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-than-normal 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 lowerthan-
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 agro-meteorological information
as part of its
a g r i c u l t u r a l
e x t e n s i o n
package.
“NiMet will
like to work with
the Ministry of
E n v i r o n m e n t
to complete the
d e v e l o p m e n t
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

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