World Food Day: Nigerians seek action on climate change

Ene Okwanihe, Abuja

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in Nigeria has met with stakeholders in the capital, Abuja,to find a lasting solution to the effects of climate change on agriculture and food security in Nigeria.

The symposium with the global theme “Climate is changing; Food and agriculture must too,” witnessed stakeholders in agriculture sector in Nigeria call for measures to be taken to mitigate the adverse effect of Climate change on food security.

The Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Heineken Lokpobiri said the stakeholders in the agricultural sector in Nigeria must see climate change as the biggest threat to global food security and that the most vulnerable people were the farmers who are among the poorest in this part of the world.

He said plans have to be put in place to mitigate the effect of climate change.

“Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa and therefore the vulnerable to climate change with 70% of her over 180 people dependent on agriculture for their livelihood. Agriculture accounts for almost 24% of National GDP. Therefore increases in drought, floods erosion, land degradation and other threats to agriculture and its acceleration in the coming decades will impact heavily on food security”

The minister added that “upon realizing the need for the nation to avert the effect of climate change on food security, the federal Government in 2013, initiated the National Policy on climate change with an integrated intervention action plan to reduce the sector’s vulnerability to climate change.”

National programme coordinator of the International Fund for Agriculture Development IFAD, assisted Climate change adaptation and Agribusiness support programme Muhammad Lawal Isah, said to battle climate, more resilient plans must be put in place to ensure food security.

“As the climate change continues we need to face reality and step up efforts to mitigate, adopt and shift to more resilient, more productive food sustainability”

Dr. Rabe Mani representative of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of United Nations delivered the FAO’s message on the 2016 World Food Day.

At the same time, the global population is growing steadily and is expected to reach 9.6 billion by 2050. To meet such a heavy demand, agriculture and food systems will need to adapt to the adverse effects of climate change and become more resilient, productive and sustainable. This is the only way that we can ensure the wellbeing of ecosystems and rural populations and reduce emissions.

Growing food in a sustainable way means adopting practices that produce more with less in the same area of land and use natural resources wisely. It also means reducing food losses before the final product or retail stage through a number of initiatives including better harvesting, storage, packing, transport, infrastructure, market mechanisms, as well as institutional and legal frameworks.

This is why our global message for World Food Day 2016 is “Climate is changing. Food and agriculture must too.”

FAO, OXFAM and SQN were partners with the ministry for the event.

World Food Day (WFD) was established by FAO’s Member Countries at the Organization’s 20th General Conference in November 1979. It has since been observed every year in more than 150 countries, raising awareness of the issues behind poverty and hunger.