Nigeria: Food Security – Research Recommends Four Climate-Resilient Policy Interventions for Nigeria

The researchers said the recommendations became necessary after empirical findings indicated “the negative impacts of climatic factors on agricultural productivity.”

A new research has recommended four major policy interventions within the agriculture sector that the Nigerian government could adopt to address the biting hardship of rising food inflation in the country.

The new body of work, which has been published in the latest edition of Ecological Economics by ScienceDirect, a repository of peer-reviewed articles, journals, and books, is titled; “Climate Change, Income Sources, Crop Mix, and Input Use Decisions: Evidence from Nigeria“.

The authors- Mulunbrhan Amare and Bedru Balana, are research fellows in the Development and Governance Unit at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)- a research centre of CGIAR, a global research partnership for a “food-secure future dedicated to transforming food, land, and water systems in a climate crisis.”

These recommendations are coming at a time Nigerians are struggling to cope with the harsh economy, especially with the rise in food inflation from 25.25 per cent recorded in June to the latest 26.98 per cent announced during the week by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS)- Nigeria’s agency in charge of data on development.

Largely caused by the impacts of climate change, insecurity, and foreign exchange crisis, Nigerians have, in recent times, been confronted with a food crisis that has been exacerbated by the removal of subsidies on petroleum by the incumbent President Bola Tinubu-led administration.

To cushion the effect of the rising prices of food, President Tinubu had in July announced the allocation of 500,000 hectares of land to farmers for cultivation. However, there is yet no sign from the government of any effort to make real its promise on the initiative.

But Mr Tinubu on Wednesday evening announced the appointment of a stalwart of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Abubakar Kyari, as the Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, and Aliyu Abdullahi as the Minister of State for the ministry.


The researchers said the recommendations became necessary after empirical findings indicated “the negative impacts of climatic factors on agricultural productivity.”

They said for smallholder farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa, the existing challenge of low agricultural productivity is already being compounded by climate change as evidenced by flooding, drought, and irregular rainfall patterns in certain parts of the country.

According to the findings, food insecurity and a shortage of energy and nutrient-rich foods remain Nigeria’s major challenges, citing the World Bank’s statistics of about 40 per cent of the country’s estimated 2017 million population leaving below poverty line of $1.90 per day.

“Agricultural productivity remains low due to factors such as inadequate use of yield-enhancing agricultural inputs and technologies. Yields of staple cereals and root crops in Nigeria are less than half the world average; for example, the average yield gaps for Nigeria’s three major staple crops — rice, maize, and cassava — are >75 per cent; 84 per cent; and 25 per cent respectively (World Bank, 2018). Adverse climatic changes exacerbate the challenges in the agriculture sector, which is already performing well below its potential,” the report said.


The researchers said such climate-resilient agricultural interventions should include water-storage infrastructure and small-scale irrigation systems; enhancing access to agricultural input use and crop-mix solutions; development of livestock sector and micro or small enterprises, and “pro-poor interventions that specifically target disadvantaged households.”

The research states; “Thus, targeted interventions that promote climate-resilient agricultural practices, for instance, investment in water-storage infrastructure and small-scale irrigation systems, are imperative to mitigate the effects of climate change on poorer smallholder farmers. In the context of Nigeria, such measures focusing on agricultural water management align well with the country’s National Agricultural Resilience Framework (NARF), which outlines sector-specific climate adaptation and innovative agricultural production strategies to enhance resilience in the agriculture sector.

“Second, our results suggest the changes in crop mix and agricultural input use are potential adaptation methods in response to climatic factors. However, smallholders often lack access to climate-resistant varieties and yield-enhancing agricultural inputs. Policy interventions that enhance access to these inputs are warranted in order to ensure crop diversification is a viable coping strategy for climate anomalies.”

Meanwhile, the research work said it found income shares from livestock and nonfarm activities to improve during climate shocks, and therefore, advised that Nigeria should as a matter of policy, “policy consider the development of the livestock sector and micro/small enterprises as a potential strategy for mitigating the impacts of climate change on farming communities.”

“And finally, our analysis shows that climate change has heterogenous effects on poor compared with relatively non-poor households, measured in terms of differences in endowments of productive assets and livestock holdings. Accordingly, alongside national and regional climate-related policies, we suggest pro-poor interventions that specifically target disadvantaged households. These interventions should include low-cost financing options for climate-proof agricultural technologies and measures to reduce the inequality of access to livelihood capital, including land and other productive assets,” it concluded.

About research

The research acknowledges its sponsors, declaring that the intervention was undertaken as part of the Nigeria Strategy Support Programme, “which has been managed by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and has been financially made possible by support of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through the Feed the Future Nigeria Agriculture Policy Activity; CGIAR Research Initiative on National Policies and Strategies (NPS); and Fragility, Conflict, and Migration (FCM).


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