‘Climate change threatens government’s diversification agenda’
The United Nation’s Environment Ecosystem Based Adaptation for Food Security Assembly (EBAFOSA) has warned that climate change may be a threat to the Federal Government’s diversification effort into agriculture.
According to EBAFOSA, Climate Change is likely to drive majority of the population into destitution as assets are lost and resources diverted to deal with emergencies, instead of being used for physical, social and economic infrastructure development.
The National President of EBAFOSA in Nigeria, James Oyesola, at a briefing on this year’s World Food Day, recently, said the frequency and intensity of extreme events, heat waves, droughts and floods are likely to increase, leading to reduced yield levels and disruptions in food production and distribution channels.
He noted that the theme for the 2016 World Food Day, “Climate is changing. Food and Agriculture must too”, is very unique and timely taking into cognisance that one of the biggest issues related to climate change is food security vis a vis agriculture.
“Temperature rise and changes in timing magnitude, and distribution of precipitation are likely to increase moisture and heat stress on crops and livestock which will make agricultural practices unpredictable,” he said.
Oyesola said agriculture is the most vulnerable to Climate Change, more as it is dominated by small scale farmers who rely on rain-feed agriculture, due to widespread of poverty and low levels of technical development.
He explained that there are considerable evidences that climate change is already affecting people in Nigeria and its environment, thereby creating strong negative impact, as some areas are becoming too hot for certain crops or animals, while it rains little or too much in some to foster farming, leading to the outbreak of climate sensitive diseases.
“All these are serious indications which may serve as a disincentives for farmers who could produce more food, potentially contributing to even lower food production and a threat to food security. There will be reduction and loss of income (poverty), loss of crops and livestock’s, high prices of food and other commodities which may lead to civil strife. There may also be intensification of migration out of agriculture, increased morbidity and mortality of human and livestock, loss of biodiversity, decline in the rate of economic growth (also increase in imports), loss of traditional export markets,” he warned.
The UNEP-EBAFOSA President however said the way out is to develop the ecologically sustainable and resilient food production by increasing the proportion of agriculture that uses sustainable, organic methods of farming.
He said: “For us to be in tandem with this year World Food Day theme, our Intended Nationally Determined Contributions and Sustainable Development Goals”, major investments are needed to ensure that vulnerable farmers in Nigeria have the tools to build their resilience, adapt and contribute to food security. There should also be new public investment in agriculture with emphasis on agro-ecological based approaches (EbA); it is also important to foster people – centred resilience in order to help vulnerable small scale farmers achieve food security. Finally, vulnerable farmers who are particularly women and small-scale farmers should be treated as key partners in the struggle against climate change.”