Natural Resources, School of


First Advisor

Michael Hayes

Second Advisor

Kalu Osiri

Third Advisor

Charles Francis

Date of this Version

Fall 12-7-2020

Document Type



Azariah Lawal (2020) "Food system resilience in Nigeria farmers perspective". MS thesis, University of Nebraska-Lincoln


A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Science, Major: Natural Resource Sciences, Under the Supervision of Professor Mike Hayes. Lincoln, Nebraska: November 2020

Copyright © 2020 Azariah Lawal


Disturbances are inherent in every socio-ecological system (SES). However, the spate and scope of upheavals in contemporary SES has increased dramatically in recent years. Agricultural systems are perhaps the most impacted when disasters occur because different aspects of agricultural production are directly affected. The burgeoning farmers-Fulani herdsmen conflict in West Africa is a manifestation of these challenges. When faced with events like these, contemporary food systems are faced with two options: collapse or transform. It is essential to have resilient agricultural systems because these systems lie at the nexus of resolving emerging global issues.

Nigeria is an important country in western Africa; it is the most populous African country. Agriculture plays an indispensable role in the country, employing two-thirds of the labor force. However, the sector is bedeviled by a plethora of challenges. Despite these challenges, it produces about 50 million metric tons of cassava annually which is the largest in the world. The average yield of 13.63 metric tons (MT) per ha is compared against a potential yield of up to 40 MT per ha; this huge difference between current yield and potential yield underscores the importance of resilience.

To analyze the resilience of food systems in Nigeria, the five-step framework (“Resilience of what?”, “Resilience to what?”, “Resilience for what”, “Resilience Capacities”, “Resilience enhancing attributes”) developed by Meuwissen et al. (2018) was used in this study. To give a contextual view of the study area, the framework guided an analysis of the food systems through a literature review focused on the state of farming in the country. In addition, a subjective and objective evaluation approach was used to draft survey questions that were distributed to farmers in southwest Nigeria to investigate these issues in more detail on a local scale.

We conclude that food systems in Nigeria have been at the reorientation phase of the adaptive cycle and that there is need for increased stakeholder involvement, particularly at the government level, to help farmers harness the benefits of resilience in the system.

Advisor: Mike Hayes