The Federal Government has urged stakeholders in the agricultural sector, including farmers, to take early warning signals on rainfall and flood predictions to boost food security and mitigate losses on investment.
Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Boss Mustapha, gave the advice while delivering a convocation lecture for 42nd Convocation and Diamond Jubilee Ceremony at Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) on Saturday, January 28, 2023, in Zaria.
The lecture was themed: “The impact of natural disasters on food security and agricultural development in Nigeria’’.
Mustapha enjoined farmers to listen to and respect weather forecast from the meteorological unit to prevent disasters and avoid losses.
He said the theme had underscored the fact that ABU remain committed to the pursuit of knowledge in prescribing solutions to issues as they evolved for the benefit of the society.
“Nigeria is just getting out of COVID-19 pandemic and 2022 flooding. Consequently, there is a compelling need for unity of action towards containing the man-made and natural disasters in the country,’’ he said.
Mustapha, who classified flooding experience in Nigeria as a man-made disaster, added that forms of flooding in Nigeria were caused mainly by a complete disregard and disrespect for the environment.
However, he said that empirical evidence seem to be pointing to the fact that the cyclical occurrence of flood (2012, 2022 and if it happens in 2032) could move it from being man-made to natural.
The SGF noted that any form of disaster, either natural or man-made, could be detrimental to agricultural practices and hamper efficient crop yield, health of livestock and fisheries, among others.
According to him, one of the government’s efforts at mitigating the challenge was strengthening the early warning system through anticipatory action programmes to empower communities before incidence of flood.
He, therefore, urged agricultural extension agents and other relevant stakeholders to take early warning signals that came from the metrological unit on the potentials of flood to the farmers.
He said flood has become more predictable than it can be predicted every year, farmers should also leverage on the Agricultural Insurance Scheme against natural hazards.
To further enhance agricultural infrastructure, attract young people to farming and investors, the SGF said the government was contemplating replicating the COVID-19 response strategies to enhance agriculture.
“I have the privilege of chairing the National Response to COVID-19 and I saw the interplay of the synergy between the government and corporate world.
“Mr Herbert Wigwe, the Chairman of the occasion, was also the chairman of CACOVID Response where the corporate organisations came together and supported the government in the fight against COVID-19.
“Under his leadership we had isolation centres and molecular laboratories we constructed across the length and breadth of this country.
“We can transfer the pattern that we use for the COVID response, bringing in the government driving the process working together with the corporate world and development partners,’’ Mustapha said.
The Chancellor of the university, Dr Nnaemeka Achebe, Obi of Onitsha, preached for more national unity and urged the government to create more awareness on the benefits of agricultural insurance to farmers.
By Mustapha Yauri