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Nigeria to lose 11 percent productivity to climate change in 2 years – Reports

Debilitating climate change could make Nigeria’s economic productivity to decrease by 11 percent in two years, two new reports have revealed.

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The reports ‘Fine Words do not Produce Food’ and ‘Impact of Investments in Agriculture and Climate Change Adaptation on Small Scale Farmers in Nigeria’ were formally presented on Wednesday at a one-day media-CSOs roundtable in Abuja.

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They were the outcome of researches conducted by West Africa Network for Peace-building Nigeria (WANEP-Nigeria) and Oxfam Nigeria respectively.

In their separate remarks, the representative of Oxfam in Nigeria, Abdulaziz Musa and National Network Coordinator of WANEP-Nigeria, Mrs. Bridget Osakwe, said the meeting was to ensure that the findings of the research is implemented for the benefits of the citizenry.

They said that if the country is not producing more food, there would be more hunger in the land due to the rising population.

According to the report, small scale farmers (SSFs) were at the highest receiver of the negative effects of climate change and also that flood, decrease length of raining season and late onset of rains ranked above other seven indexes of climate change manifestations among respondents.

The report said that while government is pursuing a vision of economic transformation and commercialization with agriculture at the centre, small-scale farmers are not the focus of investment.

WANEP in its October 2017 report conducted in Kebbi and Adamawa states noted that the climate change has brought additional uncertainty and risk to Nigeria’s largely small-scale food system.

It said that the expanding desert belt along deforestation have reduced the amount of land available for farming, and that decline in rainfall at a rate of 3 to 4 percent per decade has negatively impacted crop yields.

“A shortening of the rainy season means a fewer opportunities for planting, and the lack of storage facilities have resulted in post-harvest losses to up to 40 per cent.

“Climate change could decrease Nigeria’s economic productivity by up to 11 percent by 2020, and up to 30 per cent by 2050. Agricultural productivity is projected to decline by 10 to 25 per cent by 2080, and by 50 percent in some northern regions.

“A similar picture emerges in Kebbi and Adamawa states, where about half of farmers spoke of declining harvest, cultivated area and production yields due to climate variability and extreme weather events.

“Farmers are losing livestock, crops and vegetables are washed away in flooding and fish do not survive in warmer temperatures. Drought and windstorms are also causing produce losses, such as potatoes. These signify a loss of livelihood for these farmers,” the reports said.

According to the reports, running a small-scale farm in Nigeria is an uphill battle against many constraints, including costly farm input, lack of information, limited access to technology, credits, markets and land tenure problems.

It said that there is a clear disconnect between policy intention and the services that farmers are actually receiving.

“Interventions that could transform the lives of farmers are being passed over in favour of large infrastructure projects and research initiatives. Half if agricultural funding goes toward capital projects and a significant proportion of this goes to around 40 training and research institutions,” it said.

The report therefore recommended that government should redirect investments to align with the needs of smallholder farmers, especially women farmers who face additional constraints in accessing agricultural inputs and extension services.

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