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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Climate change reducing crop yields, increasing food prices – Govt

The Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Sen. Abubakar Kyari, says climate change poses significant risks to food security by reducing crop yields and increasing food prices.

Sen. Abubakar Kyari
Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Sen. Abubakar Kyari

Kyari stated this at a joint news conference on Tuesday, April 16, 2024, in Abuja, on agricultural production utilisation of seasonal climate prediction by Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet).

He also said that climate change had disrupted supply chains, particularly in vulnerable regions with limited adaptive capacity.

Kyari said that added importance of the Seasonal Prediction was highlighted by the vagaries of climate change world-wide.

“It is clearly the case now that the native knowledge and wisdom on which small-holder farmers often relied to cultivate their fields, are inadequate under the relentless impact of climate change.

“Accordingly, managing climate risks in the agriculture sector through climate information and early warning services are important tools.

“In other words, integrating meteorological information as part of support services to agricultural production helps reduce losses to extreme weather events.

It also takes advantage to maximise the benefits of favourable weather,” he said.

The minister said that small-holder farmers were primary and significant players in Nigeria’s agricultural space, with rain-fed being the predominant practice.

“But rain-fed agriculture is susceptible to elements of climate change, such as flood and drought, if no concrete action is taken to adapt to erratic weather conditions,” he said.

He said that the Ministry and NiMet in 2023 commenced the implementation of cascading climate information to Cross River, Ebonyi, Kano, Oyo, Rivers, and Yobe, as well as the FCT.

Also speaking, the Director-General, NiMet, Prof. Charles Anosike, said the event would further strengthen the relationship between NiMet and the ministry.

He said that the agency would like to build on the ministry’s database of farmers to disseminate weather and climate predictions to the smallholder farmers.

Anosike said NiMet is right now using platforms like radio, national television, social media, British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and different languages to integrate meteorological information to farmers.

“We have Ibo, Yoruba, Hausa and pidgin, now we are trying to explore SMS.

“So, building on the database of farmers is critical elements that we want to explore moving forward,” he said.

He said that the issue of food security required a consistent and deliberate efforts from all stakeholders not just to cooperate but to empower and equip farmers.

In a presentation, NiMet said that crops were sensitive to climate change, including changes in temperature and precipitation.

By Doris Esa

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