Blessing Ibunge in Port Harcourt
A Non Governmental Organisation, Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF), has noted that agroecology is a viable solution to climate change.
The group noted this at a workshop to examine the importance of Agroecology in climate change mitigation/adaptation as well as in ensuring food sovereignty, featuring researchers, policy experts and representatives from the Ministry of Environment as well as the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
In his address, Executive Director of HOMEF, Rev Nnimmo Bassey stated that to successfully address the challenge of climate change there is need to change the way people relate with the ecosystem; the way natural resources are exploited and consumable food are produced.
“Climate change increases the vulnerabilities and uncertainties of Nigerian farmers while agroecology reduces environmental footprint of agriculture as opposed to fossil-fuels driven industrial agriculture. We must desist form production measures which disrupt ecosystem balance and which pump greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.” He added.
Speaking on Agroecology as a Viable Solution to the Climate and Food Crises, food sovereignty Activist, Mariann Bassey-Orovwuje explained that Agroecology is a bottom-top approach, which harness local/traditional knowledge as well as scientific innovation in Agriculture.
According to her, Agroecology uses a range of practices including mixed cropping, crop rotation, composting, agroforestry, biological pest control, cover cropping, biomas recycling, which do not only help to optimize and improve yields but help with resilience to the impact of climate change.
She added that Agroecology promotes biodiversity, which is a key principle in climate change mitigation.
“Agroecological initiatives aim at transforming industrial agriculture by transitioning existing food systems away from fossil fuel-based production largely for agro-export crops and biofuels towards an alternative agricultural paradigm that encourages local and national food production by small and family farmers based on local innovation, resources and solar energy. This implies ensuring the access of peasants to land, seeds, water, credit and local markets through the creation of supportive economic policies, financial incentives, and market opportunities; as well as the scaling up of agroecological technologies, ”she further explained.
Speaking on Promoting Agroecology For Climate Resilient Agriculture and Food Security In Nigeria – Realigning Policies, Climate Change Specialist, Prof Emmanuel Oladipo noted that although Agroecological practices are understood as representing the most effective way to achieve sustain-able food security and nutrition for all in a changing climate, particularly in a developing economy like Nigeria, their importance and relevance to helping society adapt to and mitigate the impacts of climate change in the food security value chain is still not fully explored because of policy constraints.
Oladipo called for more advocacy and a powerful movement to bring together governments, international agencies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), communities, and academics from all disciplines to promote the value of agroecology to adapt to and mitigate the impacts of climate change on national food security for sustain-able development.
Oladipo further stated that Agroecology has a large potential space in climate policy dialogues but that a number of actions need to be put in place to elevate agroecology to a high level of policy discussion including by expanding the evidence based approach; advocating for agroecology-specific policy framework in the context of addressing the climate change challenge; building capacity of relevant national and local institutions for agroecology advocacy; facilitating local and international financing; and embarking on practical field demonstrations.
Stakeholders at the workshop agreed on the importance of Agroecology in climate change mitigation as well as food security and the need for its integration in our climate change and agriculture policies.