All relevant institutional and statutory agencies have been tasked to adequately respond to and mitigate the adverse effects of climate change on agriculture and food production in order to ensure food security in the country.
Speaking at the First Regional Workshop on Climate Smart Soil in Abuja organized by the National Council on Climate Change (NCCC) in collaboration with African Climate Action Partnership, the Chairman of House of Representatives Committee on Climate Change, Hon. Chris Nkwonta said soils were integral to the functions of all terrestrial ecosystems and to increased and sustainable food production.
He noted that: “Consequently, conscious efforts must be made by relevant institutional and statutory agencies to adequately respond to and mitigate the adverse effects of climate change on agriculture and food production.”
The lawmaker said “climate change is currently disrupting agriculture and food production in every corner of the world, from droughts or floods that damage crops to rising seas and other environmental pollutions that threaten rural and agricultural communities.
“In the context of climate change, agriculture faces complex and unique problems. Crop production is directly dependent on natural resources, weather, and climatic conditions. As a result of raising temperatures, variable rainfalls, environmental pollutions, invasive and alien species of pest and other unpredictable environmental factors have invariably exposed farmers and agricultural communities to several challenges that are inimical to increased food production and sustainable food security.
“The aforementioned environmental challenges adversely affecting farmers and food producers tend to worsen as climate change issues accelerates globally, making it most critical to implement mitigation strategies and appropriate responses as soon as possible to curb it’s long-term negative impacts on food production and food security.”
He asked that a blend of climate smart soil and agriculture must be emplaced to transform farming with the aim of delivering positive outcomes on the basis of adaptations and mitigations to support and improve food security under the new realities of global climate change.
Nkwonta said: “It is my belief that this workshop is a catalyst towards achieving improved food security in the country in line with Mr. President’s Renewed Hope Agenda.”
In a goodwill message, the Chairman, Security, Special Intervention and Climate Change, North East Development Commission (NEDC), Rep. Sam Onuigbo
said: “Today’s event organized by the National Council on Climate Change in collaboration with the African Climate Action Partnership, is extremely important because it recognizes the critical intersection between healthy soil, climate change, hunger, poverty, and the consequent diseases and insecurity that come from them. As we all know, without fertile soils, we cannot grow food, and without food, there will be hunger, loss of livelihood means for land-dependent people, displacement, forced migration, climate refugees, insecurity and conflict arising from competition for scare resources.”
He noted that: “The United Nations has recognized the critical link between Climate Change and food security. The UN Resolution 68/212 of December 20, 2013 reaffirmed that “Climate Change is one of the greatest challenges of our time…, particularly developing countries are vulnerable to the adverse impacts… including persistent drought and extreme weather events, sea-level rise, coastal erosion and ocean acidification, further threatening food security and efforts to eradicate poverty and achieve sustainable development and in this regard emphasizes that adaptation to climate change represents an immediate and urgent global priority.”
He noted that: “With an area of 923,769 square kilometers and an ever-increasing population of about 223million people, 70 percent of which depend on agriculture as a means of livelihood, the recurrent issues of losing arable land to desertification, erosion, drought, and unsustainable agriculture, forestry, and other land use (AFOLU) has opened up the country to the danger of food insecurity. As changes in temperature, precipitation, and extreme weather events continue to challenge our agricultural sector, sustainable soil management practices and initiatives aimed at increasing soil organic carbon sequestration hold the promise of addressing food security, mitigation, and adaptation challenges.”
He said “mechanization is absolutely essential, good quality seeds, fertilization, improved agricultural practices, smart agriculture, these are the solutions we seek because the whole mantra is on increase in yield.”
Onuigbo further said: “The degradation of our soils, especially in Africa, is a pressing concern that impacts not only our food security but also our ability to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to a changing climate. According to the World Bank, the consequences of soil degradation have far-reaching effects, particularly for the agricultural sector, which employs more than half of Africa’s workforce and accounts for 30-40 per cent of its GDP.
“Increasing the availability of arable land must start from climate-smart and sustainable soil practices, which I am happy that this event is about. We can produce enough food to feed our nations and the continent of Africa, attract foreign direct investment, earn foreign exchange, and create employment. So, what we are doing here today and what the potentialities are provides an optimistic springboard for addressing some of the most germane challenges we face in the country.”
On his part, the Director General of the National Council on Climate Change, Dr. Salisu Dahiru said the workshop was organized with a deep sense of purpose and urgency, recognizing the pivotal role that soil plays in shaping the future of our nation and the world at large.
Dahiru, who was by the Deputy DG, Mrs. Halima Bawa Bwari said: “Soil health, food security, and climate change are inextricably linked, forming a triad that demands our immediate attention and concerted efforts. The state of our soils directly impacts our ability to feed a growing global population, adapt to a changing climate, and mitigate its effects. It is a complex challenge that requires the prioritization of Adaptation and Climate Smart Agriculture in line with Nigeria’s NDCs as well as a holistic approach, collaboration, and unwavering commitment from all stakeholders involved.”