As Nigerians grapple with food challenges, the Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Senator Abubakar Kyari, Thursday, expressed deep worries over the threat posed by climate change impacts on food production and food security.
Kyari stated this while speaking at the Sahel Food System Change Makers Conference with the theme ‘Rethinking Food and Nutrition Security in the Face of Climate Change: Scaling Innovation and Driving Urgent Public Private Partnership Actions’, held in Abuja.
The Minister, represented by Sugra Mahmood, urged stakeholders from the public and private sectors to pool their resources in tackling the challenges of climate change.
He said: “We must unite our efforts, harnessing the strength of both the public and private sector, including the informal sector, by doing so we can mobilize the resources, expertise and innovations necessary to confront climate change head-on, however, we must act urgently.
“Climate change is not waiting for us to catch up, the challenges are pressing, the consequences are severe and should not be contemplated.
“We must invest in Agriculture, sustainable land management, and the development of resilient food systems.
“In this journey, the President Tinubu-led administration commits to playing a leading role. We will work tirelessly to create an enabling environment for innovations and investors.
“We will strengthen our institutions to support Public Private Partnerships, PPP, that drive sustainable agriculture.
“We prioritise the resilience of our food systems and the well-being of our citizens.”
Additionally, Atiku Bagudu, the Minister of Budget and Economic Planning, emphasized that climate change has played a significant role in exacerbating food insecurity within Nigeria.
“Climate change over the decades has been responsible for not only consequential effects on food system but also as a single largest contributor to insecurity in Agriculture.
“What is increasingly recognised as a Sahelian problem is mostly climate change because not only that the available land is increasingly unable to support agricultural practices in the way they are traditionally done but equally the competition for resources by the composite tripod of the agricultural space is also incomplete”, Bagudu said.
He also lamented that, “The farmers can no longer find enough land to cultivate in the way they used to because of combination of many factors.
“The fishing communities could not find enough freshwater bodies to fish in the way they used to.
“The pastoralist communities who move from one place to another cannot longer be supported in the way they used to. This brings to fore the urgency.”
Additionally, the Minister urged all pertinent stakeholders to swiftly intervene in order to prevent and address the situation, thus minimizing the adverse impacts of climate change.
“The surprising conflicts that you are seen in other places especially the northwest where particularly the pasture realist community over the decades can no longer find avenues for their pasture and can no longer move around as they used to again has been a contributory factor to the conflict, so climate change is real, and we need not to be reminded that if we don’t do something, it will affect us”, he added.
Earlier, the Managing Partner, Sahel Consulting, Temi Adegoroye, noted that, “We face alarming rates of food deficiencies in Nigeria.
Adegoroye noted that most of the households in Nigeria spend 60 percent of their income on food as food inflation hits 25 percent in Q3 of 2023.
He said: “Climate change is no longer a distant threat but a stark reality that affects every aspect of our lives. Nowhere is this more evident than in our diets and food systems.
“Despite our rich culinary heritage, we face alarming rates of food deficiencies. We have growing food inflation which was about 25% in Q3 2023 and many households spend almost 60 percent of their income on food.
“According to the World Food Programme, WFP, in 2022, 34 percent of our population was in a state of stressed food security, struggling to maintain a minimally adequate level of food consumption.
“This year, we intend to amplify more innovative public-private partnership actions that reflect the gravity of the challenges we face in our food systems.
“Sahel Consulting stands ready to collaborate with all relevant organizations to implement the ideas and strategies that emerge from this conference, supporting sustainable business models that will drive accelerated growth.”