CTA, partners to assist Nigerian farmers access drought, flood tolerant seeds

***EU invested €1.2bn in Nigeria - Ambassador

The Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) have revealed that it is working with partners in various countries to ensure that farmers have access to drought and flood-tolerant seeds.

This move became necessary following the rising effects of climate change which has a direct impact on agricultural activities.

The Senior Program Coordinator of CTA, Dr Oluyede Ajayi said agriculture is central to development in Africa, but unfortunately it is subjected to a lot of pressures of climate change, like drought, weather extremes that affect food production.

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Dr Ajayi who spoke with Tribune Online in Abuja at the Regional Workshop on Climate Finance and Support Mechanism for a Resilient Agriculture Sector in West and Central Africa said the point they raised was how to improve investment to help farmers become resilient and promote food security in the face of extreme weather.

“One of the points that we raised is how we improve investment to help farmers become resilient and to promote food security in the face of extreme weather situations, to do that requires more than investment, unfortunately less than 10 per cent of fund that goes to the climate is spent on agriculture, we are expecting so much from agriculture, but the fund that goes into agriculture in terms of investment to address climate issues is very low.

“So, this meeting is being organised to brainstorm the practical ways to leverage funding and improve financing to support climate action in agriculture”, he said.

He further said that they were also working towards exposing farmers to climate technologies which would assist in increasing their yield even in unfriendly weather.

“Many of the research organisations have produced seeds that can withstand climate change, but if you ask average farmers if they know about it, they will answer no. So it’s one thing that the technology is there, it is another thing that farmers who need these technologies have access to it.

“To be able to bring back the disconnect together, you need resources, you need resources to train farmers, you need resources to multiply the seeds and make them available to farmers, and that’s what we are talking about, how do we bring the resources, how do we improve investment to be able to get these kind of things done for farmers.

“There are some projects we are supporting currently to reach out to farmers, one of them is how do we ensure that farmers have access to drought-tolerant and flood-tolerant seeds, secondly, how can we make sure that farmers have access to climate information services through ICT”, Dr Ajayi added.

The Ambassador of the European Union to Nigeria, Ketil Karlsen revealed that the EU had spent about €1.2 billion in the ongoing projects.

Karlsen who was represented by Inga Stetanowicz said agriculture contributes to climate change through greenhouse gases emissions, or deforestation, while in return, climate change affects agriculture through extreme weather events, changing weather patterns, or unavailability of water.

“Only an estimated 5 per cent of global finance goes to the agricultural sector, even much less to smallholder farmers. The trend is particularly pronounced when it comes to financial institutions in developing countries, which is where the investment needs are the biggest.

“A dramatic rise in the global population, and particularly that of Africa, and the risks stemming from climate change increase the needs for investment. According to the World Bank (2018), demand for food will increase by 70 per cent by 2050.

“In Nigeria, the portfolio of our ongoing projects stands at around €1.2 billion while the allocation for the West African region is close to €1.7 billion”, He said.

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