June 14, 2024

The Daily Vendor

Nigeria Digital Newspaper

Climate Change and Its Impact on Nigeria’s Food Production: A Looming Crisis

4 min read

In Nigeria, the escalating food shortages, marked by rising prices and decreased availability of agricultural products, are palpable. Yet, many Nigerians remain unaware of how their everyday actions contribute to this growing crisis.

The impact of climate change in Nigeria is unmistakable, yet there is a lack of awareness about the necessary measures to mitigate these effects. For residents aged between 30 and 60 in northern Nigeria, climate change is most noticeable through the dramatic shrinkage of Lake Chad—over 90% in the past six decades.

For others, it manifests as erratic weather patterns—absent harmattan winds in December, delayed rains, and increasingly unbearable heat. Essentially, climate change encompasses all human activities, including the emission of gases through everyday actions like respiration, impacting the planet either positively or negatively.

Grace Oluchi Mbah, Co-founder and Executive Director of Climate Action Africa (CAA), formerly referred to as CMA, emphasizes Nigeria’s commitment to major international climate agreements. The nation is a party to the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the 2005 Kyoto Protocol, and the 2015 ParisAgreement, which Nigeria signed in 2016 and ratified in 2017. Under Mbah’s visionary leadership, Climate Action Africa has mobilized a significant network of over 100 climate activists across 15 African countries.

Despite Nigeria’s formal commitments, the implementation of these frameworks varies. Mbah notes that while Nigeria has made strides in some areas of climate policy, it falls short in others, notably in reducing emissions. The balance between long-term climate goals and immediate developmental needs partly explains the rise in emissions. Given Nigeria’s significant contribution to Africa’s emissions, concerted efforts are needed to reduce them.

CAA champions integrating faith with environmental consciousness and promotes food security through community garden projects within faith communities. She highlights the severe impact of climate change on Nigeria’s agriculture, particularly in the northern regions, where drought threatens traditional rain-fed farming methods. A study in the Journal of Ecology and the Natural Environment indicates over 60% of Nigeria’s land suffers from desertification due to climate variations and human activities like deforestation and overgrazing. 

In the south, frequent floods exacerbate soil degradation, undermining major food sources. Reports from the Central Bank of Nigeria and the International Food Policy Research Institute confirm a significant decline in food production due to climate-related changes.

Addressing these challenges, Dr. Shakirat Solebo, Director of the Genetics, Genomics, and Bioinformatics Department at the National Biotechnology Development Agency, points to the potential of Genome Editing Technology. This innovative approach can enhance agricultural productivity by developing better-yielding and quicker-maturing seedlings, vital for ensuring food security as Nigeria’s population grows.

The government faces tough decisions in addressing climate change, balancing necessary trade-offs between economic growth and environmental sustainability. Mbah advocates for an energy transition focusing on natural and compressed gas as transitional energy sources and calls for increased government synergy and innovation in climate action across all sectors.

Grace Oluchi Mbah has a profound background in both academic pursuits and practical leadership. Born on January 22, 1994, in Bamenda, Northwest Region Cameroon, she attended Kings Bilingual Primary School, Full Gospel Secondary School and Cameroon Protestant College (CPC Bali). She excelled academically and proceeded to the Catholic University of Cameroon in Bamenda, where she earned a BSc in Finance by the age of 19.

Her postgraduate journey led her to obtain an MBA in Management from the University of Buea, Cameroon at Age 22. Her early career was marked by her role in establishing the first Association of Certified Accountants (ACCA) tuition and exam center in Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of Congo significantly impacting accountant training in the region. In 2023 she graduated with a Certificate in Public Leadership and Policy CPLP from the School of Politics, Policy, and Governance. 

Grace’s involvement in climate action is not just a professional obligation but a personal mission. She has spearheaded several initiatives, such as Femmes360, Growth4Her and Techamaka, raising over USD1 million and supporting over 10,000 women and girls across Africa. Her work extends to consulting on projects focused on reducing plastic pollution, enhancing governance, and promoting civic tech innovations.

Climate Action Africa (CAA), the organization that Grace continues to lead is poised to converge the 1st edition of Climate Action Africa Forum (CAAF24) 2024 which is designed to converge key stakeholders from across Africa on the 19th and 20th of June, 2024at the Landmark Centre, Lagos. In line with a broader strategic outlook, the organization slightly change it initials from CMA to CAA as well as announced the change of its research and innovation hub from CMA Labs to CAA Labs.  

In conclusion, as Africa grapples with the realities of climate change, it is imperative that all stakeholders—government, private sector, and citizens—collaborate to innovate and implement sustainable solutions that address these pressing environmental challenges. CAA’s comprehensive approach to sustainable development and climate action exemplifies the strategic vision required to drive positive change in today’s complex environmental landscape.

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