From Felix Ikem, Nsukka
The Resource and Environmental Policy Research Center (REPRC), University of Nigeria, Nsukka, (UNN) and Environment For Development (EFD) Initiative, Nigeria has tasked the Nigeria government and farmers to ensure food security and embrace climate change policy.
The group made the call Thursday in Nsukka during the 2020 REPRC-EFD Nigeria /GEN-CENT policy day event for farmers and agric stakeholders in Southeast, tagged; “Climate Smart Agriculture Practices for food security and climate change mitigation” held at UNN.
REPRC was established by UNN to advance interdisciplinary research, capacity building and policy advocacy on the different dimensions of environmental and resource economics.
Prof Anthonia Achike, the Director Gender and Development Centre UNN and Chairman Local Organizing Committee said in her opening remark that “for Nigeria to achieve food security farmers and government need to work in synergy, heed and implement climate change policy.
“the purpose of the event was to share the results of our researches with relevant stakeholders, interact and discuss the results with them, listen to their inputs and criticism so that at the end of the day we will come out with a co-produced research result that will be useful and acceptable to all.”
Mr. Anthony Onoja in his paper presentation titled; Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) as a Veritable Tool for Sustainable Food Production and Climate Change Management: Evidence from Nigeria and Diaspora.
He said that CSA is a kind of Agricultural practices that is based on sustainability, increasing agricultural productivity and incomes, as well as adapting and building resilience to climate change.
According to him, “by 2050, 9 billion people is expected to inhabit the planet and with Nigeria’s population expected to hit 400 million by the same 2050, hence food production must increase by 60%.
“Worries over rising temperatures and increased frequency of extreme events is likely to have direct and negative impacts on crops, livestock, forestry, fisheries and aquaculture productivity.
“Currently Nigeria is experiencing shortage and high cost of food items which is as a result of government’s inability to take a proactive measures by funding agriculture and paying proper attention to climate change,” he said.
Onoja, who is Associate Professor of Resource and Environmental Economics at University of Port Harcourt, however, advocates that appropriate policies in form of government funding and private sector investment should me made to ensure food security, even as he stressed the need for a clear cut policy on CSA in Nigeria and at regional levels and implementation of policies of CSA agri-food systems across all value chains, and Capacity building of farmers.
Earlier in his welcome address, Prof Charles Igwe, the Vice Chancellor of UNN said that “There is no better time to brainstorm on the subject of climate smart agriculture and food security than now that Nigerians are currently confronted with food crisis occasioned by low crop yields, incessant arable crop farmers’ and herders’ conflicts leading to destruction of farms and livestock, and attack on domestic animals by strange diseases, amongst other issues.
“It is my expectation that your discussions and contributions will provide foundation for policy decisions that will help the relevant stakeholders, particularly the government to plan for, and implement gender-inclusive climate smart agricultural practices for the attainment of food security in Nigeria generally and the Southeast region in particular, he said.
The VC urged all the participants to make the gathering worthwhile by ensuring that the outcome is implemented in their various states and establishments, adding that UNN will continue to partner with stakeholders and engage with policy makers to bring the needed changes in the society.
In an interview with some of the farmers, they commended the organisers of the event for reaching out to them for their input in the build-up to the research results.