Experts task govt on food crisis
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By Agha Inya Sunday
CONCERNED by the debilitating effect of food insecurity in Nigeria, the Resource and Environmental Policy Research Centre Environment for Development (REPRC-EfD), University of Nigeria, Nsukka, has called for a government policy to enable farmers embrace climate-smart agriculture to solve the current food crisis.
Speaking at the Policy Day event organised by the REPRC-EfD, in collaboration with Gender and Development Policy Centre (GEN-CENT), the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Charles Igwe, said the high prices of food items needed urgent action by government at all levels.
“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.
“It requires our concerted efforts in the areas of research, policy formulations, farmers’ education and the practice of climate smart behaviours,” he said.
He said the event had provided a platform for policymakers, farmers and other stakeholders to brainstorm on policy decisions for gender-inclusive climate-smart agricultural practices for the attainment of food security in Nigeria generally and the Southeast in particular.
The Director of REPRC-EfD, Dr Nnaemeka Chukwuone, said his centre organised the Policy Day to share findings of its research on climate-smart agriculture and food security with stakeholders to enhance policy decisions that would enable farmers adopt practices that would increase food production.
Presenting findings of the research entitled: “Determinants and Impact of use of Multiple Climate Change Smart Agricultural Practices: Panel Data Evidence from Nigeria,” Chukwuone said there were pieces of evidence that farmers who adopt climate-smart agricultural technologies experience improved crop yield and make more money.
He said land tenure security enabled farmers to adopt climate-smart agricultural practices and that households who owned and used a mobile telephone were more likely to embrace climate-smart practices, including use of organic fertiliser, 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” he said.
He recommended that the Federal Government should use the on-going land reform initiatives to enhance land tenure security, especially for women to stimulate the adoption of climate-smart agriculture practices.
The study also recommended that the government, through the Ministry of Agriculture and relevant agencies like the Crop Research Institutes and should carefully design and target multiple climate -smart agriculture technologies suited to specific agro-ecological zones in the country.
Chairman of REPRC-EfD Policy Advisory Panel Prof. Emmanuel Oladipo applauded the centre for its research and policy contributions to environmental and agricultural sectors.
He urged policymakers to enact policies that would match food production with population growth.
“Nigerians give birth to about seven million children annually, but its contribution to the feeding of those children is inversely proportional,” he added.