The Vice-Chancellor, Covenant University, Ota, Prof. Abiodun Adebayo, has called on the Federal Government to improve agricultural production to boost food supply and cushion the effects of climate change.
Adebayo, represented by Dr Omotayo Osibanjo, Director of Vice-Chancellor’s office, made the call at the Ogun Second Climate Change Convention and Biodiversity Conservation Workshop on Tuesday, February 16, 2021 in Ota, Ogun State.
The workshop, organised by Ogun Regional Centre of Expertise, has “Climate Change and Biodiversity Conservation for Sustainable Development of Ogun State” as its theme.
According to the VC, there is the need for the country to migrate toward agricultural systems by leveraging on conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity to achieve food security.
“The conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and equitable sharing of the benefits from the use of genetic resources underpin sustainable development and human well-being,” he said.
The don further said that the country and the world at large were faced with the challenges including astronomical growth in population, increasing urbanisation, climate change, fundamental environmental factors, such temperature, rain patterns and water availability.
He noted that scientific evidence showed that climate change was likely to challenge the realisation of sustainable development including the Sustainable Development Goals.
He said that climate change was projected to reduce the livelihood assets of vulnerable people, especially those that are dependent on biodiversity, ecosystem biodiversity and ecosystem services such as food, water and shelter.
“The climate change is also expected to have negative impacts on traditional coping mechanism and food security, thereby increasing the venerability of the world’s poor.
“In addition, the impacts of climate change on natural resources and labour productivity are likely to reduce economic growth and worsen poverty through reduced income opportunities,’’ he said.
Adebayo stressed the need for more research and action toward reducing climate change impact on biodiversity and increasing synergy of biodiversity conservation and sustainable use with climate change mitigation and adaptation activities.
In his keynote address, Dr Adeola Odedina, Commissioner for Agriculture, said there was the need for conserving degraded biodiversity in relation to ecosystem to mitigate the numerous effects of climate change.
Odedina, represented by Mr James Oyeshola, Director of Tree Crop and Rural Services, said that climate change had constituted a threat to several species, with the possibility of extinction.
He noted that almost a quarter of the species present on land today might disappear by 2050.
“The effects of climate change can increase natural disasters that may cause unpredictable and extreme weather impacts.
“It can also increasingly affect crop growth, availability of soil, forest fire, soil erosion, droughts, desertification of food shortage and water,” he said.
Odedina explained that with more investment in research, scientists would be able to predict accurately the response of biodiversity to such rapidly changing temperatures, assess the potential risks and take measures to avoid negative consequences.
Also, Dr Patience Olatunji-Olayeni, Chairman, Regional Centre for Expertise, Covenant University, described biodiversity as a major part of the earth’s system which played vital role in balancing the functions of the earth’s system.
Olatunji-Olayeni added that biodiversity disruptions, owing to unsustainable human activities, triggered climate change.
By Ige Adekunle