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15

Ni geri an Tribune Tuesday, Z7 September. 2011

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..... the impact of it anyw here in sec various changes around us w hich point to possible eJfects of climate change. Some of these changes, from my personal observation. are highlighted below:

Climate change has distrupted cropping calender. The cropping calender in various ecological zones of the country has been visibly altered in the last few de<:ades. For instance, in the past, it was safe to go ahead imd start planting some arable crops such as ma ize,

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Prof. A kin Om otayo

HE cf.ange in weather/climate globally and its at ~endant effects on human existence should ord inarily be of concern 10 everybody, especilllly ag ri c~lI ure experts lind stakeholders in the nation's agricultural se<:lor as well as policy make rs. Bu t it seems we are not paying particular attention as it is expected to this problem. Our r'ainIall pattern has changL'({ dramatically and recent caseS of Oood disaster! as a resuH of persistent to rren tial r.lin{;>11 in d irrerenl parts o f !he country has now opened lho~ eyes of m any Nigerians, thus fordng them 10 ap preciate the regular news of climate change which some of l ' S have been talki ng about for sometime. These statements above is that o f a Professor o f agricultu re, Akin Omotayo, the Director, University of Agriculture, Ab~kula, Ogun Sta te, Consull. (UNMB) Consult) while ~l pcakin g in lb.. dan. Oyo State, rece ntly. The ag r!cllltur£ e..l(pert said apart fro m the changing ectJ n Olll ic and political env ironmen t, researchers and agricu lture extensiun practitioners would also h.we to contend w ith UU! problems of d im .. te change especially in period like th is.

Wlllit oUleJ' Ul/ng s have yo u observed a bout the climate d lange that Is gi!,ing you con cern in Nigeria, especiaJly as It affects food pro du c tion ? Forests are being converted to non·food production systems, water lesou rct'S are becoming more scarce. and climate dlange plus sh ri nki ng biodi versity are now th rea te ning the viabilit y and long eSlabl ish ed pnxluction syst ems of farmi ng communities ill Illany parts of N ige.rii'. Not much consideration is also being acrorded on ho'" t0 5<1 feguard biodi versity for food and ag ricu ltu re (C' r fu tu re generations, as we ll 3S maintaining 3 b ro., d gene pool which ensure ecosystem resilence.

But wllaf iF our sd en tists or reseachers doing to reduce thE effect& of clima te change on Ut e ni1tion 's agricullural systems so Utat it d oes not a ffect o u r Iol)d produclion s):s tem 7 Scientists have expressed major concern over areas w here subsiste nce agricu ture is the norm, because a Illere one ton }"eld deaease for instance, could lead to major dism pliC'n of rural life . Conversely, some have suggesled th a t imall fa rms alld traditio nal agricultural s)'ste m ca n a ~ tu a ll y be part o f the sol uti on by contribu ting tn cl imate change m itiga tion th rou gh carbon colL"t!n-alion, sequestratio n.. su bstitu tion and establishing ea:,logical1 y designed agricu ltural systems and the cre-ativily and knowledge of local farmers. Other members o f the ind igenous comm u n ities · a re also regarded as val uable assets for solving the dalm ling problems affecting agricultu re as a resull of clim ate change. Wh a f are the spedflc sig ns or im pacts of climate d laTge on farmin & that y ou h ave

observed

loc~y?

There is dea~ l y no credible scientific evidence on the e((ects or clima~ changes in Nigeria bcG\use there has not been any emperial sludy known 10 us to ascertain

it is either rainfed ord irrigation is now p roduced in much part o f the Sou th-West fa rming system zone w here high humidil)' in Ihe past m ight ha\'e restricted its production. There is an evidence thai h umidity have been red uced considerably. A lso from personal observatioll, ya m production which appeared to compulsorily require staking in the past in the Sou th-west is now grown by migr.lIlt farmel"5 wi thou t stak ing. Alt hough there is no emperical

