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DAILY TRUST

Friday. January 28.2011

31 By Fatima Zahra Wakil

Climate change and threat to food security in Nigeria igeria is endowed with a vast ecosystem, stretching from the arid to rain forest regions. This is suitable for agriculture, providing food for domestic consumption and for export Agriculture was the mainstay of the Nigerian economy, constituting the second major source of income aftei crude oil since the 1970s oil boom. It is also the largest employe; oflabour accounting for almost 70 percent ofNigerias workforce. Over the years, the sector suffered much decline since the discovery of crude oil in commercial quantity in 1958. As a result a wide gap between the domestic food production and increas ing demand was created. Government recently had to resort t" import food from other countries to make up for shortfall il' local production. Climate change is a new and developing threat to agriculture' l production in the country. This threat, which is a change in long term weather pattefl: caused by natural phenomena and human activities, is believe'! to alter the chemical composition of the atmosphere through tl·_ build-up of the Green House Gases, By definition, climate change upsets seasonal cycles, harmir . the ecosystem and water supply, causing a rise in rainfall whir" triggers floods and causes droughts and desertification with the· attendant depletion on food stocks and production capacity. Nigeria with a population of over 150 million, and abou: 923,000 square kilometres, produces variety offood crops major· ity of which are dependent on rainfalL Food production on the whole has not kept pace with the popUlation increase in Nigeri", even withou\the unwelcome advent of climate change, which made the food security situation in the country more precariou':. Food security is a condition in which all people at all tim', have phySical, social, and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food prefer ences for an active health life, a far, far cry from what obtains in this country today. Although there is some impressive output in domestic fooJ production, it is not enough to meet the national demand,crea:ing a situation where access to adequate and nutritious foods :,~ limited to low income earners. Nigeria is already experiencing drastic season change, extreme weather conditions, significant shift in rainfall, increa~t: in precipitation and high temperature among others. Cumuhtive variation in rainfall is Significantly causing reduction in te e yield of millet, rice cassava, yam and maize which are the maj'" sources of food in the country. Add to these factors the prol>lems caused by abandond farmlands as a result of desertification, drought and the perellnial clashes between farmers and cattle herdsmen, which often lay vast areas of arable land to waste and neglect, contributing to further loss in crop production. Although the recent climate change conference held at Carcun in Mexico, reached a deal that aU major economies agred to cut emissions and establish a fund to help nations most vulnerable to climate change, it is certain that crop producti"" in developing countries will continue to decline. Europe and America account for over 60 percent of the global green hall ,c gas emission, while sub-Saharan African nations emit less th ," 2 percent. Hence, countries like Nigeria are more vulnerable ',() climate changes due to the adverse agro-climate, socio-econon· i( and the technological condition of the developed world. Why is yam so costly, that it is only a Sunday meal on the tal 'e of not less than 45 percent in Nigerian homes? Why has the food economy not improved despite the h"l·c amounts of money that have been poured into Nigeria's agriCl;ltural sector over the past decades? The decline in local food supplies due to climate change ,,;;, be avoided through more efficient irrigation and water management, improved land cultivation, livestock managemenf, development of crop varieties and breeds that are adaptable to changing climatic condition. An effective use of climate data and forecasts. through early warnings systems, can assist in analyzing the impact of change on agricultural productions and the entire food chain. The action against climate change and ensuring food secUT;t! in Nigeria requires holistic participation, ranging from individ~­ als, government, nongovernmental organization, and international agencies.

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Your Letters

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Kerosene price hits 200 naira per litre!

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he price of kerosene has gone through the roof; no one knows whether it would reach the sky eventually. That's because right now, the price of the commodity

is 200 naira per litre, and that's at official filling stations. Most of the end users are poor people who are duly represented in the National Assembly. The scarcity will put more pressure on the environ-

ment as people will increase the use of firewood. The government has no poor people in it manifestoe (if any). This is a product that should be highly subsidised because of the financial position of the majority of its end users. Well, I hope the government is listening. Hasbunal-Allah, Aliyu Zakarr, Gombe (aliyuzakari@ yahoo. com)

kxtuson08131800030 Buhari. beware THE reasons advanced Chief Mike Ahamba for quitting the CPC should be a sobering time for General Buhari to reflect and take stock; Ahambas reasons are cogent Is this how CPC would handle the affairs of this country if voted into power? Should that be the case, then it will not be any different with PDP. BELLO, Tungan Maje, FeT, 08034455810.

Typical of Alibi HIS column on the north/south divide in Cote d'Ivoire reflects his abiding contempt for anything Islam, which he disguises as nationalisti<: views.

reasons shows their low level of patriotism. I feel sad that after years of dogged fight for a new Nigeria with Buhari, Ahamba has left CPC, apparently because he lost party chairmanship to Tony Momoh. Haba, Chief! You just lost an admirer. KS Umar08035885124.

Re: Danjuma panel to Jonathan: cut recurrent budget to 40% DAILY Trust should kindly publish the detailed summary of the recommendations please. DAN Enape, Garki , Abuja, 08033045520.

SADIQ N, Kano, 08038607577.

What? INEC wants more money?

THE way and manner politicians change parties for selfish

How can Prof. Jega spend 87bn on registration that so far is characterised by low battery, failure of

contractors to supply the required number of machines, bad scanners and other problems caused and then, turn round to request for another 6 ..fibn for a 7-day extension? The' failure of our upper chamber to frown at this request goes to show that there are either the contractors or have benefited from the first disbursement. OJONUGWA T., 07061651194.

Technical issues HABA Jega, why are we still using Pentium one computers on high speed-demanding DDC machines? No wonder the delay being experienced. If you are not computer literate, especially when it comes to software, your contractors can get a whole lot of mileage out of you. DAHIRU A, 08071351681.

Miss Wakil is ofDepartment ofMass Communication, UniversityofMaiduguri.

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Daily Trust, January 28, 2011