By Sylvester Thompson
ActionAid Nigeria, an NGO and stakeholder in the agriculture sector has urged the Federal Government to include agro-ecology in the 2020 agriculture budget to guard against unpredictable climate change.
Mr Azubuike Nwokoye, Agricultural Programme Coordinator for ActionAid Nigeria, made the appeal on Wednesday in Lokoja at a two-day stakeholders consultative meeting on 2020 Agriculture budget.
He said data from 2014 indicated that Nigeria was very vulnerable to drastic and unpredictable climate changes which caused soil erosion, landslides, crop failures, inadequate rainfall, food insecurity and other uncertainties.
Nwokoye said the difference agro-ecology which is application of ecology to agriculture made was that it sustained the soil and ecosystem as well as productivity.
According to Nwokoye, agro-ecology does not require large expanse of land in order to be able to produce.
Therefore, it is necessary to alert the government on the dangers of making chemical inputs into the 2020 agricultural budget.
“It will be more profitable to make provisions for organic fertilisers than chemical fertilisers in the 2020 agriculture budget.
“This is because chemical fertilisers as inputs, contribute greatly to the green house gases which cause negative impact on climate change.
“It is better for us to promote organic fertiliser and organic inputs in our budget,’’ he said.
He said alarm was raised recently that by 2020, Nigeria might be experiencing food insecurity due to the effect of climate change which might likely have negative impact on the agriculture sector.
Illustrating his presentation on public financing of agro-ecology graphically, Nwokoye showed cause why agro-ecology should be given a large budget during the planning and development of the 2020 budgeting.
He also hinted on the need to make provisions for extension services and support, saying many states now had budgets for agro-ecology after ActionAid drew their attention to the urgency of the situation.
“Human activities have increased the atmospheric concentration of some green house gases resulting in global warming.
“The climate change is because of our human negative activities. We are so much interested in chemical fertilisers, hybrid seeds etc without taking cognisance of its impact on the environment or climate.
“Nigeria is among the high risk countries and we need to do something about this before it is too late,’’ he said.
Nwokoye is optimistic that agro-ecology is “the way to go.’’