Climate change poses a potential threat to farmers, especially smallholder farmers in Nigeria where agriculture contributes about 24% to the GDP. Gradually it creeps in on farmers and destroy a huge bulk of hard work. Crops, live-stocks, fishery and forestry are affected in various ways. Godai village in Kaduna witnessed reduced rainfall in July with farmers lamenting poorer rice, maize and vegetable harvests.
Climate change is likely the most serious environmental threat to deal with if Nigeria must succeed in alleviating hunger, malnutrition and developing the country through agriculture.
As part of the implementation of its National Agricultural Resilience Framework (NARF), Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) began a consultative process with the CGIAR research program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) in September 2014 to ensure that Nigeria’s agricultural sector is able to cope with the shock and stress linked to climate change. They have been working together to design a road map for evidence-based insurance development for Nigeria’s farmers.
A working document containing that road map launched in Abuja recently at the Ministry of Agriculture. Permanent secretary of the ministry, Dr Bukar Hassan, represented by the director, Lands and Climate Change, Engr. Sunday Edibo says the launch is coming at a time when the challenge of climate change is beginning to make a telling impact on agricultural sector, especially the small farmers in the country.
“As you are aware, 70 per cent of the population is engaged in agriculture while agriculture contributes about 24 percent to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
“Yet our agriculture is rain fed dependent, that is, farmers rely hugely on the vagaries of weather and climate.
“Though, it has been acknowledged that climate change is a global phenomenon and a reality, its impacts has been devastating as floods or drought can wipe out the entire harvest of farmers. This was the case of our farmers in 2012 and recently in 2017,” he said.
Hassan, stated that to ensure food security and nutrition, farmers should insure their crops and obtain some financial support in the event of the occurrence of any disaster.
“This is the new direction, a paradigm shift practices in the developed and developing countries. Nigeria should not be left of this robust and tested scientific endeavour. This, perhaps, is the reason we are here today to launch an Insurance Roadmap Document for Nigerian Farmers developed by CIAT in collaboration with the Ministry.”
He commended the thoughtful foresight and collaborative efforts of CLAT, CCAFS of the CGIAR and the Ministry for the achievement.
Speaking on the occasion, CCAFS flagship 4 leader and a senior research scientist at the International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI), New York, USA, Dr James Hansen, said well designed index insurance can achieve specific risk objectives such as protecting farmers livelihoods in the face of major climate shocks, and promoting farmers’ livelihoods by overcoming barriers to adoption of improved agricultural technologies and practices, and access to market opportunities.
He said agriculture insurance is a well-established crop farmers’ resilience in the face of various production risks.
“The United States Federal Recover Insurance Corporation, for example, was created in 1938 to help the agricultural sector 2015) from the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl drought.
“Agriculture insurance in the United States has, over the years, proven to be more efficient than providing post-disaster payments to farmers. Globally, insurance products have evolved to become more cost-effective, and to reach both large and small-scale farmers”.
He said the federal government in partnership with the private sector, can address the challenges in the agricultural insurance sector if the right strategy is implemented.