The Nigerian Association of Women in Agriculture, NAWIA, has implored the state and Federal government to urgently formulate policies that would check the adverse effects of climate change on food production in the country.
Speaking at the one day Town Hall Meeting on Agricultural Policy Issues and Climate Change in Benue State, the President of NAWIA, Mrs. Ngizan Chahul noted that food production in the country was witnessing a lot of changes as a result of global warning.
Mrs. Chahul said, “It is no linger news that the agricultural sector that provide food on our table is experiencing a lot of challenges in our communities and the nation at large. A lot of efforts have been made by the government, private sector, Non State Actors and individuals to solve these challenges but the truth is that we are far from celebrating victory. This is because our intended targets collectively and individually have not been met. It is for this reason that we are gathered here today to continue to look for solution. Today we are here to look for possible climate issues that affect agriculture, especially small holder farmers, and recommend solutions which we will demand to be included in the ongoing Agricultural Policy Formulation in Benue state. It is worthy of note that for the past 18 years, our organisation has been working in the area of livelihood support to small holder farmers and advice for improved Agriculture through increased private sector investments, increased allocation of national and state budget in agriculture sector and most recently on states specifically Agricultural Policy Formulations and we will not relent.”
Mrs. Chahul who lauded the Benue state government for prioritizing agriculture in the state also commended the efforts of the rural women across the country for their role in contributing to the course and making the quest a success.
In his keynote address, the Director Institute of Food Security at the Federal University of Agriculture Makurdi and consultant to Benue state on Policy on Agriculture, Prof. Moses Abu noted that global warning and climate change had posed a lot of problems to food production in the country. He stated that the meeting was apt since it came at the time the Benue state government was at the verge of putting in place an agricultural policy on food security. “I therefore challenge the women and youths to make bold inputs in the initiative because the agricultural policy process is participatory and we don’t want to just hand over a programme they would know nothing about. They should be able to claim ownership as well.” “Suffice it to state here that there is every need to put in place an agricultural policy that would go a long way to address the menace posed by climate change in our society. “It is also important to note that one of the issues in climate change is global warning, this involves the meltdown of the ice in the polar region and after that there is rise in the ocean and once this happens the resultant effect is the consequent flooding that we record. And our country is not exempted from it.
“If river levels rises, Benue will are not be exempted from its adverse effects. “We may recall that the last time we had such issue the River Benue rose and there was massive flooding of farmlands especially the FADAMA areas this resulted in the destruction of farmlands after farmers had spent millions of Naira to cultivate their farms. “So it is a major problem and government must take steps to construct drainages and expand culverts, dam rivers and also divert water for commercial use in order to reduce the volume of run off. This would go a long way in checking the adverse effects of climate change in our country.”
Also speaking a royal father whose community had witnessed several bloody clashes between farmers and herdsmen in the past, the Ter Guma, Chief Ivokor Unogo noted that the issue of clashes between herdsmen and farmers had also adversely effected food production in Benue state and parts of the country.
Chief Unogo stated that “ordinarily both groups are supposed to live in peace. In my domain I have overtime ensured that they lived in peace. Despite the bloody clashes, we have not asked them to live Benue state but cohabit for the common good of all.
The royal father commended the state government for coming up with the Anti Open Grazing Bill saying it would go a long way to put an end to bloody clashes that had distorted farming activities in the state.
On his part, the Chairman of the Benue State Local Government Service Commission, LGSC, Prof. John Ortyoyande stated that the commission had already commenced the training of local government workers on the steps to check the menace of global warning. “We are doing sensitization and education of the relevant officials on the steps to be taken and precautions to apply to avert destruction of farmlands in the event of flooding in the various communities which are all targeted at ensure massive food production in the state.” Prof. Ortyoyande stated.
The town hall meeting which was made possible through the collaboration of the Human and Environment Development Agenda, HEDA, resource centre and Voice for Food Security, VFS, coalition with support from Oxfam Nigeria, drew participant from various women and youth farming groups in the state.
SOURCE: PETER D. (2017), View Link.