Perception and adaptation to higher temperatures among poultry farmers in Nigeria. Environment, Development and Sustainability
March 21, 2022 - Author: Awa Sanou, John M. Kerr, Jennifer Hodbod & Lenis Saweda O. Liverpool-Tasie
Sanou, A., Kerr, J. M., Hodbod, J., & Liverpool-Tasie, L. S. O. (2022). Perception and adaptation to higher temperatures among poultry farmers in Nigeria. Environment, Development and Sustainability.
The poultry sector is large and expanding in the global South, playing a central role in providing increased protein to a rapidly growing base of consumers. The sector includes small backyard farms, small commercial operations, and very large, complex enterprises. Although there is substantial literature on climate adaptation by crop farmers and large livestock farmers, such information is limited for poultry. This study focuses on the effects of higher temperatures on commercial poultry farms in southwest Nigeria and their adaptation strategies. We use a rich set of in-depth interviews to describe how poultry farmers are adapting to higher temperatures and their reasons for adopting particular practices. In general, interviewees are aware that temperatures have increased over time and that heat stress reduces poultry productivity in terms of weight gain and laying capacity. They are knowledgeable and are not passively enduring the adverse effects of higher temperatures as they have adopted a range of adaptation practices. This study identified three main adaptation strategies: (i) keeping drinking water cool, (ii) keeping the building cool and increasing ventilation, and (iii) giving birds medicines and supplements that help them cope with increased heat. Small farms tend to adopt simple and low-cost practices, and large farms tend to adopt more sophisticated and expensive approaches, in line with the nature of their respective operations. The paper’s findings can help address gaps in strategies aiming to help this critically important sector of the food system be robust to future environmental change.