The implication of agricultural land-use change on food security in Benue state, Nigeria

Eberechukwu Johnpaul Ihemezie, Cynthia Nneka Onunka, Ibrahim Isaac Umaru


This study employed geo-physical Land Use Land Cover (LULC) satellite data and crop yield data to examine the trend of agricultural land-use change and how it affected food security in the Nigerian state of Benue. Satellite imageries were downloaded for the years 1980, 1990, 2000, 2010, and 2015 from the United States Geological Survey (USGS) website, while crop yield data from 1980 to 2015 were obtained from the Benue State Ministry of Agriculture. Satellite image datasets were analyzed using remote sensing and GIS techniques, and data extracted for a quantitative analysis while crop yield data and data on percentage changes in cropland/vegetation were analyzed using regression analysis. The results of the study showed that the trend of agricultural land-use change in Benue state, Nigeria is tending towards reduction in agricultural lands. While this negative trend was found to reduce the output of some crops (e.g. yam, maize and groundnut), it seemed to have also spurred an increase in the production of other crops with more economic value (e.g. rice and cassava) due to intensification. The study recommends that appropriate landuse policies should be put in place to prevent unguarded loss of agricultural lands so as to forestall looming food security crisis.


agricultural productivity; food security; land use change; remote sensing and GIS.

Full Text:



Abu, G. and Soom, A. 2014. Analysis of factors affecting food security in rural and urban farming households of Benue state, Nigeria. International Journal of Food and Agricultural Economics, 4: 55-68.

Adamgbe, E. and Ujo, F. 2012. Variations in Climatic Parameters and Food Crop Yields: Implications on Food Security in Benue State, Nigeria. Confluence Journal of Environmental Studies, 9: 59-67.

Ahungwa, G. T., Umeh, J. C., and Muktar, B. G. 2013. Empirical analysis of food security status of farming households in Benue state, Nigeria. Journal of Agriculture and Veterinary Science, 6: 57-62.

Al-Wassai, F. A. and Kalyankar, N.V. 2012. Major limitations of satellite images. Yeshwant Mahavidyala College Nanded, India.

Alagbe, J., Afolabi, O.S., Oni, S.O., Udoh, S.I., and Amoo, V.O. 2013. Use of remote sensing and GIS techniques in assessing agricultural land loss in Abuja, Nigeria. Journal of Forestry Research and Management. 10: 40-51.

Atu, J., Offiong, R., Eni, D., Eja, E. and Esien, O. 2012. The Effects of urban sprawl on peripheral agricultural lands in Calabar, Nigeria. International Review of Social Sciences and Humanities, 2: 68-76.

Belay. E. 2014. Impact of urban expansion on the agricultural land use a remote Sensing and GIS Approach: A Case of Gondar City, Ethiopia. International Journal of Innovative Research and Development [Online]. 3: 129-133. Available from:

Benue State Government. 2014. A handbook of agricultural resources in Benue State. Benue State of Nigeria: Oracle Business Limited, p. 7.

Boateng, B. J. 2013. Agricultural Production, Land-use/cover Change and the Desertification Debate in the West African Savannah: An Adapted Political Ecology Approach. Journal of Art and Humanities. 2: 21-35.

Dijk, M., Hilderink, W., Rooij, M., Rutten, R., Ashton, K., Kartikasari, K. and Lan, V. 2013. Land-use change, food security and climate change in Vietnam: a global-to-local modelling approach. LEI report, University of Wageningen.

Doso, S. 2015. Effects of loss of agricultural land due to large-scale gold mining on agriculture

in Ghana: the case of the western region. British Journal of Research, 2: 1-15.

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations 2014. Agricultural area use change.

[online] FAOSTAT. [Accessed 2 January, 2016].Available from:

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. 1983. World Food security: a

reappraisal of the concepts and approaches. Director General’s Report. Rome.

Gutzler, C. 2015. Agricultural land use changes – a scenario-based sustainability impact assessment for Brandenburg, Germany. Ecological Indicators, 48: 505–517.

Ihemeje, J.C., Asogwa, B.C. and Ezihe, J. A. 2014. Managing national poverty eradication programme for food security among all farmers association in Nigeria. African Journal of Agricultural Research. 9: 2309-2318.

