By: Mayen Etim
KADUNA, North-West, Nigeria – A lecturer with the Department of Microbiology, Kaduna State University, (KASU), Dr. Aliyu Adamu, has said climate change is having positive and negative impacts on agriculture in Nigeria.
He made the assertion at the 5th Annual Climate Change Conference with the theme: “Impact of Climate Change on Agricultural Produce” organized by African Climate Reporters in collaboration with Womenhood Foundation of Nigeria in Kaduna at the weekend.
According to him, the positive impact include: “increase in crop productivity due to fertilizer effect caused by the increase in CO2; expansion of the areas available for production of tropical and/or subtropical crops.
“Expansion of cultivation period; reduction of damages of winter crops by low temperature; and reduction of heating cost for agricultural crops grown in the protected cultivation facilities.”
He said the negative impacts are: “reduced crop quantity and quality due to the reduced growth period, flood, increase salinity of irrigation water; bad coloration; reduced storage stability on fruits and vegetables; increase of weeds, blights, and harmful insects; reduced land fertility, among others.
Dr Adamu who is also the Deputy Director of Research in KASU, added that agriculture is a significant contributor to GDP of Nigeria as it provides employment for about 80 per cent of the rural population; and outlined some major functions of agriculture supplies on population to include; food, raw materials and generates household income.
The Don advised the government to put policies in place that will bring about control of burning of fossil fuel and other activities that causes concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere.
He said since Nigeria is an oil producing State he thinks government should subsidize the price of cooking gas as cooking is inevitable in every households, “rather than subsidize petrol which is for few people that drive cars, government should subsidize cooking gas to make it affordable to the common man in Nigeria.”
Also speaking, representative of the Presidential Support Committee, (PSC), Alhaji Gidado Sarki Ibrahim, charged African Climate Reporters to be alive to its responsibilities of educating the society on the impact of climate change; and appealed to government to support the group’s efforts.
Similarly, General Manager of Kaduna State Water Corporation, (KADSWAC), Comrade Sanusi Maikudi, said all hands must be on deck in addressing climate change in the country.
He averred that Nigeria has been endowed by God with abundant natural gas resources; but her managers failed to planned and this is the consequences. “I expect the stakeholders ranging from the Minister of Petroleum in person of President Muhammadu Buhari, the Minister of State, Group Managing Director of NNPC, up stream and downstream players to rise to the occasion by mapping out emergency plan to redress the situation,” he said.
Maikudi cautioned that with the prevalence of poverty in the country, if cooking gas is very expensive, people will start felling trees indiscriminately for domestic use; adding that this has environmental consequences such as escalation of global warming which in turn impacts on health, agricultural productivity, animal husbandry, among others.
A guest presenter, Pharm Bryan Ekoja, said there is evidence that climate change is causing noticeable effects on life cycles and distribution of the medicinal plants species.
He expressed dismay that government has failed in convincing the citizens to follow the trend of alternative source of energy. “Some weeks ago, I heard people say they want to go back to using charcoal. This is not helpful for our environments,” he said.
Ekoja blamed government for insensitivity in passing out this information to the public, “Frankly speaking, government has failed woefully. But they could do it now. They opportunity is now because people are now getting awareness about gas. Government should do something about the prices of gas so that people can wholeheartedly and convincingly use gas and leave other non climate friendly source of energy,” he added.
Earlier, the Director of African Climate Reporters, Nurudeen Bello, said food is a critical contribution to health well-being and a major source of pleasure, worry and stress in the daily lives of many.
He said most people will experience a food borne diseases at some point in their lives; saying contaminations of agricultural produce from the farm, harvest, processing, storage, transportation, retail and preparation not only influences human health and well-being, but also affect the economy and the society as a whole.
According to him, food contamination with associated food borne diseases are strongly related to local climatic conditions.
Patron of African Climate Reporters, Dr. Yusuf Nadabo appreciated organizers of the event for bringing the awareness of climate change to the communities, saying it was quite commendable; noting that the group seems to be the only one heard carrying out campaigns, educating the citizens on this very important issue.