To reduce the vulnerability of small scale farmers, especially to floods and droughts, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, has disclosed that the Federal Government has launched a Planting with Peace Programme where 15 million farmers would get access to crop insurance.
The minister said it had been planned that 2.5 million farmers would be covered by crop insurance in the country, starting from 2015.
Adesina stated this in a keynote address recently in New York during the first CGIAR Development Dialogues, organised by the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research at Columbia University, New York, where the minister called on global leaders in agricultural research to ensure that the vulnerabilities of poor farmers are considered and the farmers protected from the vagaries of climate change.
He said governments should increase investments in the development of agrometereological stations to allow for more accurate seasonal rainfall forecasts.
According to him, greater focus would also be placed on improving water management, especially rainwater harvesting, water storage and conservation and improved water use efficiency, saying this is why Nigeria developed a national agricultural resilience framework to mainstream climate change adaptation into the planning and implementation of all activities in the agriculture sector.
He recalled that “in the last three years, over 14 million smallholder farmers received seeds and fertilizers from private sector input suppliers using their e-wallets. This allowed national food production to rise by an additional 21 million MT of food within three years, while improving the food security of over 50 million people.”
Going forward, for Africa, he reasoned, “governments must also increase support for investments in research into the development and dissemination of heat, drought and flood tolerant crop varieties to farmers.”
He argued that there was no doubt that investment in agricultural research has one of the highest rates of returns, adding that greater investments are needed to support agricultural research at global, regional and national levels, with sharper focus on global public goods and local adaptations.
Adesina acknowledged that the work of CGIAR has helped to change the lives and livelihoods of farmers, calling for greater support for its work and its partners to help broaden options for farmers, as they adapt to climate change.
He observed: “While climate change is global, its effects are local. We must not abandon farmers to climate change. The poor farmers in developing countries cannot on their own be expected to adapt to climate change.
“Unless serious actions are taken, they will suffer disproportionately from climate change. It is therefore imperative that specific actions be taken to address the challenges of farmers, especially smallholder and women farmers, to enable them to build more resilient livelihoods.”
Source : SunOnline