Embrace climate adaptive measures – Anambra farmers in flood prone communities urged

Farmers in flood-prone communities in Anambra State have been charged to embrace adaptive measures to enable them cope better with the impacts of climate change.

Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Mrs Ifeyinwa Uzoka made the call during advocacy visit by Social and Integral Development Centre, SIDEC, to inform her of its new project, titled “Climate Change and You”, to be implemented in two local government areas of the state.

The climate change awareness creation campaign, which will take place in Umueri for Anambra East LGA and Umunnakwo for Ogbaru LGA, is supported by Action Aid Nigeria and funded by Global Fund Canada.

Uzoka who praised the initiative of the NGO to educate the populace on climate change and its impact on food production, explained that planting short-duration crops is one of the ways to prevent losses caused by climate change. 

“We are seriously working on regenerative agriculture and awareness about this is already being created at the ward level. Most of our farmers in the flood-prone communities traditionally plant long-duration crops such as cassava and yam. 

“But, we have been advising them that diversification is the key. As you sensitize them, let them know that – as they use some portions of their land for such crops, they should use the remaining for short-duration crops which can be harvested up to three times in a year,” he added.

The Permanent further disclosed that data of farmers across the state are being captured ahead of the distribution of inputs to ensure that only the genuine ones have access to them. 

“We have started gathering data of farmers ahead of the distribution of inputs. Help us inform them about this also as you go about your project. Our agric extension officers are doing the data gathering. It is only those who are captured that will receive the inputs.

“I need to let you know that the ministry is no longer distributing inorganic fertilizer to farmers because of its adverse effects,” Uzoka said even as she called for long term measures from the Federal Government towards addressing the flooding problem.

“We need the Federal Government to build dams and dikes that can hold waters so that we don’t continue to suffer flooding as we have seen in recent past. 

Earlier, Executive Director of SIDEC, Ugochi Agalaba-Ehiahuruike, remarked that climate change has impacted negatively humanity negatively but the impacts are worse on women and girls. 

“So, we thought of what we can do to help the victims. One of the immediate things we came up with is to educate and sensitize women and girls on how flooding, drought and pest infestation and what they can do to mitigate them”. 

“Men who lost their farms and products to flooding can go back to the bank and get another loan with their collateral. But, women have no collateral, so they have limited access to some of the opportunities that can aid their recovery. So, there is need to build their capacity on things they can do to cope better with climate change,” Ehiahuruike submitted.

Contributing, the consultant on the project, Ifeoma Onuzulike, stressed the need for farmers to embrace agro-ecology which enables them to go about their vocation without undermining the environment. “By now, our farmers need to move away from the use of organic fertilizer to inorganic ones like animal dung”. 

According to her, while the organic fertilizers are capable of increasing the yields, they also impact the soil adversely. “They kill the flora and fauna in the soil which are also beneficial to farming. Also, if we experience flood after using chemical fertilizer, it washes the chemical into water bodies, contaminates them and kills the aquatic organisms. Human health is equally endangered. 

“So, we want to encourage women to practice what we call agro-forestry. Through that, we use the litters from the trees to add nutrients to our soil. We want to encourage women and girls in agriculture to go about it in a manner that is environmentally friendly, safe and sustainable. 

“We shall be teaching them one or two things they can do to reduce their losses during flood disaster,” Onuzulike concluded.

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