Extreme climate conditions are a deviation from the norms (average climatic conditions), which are capable of upsetting numerous essential environmental parameters including interference to water balance and air temperature balance (Odekunle, 2004). Extreme climate conditions are phenomenon that may not been observed in an area for certain periods of time which may have occurred by climate change and climate variability. Extreme climate conditions can initiate dangerous conditions including floods, droughts, dry spell, typhoons and heavy snow. Although extreme climate condition may span for short period of time, but they can impact both environmental and agricultural processes significantly. In farming, situations like heavy rainfall within a limited period of time, dry spells within developing seasons when some crops require water to be available at field capacity and heavy downpours at periods when crops need a dry spell are termed extreme events (Maracchi et al., 2005). The events are typically unpredicted and non-seasonal but the damage can be enormous (IPCC, 2007). It is a universal problem, but with diverse levels of impacts and adaptation approaches across different societies (New et al., 2006).
In Africa, extreme climate conditions are particularly susceptible due to poor technological development, low economic strength or high poverty level, climate awareness and education as well as financial and political will to reverse the vulnerability (Mirza, 2003). According to Hansen et al. (2001), extreme climate conditions have been attributed to occur as a result anthropogenic activity of human for better living at the expense of their impacts on the environment, extreme climate conditions have increased hazard on agricultural activities. Increase in the frequency and number of extreme conditions is usually linked to climate change due to greenhouse gases and aerosol anthropogenic emissions (Planton, 2008). Recently, extreme climate conditions have become an important issue for discussion among governments, especially as climate becomes an important subject of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 13), awareness has increased its impact and variant coping strategies (Swart et al., 2003).
Agricultural production in the sub-Saharan Africa, which is mainly dependent on rainfall for wetness, may be rigorously compromised by fluctuations and extreme climatic conditions (Thompson et al., 2010). Fischer et al. (2005) argued that extreme climate conditions will cause loss of agricultural land, shortens growing seasons, lowers yields, and consequently cause food shortage. Extreme climate in the developing countries has also been linked with increase in the frequency and prevalence of certain climate delicate diseases, especially malaria, tuberculosis and diarrhea (Guernier et al., 2004). Boko et al., (2007) reported that extreme climate conditions may add more pressure to already threatened ecosystems in the region. Studies shown that in Nigeria agricultural activities suffer from extreme climate events (e.g., Ishaya and Abaje, 2008; Obioha, 2009; Enete and Amusa, 2010; Tambo and Abdoulaye, 2013; Ladan, 2014; Olagunju, 2015; Eludoyin et al., 2017;), only few studies have reported the fate of peasant farmers. Few of the exiting studies have reported generic results from cropping activities with community-based assessments, but further investigations have been deemed necessary from relatively less documented farm community like the present study area. The area represents farm community in the sub-Saharan Africa where plants are generally rain-fed; where consideration of weather and climate is of important concern, and where coping strategies to extreme weather conditions are reportedly low (Campbell et al., 2011).
Agriculture is an essential sector in the sub-Saharan Africa, where it employs over 80% of the population (Lobell et al., 2008). The present research area, Iyanfoworogi is a typical rural community where over 85% of the populations are small-scale farmers (Adewumi and Ujoh, 2012), and most of the farming activities are rain-fed. Studies (e.g., Cooper et al., 2008; Mongi et al., 2010; Eludoyin et al., 2017), have claimed that farming activities in the many parts of Nigeria are susceptible to the influence of climate and weather vulnerability and many small-scale farmers have poor coping strategies. Many studies have also focused on government owned research centers, establishments and institutions (Adesina and Odekunle, 2011; Enete et al., 2011; Mustapha et al., 2012), all of which are non-representatives of the rural areas. The challenges faced by rural areas include poor coping strategies, low literate level and low crop production (Enete et al., 2011), and these may be exacerbated by extreme climatic events. Many of the rural community also lack established monitoring equipment that helps to monitor the existing climatic phenomenon and adequately predict the future. The present study area is hardly known despite its contribution to food security in the state, and this is the case of many resource centres in developing world, which according to the Friedman’s core-periphery model are often characterized by degraded environment (Gu et al., 2001).
The time frame for this study is 34 years (1984 to 2018) based on availability of data. Selected Climatic data (Temperature, Rainfall and Windspeed) were daily records and was collected from the archive of Prediction of Worldwide Energy Resource (POWER) programme of the United States of America’s National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) data due to absence of ground-based meteorological station in the study area. The study site was chosen for the research work because it is accessible and it has good representation of the purposively selected crops (tree crops, tuber crops, leafy vegetable, and cereals) for the study. The overall aim was to examine the occurrence of extreme climate events, their impacts and people’s coping strategies in rural community of the Southwestern Nigeria. Specific objectives of the study are to examine the occurrence of extreme climate events and their attributes over the farm community, assess the impact of extreme events on crop productivity and coping strategies of the farmers with effects of the extreme events in the area.