Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja
Nigeria’s economic productivity could decrease by up to 11 per cent by 2020 and up to 30 per cent by 2050 as a result of climate change, a new report has revealed.
The report said while government is pursuing a vision of economic transformation and commercialisation with agriculture at the centre, small-scale farmers are not the focus of investment.
It stated that funding levels of agriculture and climate change adaptation are significantly lower than promised; stressing that money is skewed toward larger scale project and research.
This was disclosed in Abuja at a recent one-day media-CSOs roundtable to unveil the West Africa Network for Peace-building Nigeria (WANEP) research on the ‘Impact of Investment in Agriculture and Climate Change Adaptation on Small Scale Farming in Nigeria’.
WANEP, in its October 2017 report conducted in Kebbi and Adamawa States in collaboration with Oxfam Nigeria, noted that the climate change has brought additional uncertainty and risk to Nigeria’s largely small-scale food system.
It stated that the expanding desert belt along deforestation have reduced the amount of land available for farming, adding that decline in rainfall at a rate of 3 to 4 per cent per decade has negatively impacted crop yields.
The report noted that “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 per cent 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 per cent 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 wished 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 report also stressed that running a small-scale farm in Nigeria was an uphill battle against many constraints, such as costly farm input; lack of information; limited access to technology; credits; markets and land tenure problems.
It pointed out that there was a clear disconnect between policy intention and the services that farmers are actually receiving.
“Specific to coping with the impacts of climate change, about 69 per cent of farmers surveyed had not received support, some of the support received was non-governmental and more male than female farmers had benefitted
“Interventions that could transform the lives of farmers are being passed over in favour of large infrastructure projects and research initiatives. Half of agricultural funding goes toward capital projects and a significant proportion of this goes to around 40 training and research institutions,” the report said.
It therefore recommended that government should redirect investments to align south the needs of smallholder farmers, especially women farmers who face additional constraints in accessing agricultural inputs and extension services.
It also recommended that farmers need support to ameliorate the high cost of fertilisers, machinery, water pumps and other resource.
Earlier, in his opening remarks, Oxfam in Nigeria representative, Abdulaziz Musa said the purpose of the meeting was to ensure that the findings of the research were put into use. He said if the country is not producing more food, there would be more hunger in the land.