Professor Akin Omotayo is a senior lecturer a t the Univer sity of Agriculture, Abeokuta (UNAAB), Ogun State and the Director of UNAAB Consult. He is also the immediate p ast Commissioner of Agriculture and Rural Development in Ekiti State. He spoke on why government at all levels should not handle the issue of climate change with levity because of negative impacts it could have on government's food security programmes and Vision 20:2020. In this interview with Seye Adeniyi, the don enumerates some strategies to mitigate the impact of climate change. ria!, cass.1Va, melon and others ~hvee l1 February and Ma rch in much of the South West famling system and ecological zones.. Planting of lhese crops appear to have now been shifted pennanently to late April and early May when rainfal becomes sle3dy. This is because of .late r3i ns 3nd shorier dura tion of raining season. Also some localities where banana and plantain wert~ freely culti.va ted and rai n-fed in the past w ithout su pplementary irrigation particularly in some parts of the South-West and Middlebelt fMm ing zones now require supplementary irrig3tion for these crops to do well because of shorter raining season and increased temperature. Frequent bush fIres and the loss of sevcral hectares of trrecrop farms particu larly coco.l, d ue 10 HreoutbTilke, point to increasing fragility of the ecosystem as 3 result of longer dry se_asons and higher temperature Not only thai, yield and fruiting cah.:nder of some tree crops ha\'e been visibly altered. For instance, from my candid observation, although 1101 yet verified and documented scientifically. the yield of mangoes appear 10 have d ecreased and m:!ngoes now fl ower and fru it t\Via! a year. In Ogun St:!te for example, mangoes nower between November and Decem ber and fruil in fI:larchl April. . Between April and May, mangoes begin a secund ro und of flower prod uction with the fru it mat uring between j une, July and August. This could probably be attributed to changes in tempe rature and perhaps photoperiod or day length ooth of which area parts of the clements of d imate d lange.

Is that all that you observe d LS a researclrer7 I have o!her issues, bul I w ill discuss few o f them w ith yo u and th is s u bmi ssio n s are based on m y peT50nal observations. Wnter melon production which used to be exdusively confined to the nort hern parts of

investigation concern ing its yield and pe rfo rmil nce using Ihis me!hod. but there i'lppears to be no miljor problem growing yam using this method in the farming sys tem o f the Sou th-West. Th is n o, d o ub t, is a n improtant subject o f investigation f9f scientisls. r emaps. one group of people Ihat appear! to ha\'e been most know ledgeable a nd h ave laken decisive action about climate change in Nigeria for o\'er three decacles now are Ihe pastoralist Fu lani . This groups, who aN! mainly callie h erders, were once practising transhu mance or nomad ism i.e moving seasonally with thei r ca llies fro m the northern part, semi·arid zones of Nigeria to the south pilrts, sub-humid and humid in seardl of pastu res. thai seasonal movemcnt stopped a long time ago. Many Fulani pastornlists are now semisedentary o r sedentary in the sub-humid and hu mid zones. Th is ho wever, has been pa rtly responsible for the incessant resliveness and sometimes \'iolcnt connict in the last two decades in Oke Oglln area of Oyo State amo ng sed entary farme rs and p asto ra lis t Fu lani herders. Wllat is the solution or w ay out, esr ecially if IVe w an t to achieve th e objecti ves 0 Vision

20:2020. We II1USt continue to devise crea th "e and p roactive means of tackling the problem of climate dla nge at the local level if actually we want to ensure sustainability of extension delivery systems in Nigeria and adlieve food security. Also if Vision 20:2020 would not be th.reatened. we have to take steps to mitigate the effects of dimate change. 11 has also become clear that e\'en if we don't know any!hing about climate challge, I think it is evid ent now thai a lmost everybody knows or appreciate the ract lhat o ur rain.fall pattern is no longer predictable.

Company denies supplying substandard fertiliser to farmers

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AUCHl State Fertiliser Company (OAFCO). has defended its p rod uct, d enying speculations that its prod uct is substandard. Alhaji Tijani Adamu, the (Ompany's chairman. told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Bauchi !hat the company's prod uct was of good quality. He said that Federal Ministry of Agricul ture, Nalional Agency For Foods, Drugs Adminfslration and Control (NAFDACrand Abubakn r Tafa wa Balewa Uni versity, Baumi. h ad all attested to tJle high quality of the company's p roduct Hestid thai therawmaterial'iused forthe product's manuIf~ which indudtit NPJ<. MAP, DAPand Urea,. wt'f'e sup-

[pOOd from lJkmire. while ""'"" "" ......... 1omlIy.

"F4J1llers are £ree to test our fertiliser and compare it w ith other brands, using small fanns. I ca n assure them that the d ifference will be clear. " We maintain !he high quality of our p rod uct by using the best raw materials available. "We have a laboratory in !he company for testing the quality of our prod uct and we will, Iherefore, never compromise sfandard for w hatever reason, or he said . The News Agency of N igeria (NA N) reports that some fanners in the state had attributed the poor y ield from their fa.rms this year to the poor q uality of !he sup plied fertiliser. . These com plaints had fuelled speculalions that the fertiliser suppUed by !he .company was'of low quality.


NIGERIAN TRIBUNE, 27 SEPTEMBER, 2011