Climate Smart Agriculture

Agriculture is the main source of livelihood for people in Nigeria. More than 80% of farmers in the country are smallholders who grapple with fragmented lands, poor soil fertility, weeds, pests and diseases. These problems are usually tackled using inorganic fertilizers and chemical pesticides/herbicides which further exacerbate poor soil health and compound soil infertility. Moreover, the effects of climate change such as temperature increases, irregular and variable rainfall patterns, flooding of riverbanks, drought and desertification, more frequent extreme weather events, and loss of biodiversity have further affected the productivity of smallholder farms. Unless urgent measures are taken to address these challenges, Nigeria’s food security and by extension the economy is at great risk.

Nigeria is also the largest producer and consumer of rice in Africa. The country produces about 5 million metric tonnes of rice against a demand of 6.8 million metric tonnes per annum. About 90% of the rice is grown on paddies by resource-constrained smallholder farmers. Rice paddies contribute about 15-20% of total global anthropological methane emissions, and overall rice farming accounts for around 2.5% of all global human-induced greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, making its climate footprint comparable to that of international aviation.

To address these challenges, LINKS conducted Systems of Rice Intensification and Regenerative Agriculture pilots in collaboration with smallholder farmers in Jigawa, Kaduna and Kano states.

Systems of Rice Intensification in Nigeria 

Systems of Rice Intensification (SRI) is a farming method that helps to lower greenhouse gas emissions from rice production, while simultaneously improving farmers yields by up to 100% and increasing incomes for farming communities. It does this through a cultivation system of early establishment, reduced population, the use of organic fertilizer and an alternate wetting and drying system that creates aerobic soil conditions that reduce the production of methane and other GHGs.

The LINKS team worked across a number of avenues to promote SRI across Nigeria, as well as measure it’s socio-economic and environment impact. We have completed four cultivation seasons using the SRI methodology in climate smart villages across northern Nigeria.

The SRI pilot was hugely impactful.

  • Farmers trained: LINKS trained 66,043 farmers (of which 20% are women). Of the 66,043 trained 37,403 are applying SRI principles
  • Hectares cultivated:  31,379. Farmers started with a quarter of hectare each with some expanding on this in subsequent seasons.
  • Yield increased: We reported 100% average increases in yield compared with fields applying traditional practices.
  • Incomes increased: LINKS increased incomes of 22,967 farmers (of which 4,553 are women) and expect this to nearly double by 2024.
  • Jobs created: We have helped to create 33,823 jobs (of which 6,631 are estimated to be women).
  • Reduced GHG emissions: We have contributed to a net reduction in GHG emissions in production by 40%
  • Improved resilience and adaptation: LINKS has contributed to the improved resilience of over 10,000 famers and supported over 30,000 to adapt to to the impacts of climate change

We have uploaded a toolkit of resources to help promote SRI, including 7 training videos, training modules and a podcast series explaining the methodology (please note this is in Hausa).

LINKS Systems of Rice Intensification Overview – YouTube

Systems of Rice Intensification (SRI) – YouTube

PodBean – LINKS Podcast

SRI Training Module Jan 2023

SRI Factsheet English

SRI Factsheet Hausa

Regenerative Agriculture in Nigeria

Regenerative Agriculture (Regen Ag) is a system of farming principles and practices that increases biodiversity, enriches soils, improves watersheds, and enhances ecosystems. RegenAg solutions have been proven to increase productivity through soil regeneration, increase profitability through production cost decreases and can capture carbon. Regen Ag therefore offers huge potential for Northern Nigeria to address on-farm issues related to the climate change challenge.

LINKS undertook a range of initiatives in order to promote and support regenerative agriculture in Northern Nigeria, including:

  • Building an online platform to onboard 30,000+ farmers and map their land, socio-economic and environmental data
  • Developed training materials and train farmers on regen ag practice and principles, and trained 21,503 farmers in regen ag principles
  • Created 6,573 jobs for men and women so far
  • Increased the incomes of 24,624 men and women
  • Supported over 15,000 farmers to adapt to impacts of climate change
  • Supported the establishment of an special purpose vehicle to design a carbon project and seek seed and 1st phase funding for a certified carbon project. The carbon project is the first of its kind in Nigeria and will support the regeneration of 100,000 hectares of land reducing millions of tons of carbon emissions over 30 years.

We have attached six videos that explain the fundamentals of regenerative agriculture.

Regenerative Agriculture – YouTube

Sustainable fibre alternatives to cotton production

Growing cotton is degenerative to the environment, requiring a massive supply of water, mineral fertilizers and pesticides. The production of cotton and the associated negative impacts are expected to increase in Nigeria due to the imminent ban on export of agricultural commodities in plastic packaging which will be replaced by bio-degradable materials such as cotton.

LINKS received funding to pilot the use of alternative fibres in Northern Nigeria, initially working with Kenaf and Industrial Hemp. These crops use much less water than cotton, do not require fertilizer applications and help to restore degraded land.

LINKS worked with Universities in Northern Nigeria to undertake research to select the best varieties of Kenaf for northern Nigeria. Once these varieties were identified,  agronomic trials took place to determine the best growing conditions and practices for the crop, with a view to piloting full scale commercial production in 2023.

LINKS also undertook a detailed value chain analysis for Kenaf across Nigeria, identifying a wide range of uses for its seeds, leaves and fibre. It was at this point that LINKS was closed, and so commercial application of the findings was not tested. However there remains huge potential for kenaf as a cotton alternative in Nigeria, and research findings from the studies have been shared with LINKS stakeholders, including the Kenaf Association of Nigeria and partner Universities in Kano, Kaduna and Jigawa.

LINKS is funded by the UK Government and
implemented by Tetra Tech International Development
Our Partners
Our consortium and resources partners

COVID- 19 Response

Project implementation in these unprecedented times is challenging for all of us in Nigeria, but it presents new opportunities as well. As part of LINKS response to the COVID-19 outbreak and lockdown, we have taken a number of initiatives