Celebrating this year’s World Food Day, last Friday, in Abuja, Minister of state for Agriculture and Rural Development, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri stated that Nigeria as the most populous country in Africa is the most vulnerable to climate change.
The Minister pointed that with about 70% of over 180 Million people depending on Agriculture for their livelihood, it accounts for almost 24% of the National GDP.
The 2016 World food day symposium held at the merit house Abuja with the theme, “Climate is Changing, Food and Agriculture must too”, was in collaboration with the National Programme for Food Security (NPFS) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of United Nations.
He said, “As stakeholders in the Agricultural sector of Nigeria’s economy, climate change must be seen as the biggest threat to global food security. The farmers who are among the poorest people in this part of the world are the most affected and the most vulnerable people in food insecurity”.
“Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa and therefore the most vulnerable to climate change; with about 70% of her over 180 Million people dependent on Agriculture for their livelihood, it accounts for almost 24% of the National GDP.
“Increase in droughts, flood, erosion, land degradation and other threats to Agriculture and its acceleration in the coming decades will impact heavily on food security”.
He said the Federal Government realizing the need to avert the Nation the effect of climate change on food security in 2013 initiated the National policy on climate change with an integrated intervention action plan to reduce the sectors vulnerability.
Lokpobiri revealed that, “In line with the present administration’s philosophy and policy under President Mohammadu Buhari, the FMARD has developed a new policy direction in Agriculture for the years 2016 to 2020. One of the key components of the policy he said is climate change and environmental sustainability, focusing on sustainable use of Natural resources, land and soil, water and ecosystems to ensure increase production with the future generation in mind”.
The Minister also declared that the existing Universities of Agriculture in the country will be handed over to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development from the Ministry of Education to enhance proper monitoring and actualizing the purposes for which they were established.
“This is necessary for the Universities sitting on vast land to utilize this land for the purpose of Agriculture and food production so that the students after graduation can go to exhibit what they had learnt from school, thereby producing more food and increasing the national GDP”, he added.