Climate change is real and its effects on daily living and agriculture are fast manifesting globally to warrant its mitigation to form an integral part of the 17 SDGs to be attained by Nigeria and all countries by 2030.
Global efforts towards the attainment of other SDGs such as zero hunger, sustainable cities, equality, health, education etc., are threatened by insecurity in Nigeria.
What started in the northeast as Boko Haram about 13 years ago has spread to the northwest as banditry and the north-central as kidnapping, as well as all over Nigeria as a combination of farmer-herder conflicts, banditry, kidnapping and sectional agitations.
The Nigerian Food System has become very fragile, as production which comprises mainly and is dominated by poor SHFs (small-holder farmers), who are now unable to readily access their farms in several areas is visibly threatened.
In the NE, NW and even the NC, the forests are seen to provide hiding places for bandits threatening food production and other forms of economic activities, as well as education and other social activities.
The security architecture is inadequate to stem this tide as shown by the continued abductions and mayhem reported daily.
Deforestation is certainly a threat to climate change and Nigeria as a nation must sign up to the reduced CO2 emissions as done in Glasgow currently to conform to the UN prerequisites but we ought to come back home and do the needful to avert the looming food crises capable of disintegrating the nation.
As an architecture and a sustainable environment enthusiast, I do not subscribe to deforestation even where it involves the acquisition of timber for construction and other industrial usage but, as a farmer, I am compelled to think outside the box to support partial deforestation to avert an existential threat staring Nigerians in the face!
I had cause to call for sectorial bulldozing, effectively defoliating the forests and expanding our cultivable and irrigable land to produce more food.
The proposition I make for the production of more food is to smoke out the bandits who have turned these food-producing communities in the north into safe havens. This will be of immense benefit to us.
Agriculture is itself a means of mitigation of climate change when properly harnessed by deliberately choosing crops with inherent capacity for cover and foliage (such as pod-borer resistant) cowpea, which is now available in Nigeria in commercial quantity and can be popularized among small-holder farmers for its attributes of resistance to insects, strega and other herbicides. The protein content is so enormous that it will provide for the obvious shortfall in nutrition inhibiting the seamless growth of the majority of our children.
There is a serious shortfall of nearly 500,000 metric tonnes of beans in Nigeria which gap this measure will close and potentially make the nation more competitive on the AfCFTA platform. This portends prosperity for Nigeria away from oil.
Our situation is such that we must explore all possibilities with their attendant advantages and disadvantages, just like any medicine that has contraindications.
Our architecture, food system, construction, bamboo innovations, furniture production and even firewood will benefit from these proposed climate change accelerators. In the long-run, however, the possible and doable mitigation through agriculture will prevent the adverse effect engendered.
The case of Brazil in the Cerrados and the agricultural position that is fast catapulting its status to a first-world country is obvious and tangible.
Nigeria is borrowing US$1.1 billion to ramp-up her agricultural mechanization. This is a welcome idea; because among the private sector players, there are so many investing in dairy and other aspects of agriculture.
Brazil is blamed for actions inimical to the control of CO2 emissions, even now in Glasgow, but it is signing up to the Reduction Effort. One can hope that Nigeria will do the same afterwards.
This position, though not popular, appears necessary against the backdrop of existential threat by the insecurity pervading the nation.
Arc. Kabir Ibrahim is the national president of All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN). He can be reached on firstname.lastname@example.org.