IAR&T Holds Discussion To Address Effect Of Climate Change On Food Security

WORRIED by the ripple effect of climate change on food security in the country, the Institute of Agricultural Research and Training (IAR&T), Moor Plantation, Ibadan, recently held a one-day consultation workshop on irrigation development.

Themed:”Farmer-led Irrigation and Water Management in the South-West Nigeria: Panacea For Climate Change and Food Security”, the workshop sought to come up with strategies capable of reducing the effect which climate change would have on food security in Nigeria and particularly the southwest part of the country.

The Executive Director, IAR&T, Professor Veronica Obatolu, in her opening remarks stated that in the history of the institute, the consultation workshop is the first stakeholder meeting called by the institute on the subject of irrigation and agriculture water management.

Obatolu, who was represented by the Deputy Director of the institute, Dr Jelili Olaide Saka, noted that:”As a research institute with the zonal mandate on soil water research, we have come to realise that it has become critical to approach the issues of climate change and weather variability with a renewed zeal and vigour it deserves. Hence the need for this stakeholders consulation workshop.”

The Project Coordinator, Mr Adebayo Oke, while speaking with the Nigerian Tribune on the sidelines of the workshop stated that the worskshop is a strategic response to the prevailing challenges the agriculture sector is facing among which is poor rainfall as it affects productivity.

He said:”We experienced it last year and this year too, we do not know what is going to happen. We are in the month of May and we all can attest to the fact that the rains are not yet here at the quantity enough for us to go into crop production.

“So this strategic meeting we are having is to bring all the stakeholders that is researchers, farmers, inputs suppliers and others for us to have discussion around water management and irrigation as a panacea to the challenge of rainfall inadequacies.”

Speaking on the implications the rain shortfall, Oke, stated that:”The implications are many and they are not very positive except we wake up to the reality that we need to adapt to the issue of climate change.

“Climate change is becoming a big phenmenon that is responsible for poor volume of rain, now we really cannot follow the normal partern. We used to have two seasons, dry season and the wet season around us in the southwest, but that is fast changing. Maybe one season would be guaranteed, we really cannot guarantee two seasons again. This has a long serious implications for crop production, food security and sustainable livelihood.”

Oke further said that irrigation is an adaptation strategy to the issue of climate change, he stated that it is very simple as being able to apply water or manage water within the environment more reasonably and more efficiently such that crops would be produced all year round.

“Either by doing what we call supplemental irrigation that is supplying extra water for crops to be able to meet up with what is required for them to grow or in some instances total irrigation especially in the dry season.

“We are blessed with some rivers, streams, we have ground water in some places. All these can be explored to increase crop production and make our farming system more resilient.” Oke stated.

He, however, advised farmers to step up their game, stating that:”We cannot say we no longer need irrigation in the southwest because the reality is saying otherwise. The reality is that within our environment, where we have streams, rivers we can tap from them to supply water for our crops.

“We need to get ready to make some extra input and see farming as a business. When we see farming as a business, we are ready to put more input into it and that would guarantee more revenue for the farmers.”


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