THE CENTRAL Bank of Nigeria
(CBN) states that the effect of climate
change is affecting crop yields in
Nigeria. In a report entitled: “Effects
of Global Climate Change on Nigerian
Agriculture: An Empirical Analysis’’,
it says weather-sensitive agricultural
productions systems are vulnerable to
climate change.
“This vulnerability has been
demonstrated by the devastating effects
of recent flooding in the Niger Delta
region of the country and the various
prolonged droughts that are currently
witnessed in some parts of northern
region. Nigeria is highly vulnerable
to effects of climate change, therefore,
understanding farmers’ responses to
climatic variation is crucial, as this will
help in designing appropriate coping
strategies,’’ the report said.
Analysts say agriculture is the future
of Nigeria and needs to be developed
to harness its full potential in view of
the dwindling oil fortune. They recall
that former Minister of Agriculture,
Akinwumi Adesina, once noted that
Nigeria is one of the most promising
agricultural producers in the world in
the 1960s. To address the challenges
of the impacts of climate change on
agriculture, they say access to reliable
information on climate change is
crucial to boosting farming activities.
In the light of this, the Nigerian
Metrological Agency (NiMet) recently
inaugurated the 2016 Public Presentation
of Seasonal Rainfall Predictions (SRP). At
the inauguration, NiMet predicted the
likelihood of delay onset and less-thannormal
rainfall in several parts of the
country. Presenting the predictions, Sen.
Hadi Siriki, Minister of State for Aviation
said the SRP would provide information
for reducing losses in agriculture and
transportation programmes.
“I have been informed that empirical
evidence shows that the proper
application of agro-metrological
information to farmers could increase
crop yield by 35 per cent. This year’s
SRP has indicated the likelihood of
delay onset rainfall in several parts of
the country; we cannot afford to repeat
the mistakes of the past warnings.
“It is important for all stakeholders
to take necessary precautions to reduce
the negative impacts, especially on
agriculture and water resources, in the
event that this prediction becomes a
reality,’’ he said.
NiMet Director-General Anthony
Anuforom said that dry periods would
be frequent and severe in many parts
of the north during the rainy season.
He also observed that little dry season
or August Break in parts of the South
was expected to be pronounced. “The
expected lower-than-normal rainfall in
parts of the country does not rule out the
possibility of isolated flash floods due to
high intensity rainfall at the peak of the
season.
“These are risk factors for farmers in the
affected areas and the challenges have to
be carefully and scientifically managed,’’
he said.
Anuforom further said the provision
and dissemination of full climate
services were beyond the capacity of
any organisation. “I suggest that the
Federal Ministry of Agriculture and
Rural Development should work closely
with NiMet to include relevant agrometeorological
information as part of its
agricultural extension package.
“NiMet will like to work with the
Ministry of Environment to complete the
development of a National Framework
for Climate Services. We are also ready
to partner with any state government or
organised groups to downscale the SRP to
their zone; translate it to local languages
and provide training on interpretation
and application,’’ he said.
For effective management of SRP, Dr
Gloria Obioh, a botanist solicited the
use of biotechnology to boost farming.
Obioh, the Head of Environmental
Biotechnology and Bio-conservation
Department, National Biotechnology
Development Agency, Abuja, said the
use of biotechnology would increase
crop yields.
The director said that biotechnology
required the use of reliable, systematic
weather and climate data to make it
efficient. To boost farming, Minister of
Agriculture and Rural Development
Audu Ogbeh at the inauguration
announced a plan to support farmers
with improved seedlings and farms
inputs. The minister also said that the
ministry would support farmers by
providing agriculture extension workers
in every local government area in the
country.
According to him, the effort will help
farmers to access information that will
support them to imbibe good agricultural
practices. “We have to consider using
dams, irrigation system and extension
services to teach farmers on how to apply
the knowledge received on SRP to boost
agricultural production”.
Ogbeh, however, said that the ministry
had designed a soil map that would give
farmers specific information on fertiliser
and soil. He said the soil map would give
information on specific fertiliser farmers
should use and also the type of soil that
could boost food production.
In her comment, Ms Atsuko Toda,
Country Programme Director,
International Fund for Agricultural
Development (IFAD), commended the
Federal Government for promising
to make SRP available to the farmers,
especially the small scale farmers. She
said IFAD would support farmers
to embrace modern technology in
agriculture to achieve food production
and create more jobs through
agriculture.
One of the discussants, Dr Basir
Gwandu, a director at the Institute of
Agriculture Research, Ahmadu Bello
University, Zaria, advised farmers to
plant drought-resistant seeds. He said
that planting drought-resistant seeds
would help the farmers to prevent loss
due to the short rainfall as predicted by
NiMet. The director also urged farmers
to take advantage of information from
SRP to start early planting. He called
on all the three tiers of government to
support farmers with improved seeds,
technology and loans facility to boost
their yields.
Similarly, another discussant, Dr
Shinkrat Jagtap, emphasised on the
need for the three tiers of government
to support farmers, citing the example
of India. Jagtap, a lead consultant
in Global Climate Technologies
and Development, said that Indian
farmers had started building small
dams to support their irrigation
farming because of the support they
received from their government. He
also advised the government to train
extension workers for effective service
delivery.
In his view, Prof. Daniel Gwary
of Crop Protection Department,
University of Maiduguri, called on the
three tiers of government to step down
SRP to the farmers in local languages.
He said the availability of weather
information would help farmers to
plan better to boost food production.
“SRP is good news for farmers, in the
past they have been forgotten, they
have been relegated to the background;
now they are coming on to the centre
stage,’’ he said.
Alhaji Murtala Mohammed, a
farmer appreciated the effort of the
government and other stakeholders in
making SRP available for the farmers.
Mohammed, the Executive Chairman,
EMBEE Farms in Kaduna, appealed to
the Federal Government to sensitise
farmers to the importance of SRP.
He, nonetheless, called on farmers to
make use of the report to plan their
crops for maximum output, create job
opportunity and enhance the economy.
By and large, experts advise farmers
to take the opportunity of SRP to work
with all levels of government to revive
the agriculture sector. According to
them, when agriculture is revived,
it can provide employment for the
teeming population, feed the nation
and also serve as mainstay of the
economy. (NAN)

READ ALSO  Forestalling herdsmen/farmers’ clashes

loading...
SHARE