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Climate Smart Agriculture

Climate Smart Agriculture

Agriculture is one of the sectors most sensitive to climate change in Nigeria, with productivity set to decling by 10-25% by 2080, and yields of rain-fed agriculture in some northern areas predicted vulnerable to declines of up to 50%. This may result in a 4.5% reduction to GDP by 2050 and critically to loss of livelihoods and increased poverty for the over 90m households engaged in farming as subsistence farming accounting for 80% of farm holdings.

The sector is highly vulnerable to a wide range of impacts including increased temperatures, ecosystem degradation, drought, flood and an increase in extreme weather events. During the 2012 flood $16.9bn of damages were incurred, affecting 1.5m ha of staple crops and over ½m households dependent on livestock farming.

It is therefore critical that Nigeria begin to adopt climate-smart agriculture practices that will allow smallholders, and big producers, to adapt to climate change whilst reducing emissions. Key initiatives already underway include:

  • Development of a national Agricultural resilience framework which sets out a wide range of policies to promote adaptation, mitigation and improved food security
  • Initiation of climate-smart input pilots, bringing drought resistant seeds and new varieties suited to changing climate to the country
  • Large-scale investments into irrigation schemes for small-holder farmers, ensuring the entire regions are able to manage water resources more effectively
  • Plans underway for climate insurance pilots, which would help small holder farmers off-set the risks of climate variability and weather becomes more unpredictable
  • Strategic policy commitments to food security, with the incoming administration aiming to become self-sufficient in rice and wheat within 3 years, thus reducing household vulnerability
  • Some of Nigeria’s largest agri-businesses currently investigating opportunities to promote climate-smart production
  • Multi-agency programme currently under design which will improve the capacity of Nigeria’s climate information and communication systems so as to improve the timely availability and dissemination of weather and emergency management information

While much remains to be done, the direction of travel is clear: Nigeria is taking an increasingly pro-active and engaged approach to climate-proofing its agriculture sector, however significant additional activity and partnerships will be needed to ensure the transformation required.

About Elisha Awojuola

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