Concerned by the debilitating effect of food insecurity on Nigerians, the Resource and Environmental Policy Research Centre (REPRC) Environment for Development (EfD) Nigeria, University of Nigeria has called for a government policy to enable farmers embrace Climate Smart Agriculture in order to solve the current food crisis.
The Centre had, on December 8, 2020, engaged stakeholders from the agriculture and environment sectors in South-East Nigeria to brainstorm on policy direction for climate smart agriculture in the region. In attendance were Commissioners of Agriculture and Environment from the five South-Eastern states; farmers, gender desks officers and the Chairmen, House of Assembly Committees on Environment and Agriculture.
Some participants after a courtesy call on the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Nigeria, December 8, 2020
The policy engagement was based on research findings of the Centre on “Determinants and Impact of use of Multiple Climate Change Smart Agricultural Practices: Panel Data Evidence from Nigeria”.
Speaking at the event, which EfD Nigeria hosted in collaboration with Gender and Development Policy Centre (GEN-CENT), University of Nigeria, the Vice-Chancellor of the university, Professor Charles Igwe, stated that high prices of food items in the country was enough reason for government, at all levels to adopt measure that would encourage farmers to embrace Climate Smart Agriculture
“I concede that social political factors and the COVID-19 pandemic are undertones for the current food crises, I believe, very strongly, that the major culprit is climate change”, Igwe said.
The Vice-Chancellor stated that the impact of climate change on Nigeria’s agricultural system could no longer be wished away; “it requires our concerted effort in the areas of research, policy formulations, farmers’ education and the practice of climate smart behaviors”.
The Director of REPRC-EfD Nigeria, Dr Nnaemeka Chukwuone said that EfD-Nigeria organized the Policy Day to share findings of the Centre’s research on Climate Smart Agriculture and Food Security with stakeholders, with the hope of stimulating their passion for a policy decision that would enable farmers adopt practices that would increase food production in the country.
Presenting findings of the research, Dr Chukwuone said that there were evidence that Nigerian farmers who adopted climate smart agricultural technologies experienced improved crop yield and made more income than others.
The study, according to Chukwuone also discovered that t land tenure security predisposes farmers to adopt climate smart agricultural practices and that households who own and uses mobile telephones were more likely to embrace climate smart agricultural practices, including use of organic fertilizer, and other soil fertility management processes.
“This suggests that improving communication infrastructure and access to information is important to enhance the use of climate change adaptation practices through facilitating timely market and other production and changing climate information” Chukwone said.
The study recommended that the Nigerian Federal Government should use the on-going land reform initiatives to enhance land tenure security, especially for women in order to stimulate the adoption of Climate Smart Agriculture practices.
Among other things, the study also recommended that the government, through the Ministry of Agriculture and relevant agencies like the Crop Research Institutes and the ADP, should carefully design and target multiple Climate Smart Agriculture technologies suited to specific agro-ecological zones in the country.
Professor Emmanuel Oladipo, Chairman of REPRC-EfD Nigeria Policy Advisory Panel applauded the Centre for its research and policy contributions to Nigerian environmental and agricultural sectors.
He said it was high time Nigerian policymakers should enact policy decisions that should match its food production with its population growth.
“Nigerians give birth to about Seven Million children annually, but its contribution to the feeding of those children is inversely proportional” the environmental don said.
The Director of GEN-CENT, UNN Professor Anthonia Achike urged the stakeholders to ensure that gender is mainstreamed in the promotion of Climate Smart Agriculture practices in their states.
Some of the stakeholders who shared their thoughts thanked EfD Nigeria for providing direction to guide their policy decision. They promised to work with the Centre to bring the policy to fruition in their various states.