The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire has identified climate-smart agricultural practices as the way forward to achieving food security and sufficiency in the country.
Orelope-Adefulire stated this while delivering a keynote address at the maiden conference of School of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, Olusegun Agagu University of Science and Technology (OAUSTECH), Okitipupa, Ondo State.
The theme of the conference was “Sustainable Climate-Smart Agriculture In The Wake of Food Insecurity and Migration”.
Represented by Dr. Ifeanyiwa Nnamchi-Nwangu, her Personal Assistant, Orelope-Adefulire emphasised that Climate-Smart Agricultural (CSA) practices would help Nigeria increase agricultural yields/productivity and incomes.
She also stated that it would assist in adapting and building resilience to climate change and reducing greenhouse gas emissions that are very hazardous to human, plant and animal survivability.
Orelope-Adefulire said in addition to embracing CSA, the government must ensure that research institutions are strategically and properly funded to strengthen their scientific and technological capacity.
She said that the support for research was to move toward more safe and sustainable patterns of consumption and production, improve education and raise awareness of human and institutional capacity on climate change mitigation, adaptation, impact reduction and early warning.
According to her, the approach will substantially reduce bribery and corruption, and ensure effective collaborations among government, private sector, academia and industry to leverage policy, research and innovations to tackle critical issues.
“In doing so, we will not only achieve food security in tandem with the SDGs but also build a prosperous and resilient nation.
“The Nigerian government is actively making efforts to address climate change impact through initiatives such as the Great Green Wall projects that are not only helping to restore degraded land but also contributing to biodiversity conservation and climate adaptation,” she said.
Orelope-Adefulire said the Federal Government has put in place intervention programmes to address the challenges of food security in the country.
She highlighted the intervention programmes to include release of grains and fertilisers to farmers, creation of commodity board, engagement of security architecture for the protection of farmers.
She also said directive has been given to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to fund agricultural value chains, increase revenue for food and agricultural exports, trade facilitation and creation of synergy between the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, and Water Resources to ensure irrigation of farmlands.
She, however, disclosed that her office was ready to support and partner with OAUSTECH for its commitment to “advancing knowledge in the crucial area of food security in the country.”
Earlier, Prof. Temi Ologunorisa, the Vice-Chancellor of OAUSTECH, in his welcome address, thanked the speaker for honouring the invitation of the university to deliver the keynote address at the conference.
He commended the Dean of the School of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources (SAFNR), Prof. Oluyemisi Akinyemiju for giving direction and providing the right leadership.