A field of agricultural produce

By Eromosele Abiodun

Climate change has been described as the greatest challenge of all times for humanity, with potentially huge, negative consequences for agriculture and food prices.

This assertion was made by Professor Francis Adesina of the Department of Geography, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State, while delivering a lecture on the topic, ‘Some Thoughts on Climate Change, Agriculture,’ at the British American Tobacco Nigeria Foundation (BATNF) Implementing Partners workshop held in Ibadan recently.

Adesina noted that the impact of climate change is felt most on “exposed systems,” which he said include rain-fed agriculture.

He traced the genesis of global warming to 1880, noting that successive years since the 19th Century have been hotter, with 2015 being the hottest year.

He expressed the regret that Nigeria and other developing countries are most susceptible to the harsh effects of climate change due to poor water storage system, which he said has grave implication for agriculture.

“Considering the very high consumption of rice in Nigeria, nowadays, if you must control climate change one of the crops you need to control is rice because of its high water demand,” he said, while emphasising the need for farmers to be climate smart.

He noted further that climate change signs are evident and cited the example of the absence of an August break in 2015.

Earlier in his address, a BATNF Technical Committee member, Prof. Chidi Ibe, reiterated the need for farmers to develop the capability to adapt to climate change.
One of the achievements of climate change adaptation, he noted, is the development of a drought resistant rice variety.

Other contributors to the climate change discourse also called for greater agricultural water management programme and the development of a water harvesting culture.

The Implementing Partners were also advised to regularly access information from the Nigerian Metrological Agency (NIMET) and interface with farmers in disseminating information on climate change. A case was also made for the proper inspection of beneficiary farmers by the Implementing Partners in some of the BATNF crop enterprise implementation projects to ensure greater compliance.

The Executive Director, BATNF, Seyi Ashade, lauded the BATNF Implementing Partners for their constant cooperation and support with the focus on agriculture in Nigeria and how the sector could be enhanced to play a more meaningful role in Nigeria’s socio-economic development.