There is a growing need for sustainable agriculture to meet the increasing demand for food by the growing population in the world and Nigeria. In order to control production and ensure that this need is met, food producers particularly the farmers, need to understand the climatic changes around the country, how it affects agricultural productivity and how the effects can be mitigated.
Climate change and consequently, global warming is a current global problem which many African countries are struggling with. Change in climate and Global warming has been on a toll due to the several activities of human and the increasing emission of green house gases.
In Nigeria some of the human activities that result in the emission of greenhouse gases and climate change include gas flaring, open burning, vehicle emissions, deforestation, and use of solid fossil fuel. The resultant effect of these actions and climate change vary from location to location within the country due to different geographical features.
The effects of climate change that have been of major significance in Nigeria are over-flooding, extreme heat and drought. A number of states in the country have lost agricultural produce to washing away and pest infestation due to heavy rainfall.
For instance, in past years in Kwara State, which is situated quite close to River Niger, there has been incidence of over-flooding of the river leading to loss of many crops in the location. According to weather experts, increase in global temperature will cause sea levels to rise and will change the amount and pattern of precipitation.
Climate change has also caused drought in some areas of the country. There have been recent cases of dry soil and lack of water to grow crops since the major source of water for agriculture in Nigeria is through precipitation. Nigeria is still practicing rain fed agriculture which renders her vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change.
Extreme climatic events such as flooding, extreme heat, and drought has led to soil degradation which results in low crop yields. Decline in agricultural productivity discourages the farmers and may lead to change in livelihood especially in the rural areas.
These effects of climate change on agriculture is what beckons on continuous research and sensitivity by the government, agricultural experts as well as farmers in order to be able to meet the growing demand for food.
To control these effects there might be need for introduction of new techniques and tools that farmers might lack the knowledge of use and financial capacity to employ. However, this is where the assistant of the government is needed to support farmers by making provision for technical experts and knowledge base for effective application of techniques and technologies.
It is also important that agricultural reform policies be effectively worked upon. For instance, to reduce deforestation activities in the country, there is need for strong policies and stakeholders for firm implementation.