PROFESSOR of plant breeding and genetics, Charity Aremu, of the Landmark University, Omu Aran, has said that a paradigm shift in Nigerian agricultural approach that will adapt crops to climate change will enable the country to escape the predicted 2030 global poverty rate.
Delivering the sixth inaugural lecture of the university, titled, “Criss-crossing crop and environment: The resounding cymbals for innovations and food sustainability”, Professor Aremu urged government at all levels and individuals to massively invest in agriculture to avert rising poverty trend in the country.
“People living in poverty across Africa were 54 per cent as at 1990 and 41 per cent in 2015. The reduction (11 per cent) signaled a great hope. However, the population growth remains high in these nations including Nigeria.
“The number of poor people in Africa has actually increased from 278 million in 1990 to 413 million in 2015 (66 per cent increment). Looking forward by 2030, people living in poverty in Africa will rise from 55 per cent in 2015 to 90 per cent in 2030. If no emergency effort is deliberately put in place to intercept the rising poverty trend, then it is becoming a forecast reality that by 2030 the global poverty rate would have risen with African nations the worst hit,” she said.
She also said that intensive and inclusive engagement of crop and the cropping environment are the sure ways to food sustainability in Nigeria.
The university don posited that “whosoever that makes two ears of corn, or two blades of grass to grow upon a spot soil, would have done the best for mankind (than the whole race of politicians put together) and render more essential services towards food sustainability”.
She, therefore, urged government at all levels to “develop practicable policies that will support ‘go back to the land’, adding that “farmlands and farming will fix our stomach”.
Other policies she recommended for enunciation include “creation of a centre for biodiversity resource; develop and driving policies that will support and encourage rural farmers in agricultural productivity engagement; identify and engage agricultural mandate institutions including private universities as centres for agripreneurship training as well as provision of infrastructure especially quality roads for seamless farm produce movement.”
The agriculturalist concluded that “crop and environment are the key components to food sustainability. Therefore priority attention must be given to developing crops that are adaptable to a given environment in a bid to unravel the full genetic potentials which may have been hindered by the environment in which genetic potentials were locked up.”