Nigeria: Agricultural Policies and Climate Change

Author: Martins Eke | Published: December 19, 2016 

Climate change has emerged one of the most challenging environmental issues of the 21st century. As a driver of many kinds of environmental changes, climate change poses risk to fresh water supply, food production and economic development. The massive shrinking of the Lake Chad in the North-East geopolitical zone of Nigeria which played a key role in predisposing the people of the zone to enlistment into Boko Haram terror group is a clear example of how far-reaching the consequences of climate change can be. Agriculture has being identified as having huge potential in the adaptation and mitigation of climate change. However, the ability of the government to formulate good climate change policies and effectively implement the agricultural sector strategies of the policies are key to the fight against climate change.

One major policy of the Nigerian government in the fight against climate change is the National Adaptation Strategy and Plan of Action on Climate Change for Nigeria (NASPA-CCN). This strategy envisions a Nigeria in which climate change adaptation is an integrated component of sustainable development, reducing the vulnerability and enhancing the resilience and adaptive capacity of all economic sectors and of all people particularly women and children to the adverse impacts of climate change, while also capturing the opportunities that arise as a result of climate change. Some of NASPA-CCN strategies for the agricultural sector includes: Increase access to drought-resistant crops and livestock feeds; adopt better soil management practices; provide early warning/meteorological forecasts and related information; increase planting of native vegetation cover and promotion of re-greening efforts. Considering the huge adverse effects of climate change, Nigeria has no other option than to move from business-as-usual model of agriculture to climate-smart agriculture. Capturing the opportunities arising from climate change entails taking full advantage of the employment opportunities arising from climate change in terms of the new and sustainable jobs it will create through use of new and improved ways of doing things. Planting of native vegetation cover and promotion of re-greening efforts will provide employment for those producing nursery bags as well as those on the field who plant and nurture the trees.