overwhelming environmental problems in Katsina State where 75% of its nearly 6 million people on a 24,192 km2 of land depend on agriculture. Few studies have been undertaken to enhance the state of knowledge of the consequences of desertification in this area. As a result, anecdotal data has been relied upon in making an assessment and often policy formulations. It was against this background that the study sought to assess the perceived impact of desertification on livelihoods in Katsina State. A total of 385 randomly selected farming families from across the three agro-ecological zones of Katsina State and 29 key informants were interviewed on the impact of desertification on livelihoods in the State. The data obtained were analysed using frequencies, logistic regression and Chi-square as well as contextual analysis.The study established that the impact of desertification on livelihoods included major effects on pastoralism and rain-fed crop production through degradation of pastoral areas and reduction in crop yields. Desertification also amplified conflicts between the farming families and the Fulani herders. Desertification was further revealed to have influenced migration to urban centres and accelerated out-migration to other countries. As a result of desertification, forest reserves have diminished through deforestation and conversion to farmlands by the farming families. Desertification has also promoted bush encroachment and the disappearance of palatable grass species. Contrary to the generalized views, the loss of farmland, abandoned settlements and dried up wells were found to be uncommon in the study area. The result of this study concretizes the central statement of the study that impact of desertification is site-specific, and each location requires its independent analysis before a conclusion can be reached.