Jianlong, P., Hoang, C., Prakash, C. 2011. Analysis on Urban Land-use Changes and Its

Impacts on Food Security in Different Asian Cities of Three Developing Countries Using Modified CA Model. Final report for Asia-Pacific Network for Global Change Research.

Josea, M. and Padmanabhanb, M. 2016. Dynamics of agricultural land use change in Kerala: a

policy and social-ecological perspective. International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability,14: 307-324.

Karlson M. and Ostwald, M. 2016. Remote sensing of vegetation in the Sudano-Sahelian zone:

A literature review from 1975 to 2014. Journal of Arid Environment, 124: 257-269.

Kidane, Y., Stahlmann, R. and Beierkuhnlein, C. 2012. Vegetation dynamics, and land use and

land cover change in the Bale Mountains, Ethiopia. Environmental Monitoring Assessment. 184: 7473-7489.

Lambin, E.F. and Meyfroidt, E. 2011. Global land use change, economic globalization, and the

looming land scarcity. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science of the United States of America. 108: 3465-3472.

Lambin, E. F., Geist, H, J. and Lepers, E. 2003. Dynamics of land-use and land-cover Change

in tropical regions. Annual Review of Environmental Resources. 108: 206-231.

Lambin, E. F., Turner, B. L., Geist, H. J., Agbola, S. B., Angelsen, A., Bruce, J. W., ... Xu, J.

The causes of land-use and land-cover change: moving beyond the myths. Global Environmental change. 11: 261–269.

Lambin, E.F., Rounsevell, M.D.A., Geist, H.J. 2000. Are agricultural land-use models able to

predict changes in land-use intensity? Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment. 82: 321- 332.

Lubowski, R., Bucholtz, S., Claassen, R., Roberts, M., Cooper, J., Gueorguieva, A. and

Johansson, R. 2006. Environmental effects of agricultural land-use change: the role of economics and policy. [Online].United States Department of Agriculture.[Accessed 27 April, 2016]. Available from:

Msoffe, F., Kifugo, S., Neselle, M., Gardingen, P., Reid, R., Ogutu, J., Herero, M and Leeuw, J.

Drivers and impacts of land-use change in the Maasai Steppe of northern Tanzania: an ecological, social and political analysis. Journal of Land Use Science, 6: 261-281.

Njungbwen, E. and Njungbwen, A. 2011. Urban expansion and loss of agricultural land in uyo

urban area: implications for agricultural business. Ethiopian Journal of Environmenta Studies and Management, 4: 74-83.

Oni, O., Nkonya, E., Pender, J., Phillips, D. and Kato, E. 2009. Trends and Drivers of Agricultural Productivity in Nigeria. International Food Policy Research Institute.

Phillips, D., Nkonya, E., Pender, J. and Oni, O. 2009. Constraints to increasing agricultural

productivity in Nigeria: A Review. National Food Policy Research Institute.

Saleh, Y., Badr, M., Banna, E. and Shahata, A. 2014. Agricultural Land-Use Change and Disappearance of Farmlands in Kaduna Metropolis-Nigeria. Science World Journal. 9:15-22.

Schueler, V., Kuemmerle, T. and Schroder, H. 2011. Impacts of surface gold mining on land

use systems in Western Ghana. Journal of Human Environment, 40: 528–539.

Tilman, D., Cassman, K., Matson, P., Naylor, R. and Polasky, S. 2002. Agricultural sustainability and intensive production practices. Nature, 418: 671-677.

Vittek, M., Brink, A., Donnay, F., Simonetti, D. and Desclée, D. (2014). Land Cover Change

Monitoring Using Landsat MSS/TM Satellite Image Data over West Africa between 1975 and 1990. Remote Sensing, 6: 658-676.

Vliet, J., Groot, H., Rietveld, P., Verburg, P. (2015). Manifestations and underlying drivers of

agricultural land use change in Europe. Landscape and Urban Planning, 133:24–36.

World Bank. (2013). Report on world development indicators. Agriculture and Rural Development.[Accessed 28 April, 2016]. Available from:

Yoon, S., Kim, M. and Park, J. (2015). Comparison of statistical linear interpolation models

for monthly precipitation in South Korea. Stochastic Environmental Research and Risk Assessment, 29: 1371-1382.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

A KAU publication [CODEN: JTAGEI; ISSN 0971-636X; eISSN 0973-5399]