Friday, April 16, 2010

Nigerian agriculturists want climate change taken seriously

Ayodamola Owoseye in The Voices for Food Security (VFS) and the Association of Small-Scale Agro Producers in Nigeria (ASSAPIN), in a letter to Acting President, Goodluck Jonathan, on his return to Nigeria, called on the federal government to be serious in tackling anticipated disasters as a result of climate change.

A recent report from the National Meteorological Agency (NIMET) titled ‘2010 Seasonal Rainfall Forecast' predicted that rainfall will generally start late and end early this year, and that there will be increased droughts and flash floods across the country.

Osaro Odemwingie, national coordinator of the VFS campaign, said "With the early weather forecast, there are lots of early planning and preparation which can be done by the government and the farmers. There is still room for the government to map out strategies to assisting the farmers to combat this imminent danger as there is a need for the nation to plan ahead in combating the changes because the implications of this impending calamity for agriculture and food security cannot be over emphasised."

Mr. Odemwingie added, "with the prediction of drought and flooding there tends to be food crisis as this will alter the planting season. Knowing Nigerian farmers depend on the season and nature in terms of rain to cultivate their farm produce, the implication of this disaster to food production would not be quantifiable.

…To successfully combat drought and desert encroachment in the northern part, the Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources is urged to focus more on the provision of water supply and technology for irrigation. Taiwo Lawal, a farmer, said, "The truth is that without water agriculture cannot thrive and in a situation where there is too much water resulting into flooding most of the plants will either be swept away or not grow well," he said….

Nigerian farmers in the Middle Belt, shot by Mike Blyth, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Generic license

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