Faculty of Agriculture, Alex Ekwueme Federal University Ndufu-Alike, Ebonyi State in collaboration with the Feed the Future Nigeria Agriculture Policy Project and Ebonyi State Government has held a validation workshop on Ebonyi State Climate Smart Agriculture profile which addresses the challenges of climate change in the agricultural sector of the state.
While delivering the lead paper at the event, Dr. Robert Onyeneke said that Climate-smart agriculture (CSA) is an important strategy to address the problems of climate change in the agricultural sector, pointing out that as a response strategy to climate change, CSA simultaneously achieves the three critical goals of responding to climate change by increasing agricultural productivity and incomes, adaptation and mitigation.
He noted that while climate change adaptation aims at adjusting to actual or expected climate change impacts, mitigation aims at reducing carbon emissions.
He also stated that several private, state and federal institutions currently work on activities related to CSA in the state, adding that the Ebonyi State Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources(EBSMANR) is charged with developing agricultural policies and implementing climate resilient protects and activities, stressing that the EBSMANR also supports the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development(FMARD) in delivering Federal support at the state level, and together EBSMANR and FMARD are responsible for formulating , developing and implementing policies, programs and strategies for addressing climate change activities in the State.
He further explained that international development partners have been identified in the CSA pace, noting that the state developed its climate change policy through a tripartite effort consisting of the Michigan State University-led Feed the future Agricultural Policy Project , Action Aid Nigeria and the Ebonyi State government.
Dr Onyeneke, concluding his speech said that the critical constraints for agriculture in the state were low soil fertility, low access to finance, poor infrastructure and poor market, pointing out that Agriculture is a significant contributor to the States total domestic product but however there still remains a gap between food demand and food supply, noting that despite the challenges, the state has made effort to strengthen the agricultural sector’s resilience to climate change.
Speaking earlier during the event, the Honorable Commissioner, Ebonyi State Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Prof. Humphrey Nwaobashi said the issue of Climate change is a global one, adding that an example is the recent flooding happening in Nigeria which had displaced so many people from their homes, adding that, due to the flooding, farmlands, farm yield and even farmers have been lost. He further noted that strategies are in place by government of the State to mitigate such ugly occurrences.
Honorable Commissioner, Ebonyi State Ministry of Environment, Dr Richard Nnabu while unveiling the Ebonyi State Climate Change Policy and Action Plan said that climate change has become a major threat to development all over the world and most especially to states like Ebonyi, where the vast majority of people are highly vulnerable to the impact of long term dependency on substance rain-fed agriculture, wide-scale poverty and weak adaptive capacity.
He added that in the past years, Ebonyi has witnessed increased flooding and drought among other climate impacts, all of which have affected lives and property, and reduced crop yield, adding that large places in the state have become inhabitable because they are either flooded frequently or get hardly any rainwater at all.
He further said that with the increasing threat of climate change to the safety, livelihood and development of the state, and the need for serious efforts to address the problem, His Excellency Engr. David Umahi moved quickly to create the Ebonyi State Climate Change Office and instructed the team headed by Dr. Obianuju Aloh, to work with the Ministry of Agriculture and other relevant stakeholders to come up with plans and initiatives to combat the menace and promote green and sustainable growth in Ebonyi State.
The United States Agency for International Development Representative, Dr Ayoade Ayotoye while giving his goodwill message congratulated the Ebonyi state government on its doggedness in combating climate change in the state, adding that such programmmes will help educate the people on the effects of climate change and how to minimize the effects on the state.
Prof. Saweda liverpool – Tasie who is the Michigan State University Foundation Professor and Principal Investigator NAPA said the day marked multiple years of collaboration between United states, Michigan State University, scholars, federal and state Universities, Ministry of Environment in Ebonyi State and various supporters across Nigeria.
She noted that Michigan State University has been carrying out research on climate change in Nigeria, particularly in Ebonyi state, pointing out that the Ebonyi state climate change policy Action plan on Agriculture has proved to be an important strategy in combating climate change. She added that implementation of the action plan by the government will help the agricultural sector and also mitigate the effects of climate change in Ebonyi State.