With the changing and uncertain climate, especially shrinking farming workforce and conflicts in the northern agro-ecological zones, Global Environment Facility (GEF) through the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is putting together a project to promote the sustainable management and resilience of ecosystems as a means to address food insecurity in the country.
The project comes as part of the Fostering Resilience and Sustainability for Food Security in Sub Saharan Africa. The programme will support efforts to scale-up more sustainable and more resilient approaches, practices and technologies including innovative approaches to improving soil health, water resource management and vegetation cover with direct benefits to the most vulnerable land users.
Towards domesticating the project, a two-day stakeholders’ workshop to foster sustainable and resilient food security in North Central, North East and North West zones was held at Women Farmers Advancement Network (WOFAN) Centre in Kano recently organized by UNDP.
The objective, according to Prof. Emmanuel Oladipo is to have the relevant information/data on the actual situation on ground in the proposed region of focus, so as to foster food security and resilience in the Sudan Sahel region of Nigeria.
He said that the programme would enhance long-term environmental sustainability and resilience of food production systems of the country to achieve improved national food security as well as scaling up gender-sensitive sustainable land and water management (SLWM) initiatives and enhancing the institutional and policy environment for achieving improved food security.
It will also promote impacts at scale, by fostering supportive policies and incentives for smallholder farmers to adopt sustainable and resilient practices; increased private sector investment in climate-resilient and low-emission food value-chains as well as promote mechanisms for multi-stakeholder coordination, planning and investment in sustainable land management at scale.
Prof Emmanuel oladipo
Prof. Oladipo explained that specific project sites are yet to be determined, but focus will be the sudan -sahelian AEZ where agro-pastoral millet sorghum and cereal-root crop mixed production systems are practiced, adds that other peripheral agro – ecological zones of similar importance for food production would also be considered.
He stated that the zone constitutes the grain basket of Nigeria and produces most of the grains (e.g. maize, millet, sorghum and wheat) and legumes (e.g. cowpeas and groundnuts) that provide the main staple diet of the people; zone subject to marked interannual rainfall variability resulting in periodic droughts and mainly of ferruginous tropical soils that are highly weathered and laterised.
Executive Director, WOFAN, Dr. Hajia Salamatu Garba, said that climate change threatens food security by decreasing crop productivity, destroying fragile ecosystems and damaging infrastructure, forcing migration, as well as increasing the risk of conflict over resources.
She pointed out that women make up 60-80 percent of farmers worldwide and provide nearly half of the labour on farms, but have limited control over land, water and farm inputs. They rarely benefit from agricultural research and extension, little access to financial and Market services while their gender roles along the value chains are not properly defined and lopsided support to vulnerable groups.
She urged government to provide trade policies which support good governance that Improves local land tenure; must not increase the risks to food security but commitment to address the needs of the most vulnerable people.
Dr. Garba enjoined the government to invest in rural Infrastructure such as roads and strengthen domestic markets by setting up processing centres, community shelling centres and silos –food banks.
WOMEN FARMERS ADVANCEMENT NETWORK.