AGRICULTURE 

By Gabriel Ewepu

AS 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) continues in Glasgow, United Kingdom, UK, the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Safewater Energy & Environmental Restoration, SWEER, Global, Dr Thaddaeus Thompson, Tuesday, expressed pain over lack of education of Nigerian farmers on how to combat climate change.

Thompson stated this while speaking with Vanguard on the ongoing COP26 holding in Glasgow, UK, where he pointed out that the big polluters in the world are not ready to show that commitment to reduce the devastation they emit to the environment despite making pledges to combat the monster.  

He pointed out that it is a known fact that Nigeria is plagued with the most hazardous environmental pollutants that directly affect climate change in the agriculture sector. Since most of the causes could be attributed to human negligence and failures, it is critical we factor human efforts into finding the solution to the problems.

He said: “The threat of climate change is felt worldwide whether we agree or argue about it. Climatic changes have largely been attributed to bad weather caused by pollution and natural disasters that were often beyond human control.

“The causes are more discussed in various scholastic and intellectual forums and the conclusions draw was mostly focused on floods, heatwaves, and adverse weather patterns and conditions.

“These are all facts that one considers when determining the causes and effects of climate change. My major concern as an agric-economist is the lack of adequate education for farmers to help them better understands their stake in combating climate change.

“The fight against climate change is every citizen’s responsibility, and as such, the population must be aware of its carbon print on the environment. Most farmers do not understand that using pesticides and certain grades of fertilizers on their farms could potentially create or contribute to climatic conditions that affect agriculture.

“Climate change is not only the depletion of the ozone layer; it goes beyond that. When farmlands are saturated with toxic substances the toxins do not remain on the surface of the soil, instead evaporation caused by the heat of the sun and the earth’s surface releases toxic gases into the atmosphere, which through hydrochloric cycle send the toxins back to earth as acid rain.

“The acidity of the rain that falls can cause environmental issues such as diseases to crops and destruction to nutrients that plants need to stay healthy. In the advanced countries, farmers are aware of this devastating effect and would detoxify the ground before fertilizing and planting, because most of the farming in Nigeria is done on a small scale, farmers tend not to pay attention to the climatic effects that their usage of pesticides and toxic substances cause.”

“Education on climate change must also be focused on the hidden factors that cause climate change. Farmers must understand that cutting down trees and replacing them with cash crops such as cassava will create an imbalance in the ecosystem and the vegetation.

“Tree can absorb more water than cassava, so replacing the vegetation with a plant that does not serve the natural purpose of the surrounding vegetation could easily ruin the ecosystem.

“Hence, we are witnesses flooding at certain areas of the country, particularly at areas and regions where the vegetation has been drastically tampered or transformed”, he said.

Speaking on job creation through environmental restoration, the SWEER Global boss said his company has made it a priority to ensure Nigerian youths are employed as part of its effort to add value to the lives of young people and the environment as well.

“Job creation has been a top priority to SWEERGLOBAL as part of its efforts to improve climate change in Nigeria.

“Most of our paid jobs are focused on environmental cleaning processes, such garbage collection and management systems, plastic bottle pollution elimination technology, drinking water purification, and environmental sanitization.

“We plan to employ and train about 50,000 men and women from around Nigeria and from various communities to create a living and also to reduce crime and violence, which has become quite rampant in the Niger Delta region due to lack of employment opportunities.

“Nigeria can and should improve its climatic conditions by turning the odds into job opportunities and education on climate change”, he added.

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