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2024: Climate Change Poses Serious Threats to Nigeria’s Food Security

As 2023 ends, Nigeria, Africa’s most populous and largest economy, faced multiple challenges from climate change, such as rising temperatures, erratic rainfall, flooding, droughts, and sea level rise.

These impacts threaten the country’s food security, water resources, health, and infrastructure, according to experts.

According to the World Bank’s Climate Change Knowledge Portal, Nigeria’s mean annual temperature has increased by 1.1°C since 1960, and is projected to rise by 1.8°C to 5.4°C by 2100 under different scenarios.

The country’s rainfall patterns have also changed, with more frequent and intense dry spells and heavy rainfall events. The
northern regions, which are already prone to droughts and desertification, are expected to become drier, while the southern and coastal regions, which are vulnerable to flooding and coastal erosion, are likely to receive more rainfall.

These changes have serious implications for Nigeria’s food security, as agriculture is the main source of livelihood for about 70% of the population and contributes about 24% of the gross domestic product (GDP).

According to a recent study by researchers from the University of Ibadan and the Federal University of Technology, Akure, climate change has negatively affected the yields of major crops such as maize, rice, sorghum, millet, cassava, and yam in Nigeria.

The study also found that climate change has reduced the food availability, access, utilization, and stability indices in Nigeria, which are the four dimensions of food security.

The study recommended that the government and other stakeholders should implement adaptation and mitigation measures to enhance the resilience of the agricultural sector and improve the food security situation in Nigeria.

Some of the suggested measures include promoting climate-smart agriculture, diversifying crop production, improving irrigation and water management, enhancing access to weather and climate information, providing social protection and safety nets, and strengthening institutional and policy frameworks.

Nigeria has taken some steps to address the challenges of climate change, such as developing a National Climate Change Policy and Response Strategy in 2012, ratifying the Paris Agreement in 2017, and submitting its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 2020.

However, experts say that more actions are needed to translate these commitments into concrete actions and results.

According to the latest report by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Nigeria has achieved its unconditional target of reducing its emissions by 20% relative to business-as-usual by 2030, and is on track to meet its conditional target of 47% with international support.

The report also commended Nigeria for passing the Climate Change Act in 2021, which provides a legal framework and institutional arrangements for climate action and sets a target to reach net zero emissions between 2050 and 2070.

Dr. Olufunso Somorin, the Regional Principal Officer for Africa at the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), said that Nigeria needs to mobilize more resources, both domestic and international, to implement its NDC and achieve its climate goals.

He also said that Nigeria needs to enhance its capacity to monitor, report, and verify its climate actions and impacts, as well as to engage more effectively with the private sector, civil society, and local communities.

“Nigeria has a lot of potential to become a leader in climate action in Africa, but it needs to overcome some of the challenges and barriers that hinder its progress. Climate change is not only an environmental issue, but also a developmental one. Therefore, Nigeria needs to adopt a holistic and integrated approach that addresses the root causes and drivers of climate change, as well as its impacts and opportunities,” he said


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