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This study aimed to examine the effects of climate variability on annual crop yield at smallholder farmers’ level in the Guinea Savanna Region of Nigeria, using Niger State as a case study. Climate data (rainfall and maximum temperature) for a period of 38 years (1971-2008) was acquired from National Cereals Research Institute, Bida and Nigeria Meteorological Agency, while crop yield data was acquired from Niger State Agricultural Mechanization Development Authority (NAMDA). Focused Group Discussions (FGDs) were undertaken in 18 communities in six local government areas in Niger State spread across the three agricultural zones in the State to validate the impact of climate change and variability. The climate data was analyzed with the aid of charts. Results showed a generally rising trend in both temperature and rainfall across the State. It shows that rainfall is not only more variable, but its onset and cessation patterns have shifted and its occurrence very inconsistent. Linear relationships between climatic variables and the major crops showed moderate to strong positive and negative relationships. However, when crop yields were regressed with the climate variables, only maize (.032), bambara groundnut (.029) and groundnut (.007) were very significant at .05 confidence level (95%). The policy implication of this finding is the need to provide the farmers with local climate information and the need for vigorous pursuance of the development of high yield crop varieties better suited to changing climate conditions in the Guinea Savanna ecological zone by research institutes and other relevant agencies.
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