What do we know about Nigerian farmers attitudes to uncertainty and risk? A systematic review of the evidence  

T Begho*, Tare Philip Daubry, Arnold Ebuka Irabor

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
56 Downloads (Pure)


In developing countries, specifically Nigeria, the vulnerability of smallholder farmers to agricultural uncertainties and risks is a major concern. Several studies that examine Nigerian farmers have highlighted how risk attitudes influence farming decisions. However, there is a gap in the synthesis of evidence necessary to enhance our understanding of farmers' attitudes to uncertainty and risk. Thus, we conducted a systematic review of the literature to understand farmers' attitudes to uncertainty and risk and the implication on farm-decision making. After the final screening, 39 papers met the inclusion criteria for our review. We find that the literature on the topic in Nigeria is small but expanding. We also find that risk attitude is measured through econometric and experimental methods, with the former being the most popular method. Twenty-six (26) papers (67%) reported that most farmers are risk-averse, although at different levels. The most consistent predictors for risk attitudes are age, household size, education, income, poverty status, farm size and access to credit. Other significant determinants of farmers’ attitudes towards risk are household size, years of farming experience, health status, leadership position, and organisation membership. Attitudes to risk were also used to explain the differences in several farm decisions and livelihood strategies. Although the reference to risks took a relatively different perspective and constructs, the overarching finding was that a risk-averse farmer is more likely to make production and management decisions that will result in a lower average return . One benefit of our findings is that policymakers will be informed to accurately predict the choices and behaviour of farmers under different policy interventions. We conclude that there is a need for more empirical research, and accordingly, we suggest a research agenda that could address the gaps identified.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere01309
JournalScientific African
Early online date11 Aug 2022
Publication statusPrint publication - Sept 2022


  • agriculture
  • Behaviour
  • decision making
  • risk
  • uncertainty


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