An article in ThisDay newspaper, several weeks ago described how climate change is already affecting food security in Nigeria. The article explained that the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) warned of an impending threat to food security in Nigeria and 10 other nations in the West African region.
The institute claimed that the crisis would only be averted if deliberate efforts are made by both governments and the private sector to include climate change adaptation to food security investment in the region.
An IFPRI survey offered data for the first time, country-by-country climate data and analysis for 11 of the countries that make up West Africa: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Togo.
According to the IFPRI, West African policy makers must prepare for future challenges from climate change as they address the pressing needs of broad-based economic growth.
“Maize, millet, rice, and sorghum are the major cereal crops in the region, yet yields from these crops are very low compared to the world average and even other regions in Africa. Impacts from a changing climate will challenge production systems already under pressure to produce more to feed a growing population. Existing farming systems, including crops and livestock, are adapted to today’s agro-ecosystems in the region, but climate change will alter those systems in uncertain ways, affecting livelihoods, especially those of poor farmers,” the IFPRI survey noted.
According to the international food agency, this survey is greatly needed in the West Africa region to fill a major gap in the availability of up-to-date scientific information on the vulnerability of the agriculture sector to climate change in countries and in the region,
The study focused on both individual countries and the region providing a clear framework for developing informed and coherent national and regional policies to help the vulnerable farming community of West Africa become more resilient to the growing challenges of climate change.
Furthermore, President Muhammadu Buhari spoke on climate change issues and how it affects food security in Nigeria, while presenting Nigeria’s position at the recent Conference of Parties 21 (COP21).
According to him, the challenges were also threatening human lives, adding that they have resulted in the destruction of many economic and social structures.
Also speaking on the devastating effects of insurgency in the country, the president also remarked the drying up of the Lake Chad Basin was consequent upon the effect of climate change.
He said: “Like many countries, Nigeria continues to witness the adverse effects of climate change in all its ramifications. Presently, we are reeling under the challenges of climate change as the frequency and intensity of extreme events like floods and drought are on the increase.
“These challenges have resulted in the destruction of many economic and social structures and more worryingly, threatening our national food production and security.”
The magnitude of insurgency Nigeria is facing cannot be completely explained away without taking cognizance of the threat of climate change.
Without a doubt,Climate change is threatening not only the sustainable development of our social and economic activities but also the totality of human existence in our country as in other parts of the world.