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Addressing impact of climate change in the North East

The Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) recently reported that 25 million people in Nigeria are at the risk of food insecurity in 2023, with 17…

The Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) recently reported that 25 million people in Nigeria are at the risk of food insecurity in 2023, with 17 million of those individuals located in northeastern states and the Lake Chad Basin.  

Climate change is exacerbating food insecurity in the region, pushing millions of people into poverty despite government efforts to reduce poverty through policies and programs. Climate change is predicted to make the region’s predisposition to drought and desertification worse, resulting in decreased crop production and grazing space for livestock.  

The Lake Chad basin, which is shared by Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon and Niger, has also been experiencing severe water scarcity due to the shrinking of the lake and the change in rainfall patterns in the region, which makes it difficult for farmers to access water for irrigation and fishing activities, thereby reducing the agricultural productivity and fishing. In addition, the region is also affected by extreme weather events, such as floods and storms, which can damage crops and infrastructure, and displace communities, making it even more difficult for them to access food and other resources. 

To address the impacts of climate change on food security in the Lake Chad region of Borno and Yobe states, Nigeria, several measures can be taken. Firstly, adaptation measures such as drought-resistant crop varieties, rainwater harvesting and irrigation systems, as well as disaster risk reduction measures, such as early warning systems and disaster preparedness plans can be implemented. Secondly, climate-smart agriculture, which aims to increase agricultural productivity and resilience to climate change by integrating practices such as conservation agriculture, agroforestry, and livestock management can be adopted. Thirdly, sustainable water management practices, such as rainwater harvesting and irrigation systems, can be implemented to improve water availability for agriculture and fishing activities. Fourthly, research and data collection on the specific impacts of climate change on food security in the region, as well as on the effectiveness of different adaptation and mitigation measures, can inform policy and decision-making. Fifthly, international collaboration is needed, as the Lake Chad basin is a cross-border region, to address the challenges of climate change, water scarcity, and food insecurity in the region. 

Community engagement and participation are also critical in addressing the impacts of climate change on food security. Communities can play a role in addressing climate change impacts on food security such as by participating in the design and implementation of climate change adaptation and mitigation measures, building community resilience, sharing traditional knowledge, monitoring and evaluation, and advocacy and awareness-raising of the impacts of climate change on food security. 

 

Baba Abdullahi Machina, Department of Political Science, University of Maiduguri  

 

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