Protected Forest Farming in Nigeria
#mce_temp_urlby Kashimana Ivo
I got the MINGS funds to go for fieldwork in Nigeria to collect socio-economic data from Nigerian farmers and other important stakeholders needed for modeling food security in Nigeria.
I am from Nigeria so I needed no visa to travel to Nigeria but I needed to prepare a lot ahead of time. I contacted some persons with knowledge of my topic for field assistance. We had skype meetings, phone calls and exchanged emails to understand my research questions and the nature and feasibility of the fieldwork. The assistants were able to get information on the accessibility of the farmers before we decided on the travel dates.
Once in Nigeria, I visited the selected rural communities within and around the seven National Parks (protected forests) and administered questionnaires to farmers. The administered questions centered on land use, biodiversity, ecosystem services, agricultural practices, climate impact and adaptation, use of natural resources etc. were needed for modeling food security in Nigeria. In addition to this, I was able to consult archives of research institutes and ministries and I interviewed some important stakeholders.
First few days on the field was slow but things picked pace once we got to know how best to interact with the farmers and persuade them to patiently attend to our questions. Every location was different in terms of culture so was every day’s experience thus we had to strategize at the end of each day about easier ways to gain audience and answers to our questions. We would always deliberate on the dos and don’ts considering our experience thus far.
The exercise was very demanding but interesting. We would travel and work for long hours. We got immense insights into the topic. The presence of local assistants made things easier and fun as they performed the role of a tourist guide in addition to interpretation.
The security situation in the country was very worrisome at the time we visited but having deliberated about the routes to ply beforehand; we were able to collect data across the country unharmed. At this point, I cannot overemphasize the need for proper and timely planning.
Overall, the data gathering process was a success. Not only did I gain insights into key issues regarding food security but also I attained my target number of questionnaires. I obtained the key data required for my research, expanded my professional network, made new friends and very fascinating, I learned about my country in a different light than I have known it.
Thanks to MINGS for contributing to this great milestone in my research.