FAO Tracks Climate Smart Agricultural Practices In Northeast Nigeria
Climate change has negatively impacted food production in the Sahel and is driving conflict in the region.
Disputes often arise over scare resources such as arable land for crop production, animal grazing or water.
The current climatic reality, including poor or erratic rainfall, long dry spells, and floods, has led to reduced incomes of households, worsening food insecurity, nutrition and employment and laying the groundwork for conflict.
In northeast Nigeria, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations is working to strengthen the agricultural response to climate change in the region, through promoting the Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) approach in the conflict-affected states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe.
Between 28 to 29 March, 2019, the UN agency, in collaboration with the regional ministries of agriculture and environment in the three states and the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), validated data collected on climate-smart agricultural interventions as part of a larger goal to create a baseline and profiles for CSA activities in the region.
The validation workshop, which took place in Yola, the Adamawa State capital, included 52 participants across the three states, including representatives of government agencies as well as research institutes.
The baseline and profiles being developed will include a map of who is doing what, where and how in the three states and will feed into policy and investment guidance on climate-smart agricultural activities. FAO’s work will also support regional governments and other sector players on scaling up the climate smartness of agricultural interventions in the region.
FAO deputy representative in Nigeria, Nourou Macki-Tall, stressed that the impact of climate change was very visible in the northeast and will be addressed by FAO. “The development of the CSA profiles for the three states is a first step in upscaling FAO’s CSA activities in Northeast Nigeria. The ultimate aim is to reach the majority of subsistence farmers to make their livelihoods more sustainable in the face of climate change,” he said.
During the event, Iyabo Mustapha, Chief Land Resources Officer, representing the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, spoke of the timeliness interventions on CSA. ‘At the federal level in Nigeria, the linkages between agriculture and climate change are increasingly put on the forefront.
The continued dialogue between the government and the FAO is therefore of high importance and will maximize the outcomes of CSA interventions,’ she shared. FAO plans to extend the CSA profiles throughout other areas of Nigeria.
Importance of CSA approach amid harsher conditions for farmers
With low agricultural returns and the increasing unviability of previous agricultural lands due to climate change, the climate-smart agriculture approach equips farmers and other agriculture sector players with the tools, training, and strategies needed to adapt to a harsher, more problematic production systems.
FAO’s CSA strategy in northeast Nigeria aims to (1) increase agricultural productivity of climate-change and conflict-affected households, (2) support adaptation to climate change and (3) mitigate the emission of Greenhouse Gases (GHGs). So far, FAO has trained numerous agriculture support staff on the CSA approach across the three states and has developed a Safe Approach to Fuel and Energy (SAFE) programme in the northeast.
FAO’s SAFE programme involves the provision of cleaner, fuel-efficient stoves and solar lanterns which reduce the need for wood fuel and greenhouse gas emissions. The Organization’s climate change and SAFE activities are funded by the Government of Norway