From Babatunde Rahman, Lokoja.
Actionaid Nigeria, a non governmental organisation, has described climate change as the major environmental threat to the fight against hunger, malnutrition, disease and poverty in Nigeria.
This was contained in a communique issued by ActionAid Nigeria at the 39th Meeting of the Board of Directors held at the Ibeto Hotels, Abuja on Friday 14th of June 2019.
It claimed rural population, which produce more than 70% of the food consumed in Nigeria, are disproportionately poor and face malnutrition and disease.
It also said that both government and the private sector, that should drive the sector through consistent policies, robust funding and infrastructure development, have failed to accord this problem the priority it deserves.
“Moreover, the anticipated benefit from trade liberalization has failed to trickle down to the Nigerian farmers, coupled with inefficient local marketing systems,” it said.
It observed that in addition, farmers are slow in changing their farming practices such as bush burning, deforestation and rain-fed agriculture and they lack the requisite education, information and training necessary to adapt to climate change.
The body therefore recommended that the government should not only decentralize its programs on Social Investment Programme and agricultural research (funding and activities) but should make them participatory.
According to the body, “In addition, there should be an explicit national agricultural policy framework, adequate provision for irrigation, drainage, weather forecasting and other agricultural technology, infrastructure, an incentive for training in agriculture, participatory and on-growing capacity building for farmers, drought resistant and short duration high yielding crops development, integration of indigenous and modern knowledge on climate change adaptation, strengthening of the extension services, and encouragement for the nurturing of existing farmer groups.”