By Nkiruka Nnorom
Professor of Geography, Mr. Francis Adesina, from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State, has identified climate change as one of the greatest challenges facing agriculture in the developing countries, especially Nigeria.
He made the statement while delivering a lecture on the topic, ‘Some Thoughts on Climate Change, Agriculture,’ at the British American Tobacco Nigeria Foundation (BATNF) Implementing Partners workshop.
He noted that the impact of climate change is felt most on “exposed systems, “which he said include rain-fed agriculture.
Adesina 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 regretted 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 emphasizing 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 Meteorological 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.