From Esther Akaa, Lafia
A Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), Human & Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA) Resource Centre says it was building the capacity of farmers in Nasarawa State with the right information aimed at reducing the impact of climate change in the state.
The Executive Secretary of HEDA, Mr Suleiman Arigbabu, stated this on Monday at a one-day mid-season interaction workshop for agriculture stakeholders held in Lafia, Nasarawa State capital.
According to him, farmers have lost a lot of crops and animals due to climate change and there was need to communicate scientific information relating to climate change in the language they will understand, in order to guard against future losses.
Arigbabu, noted that NiMet through its seasonal predictions has continued to provide the general public with information about rainfall, heat predictions among others in both foreign and local languages to enable the people cope with the challenges of climate change in their environment.
“This year, NiMet not only predicted the seasonal climate but they also produced a seasonal climate predictions in local languages such as Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba languages, but the question is, are the farmers getting these information?
“Therefore, this mid -season interactive workshop with the agriculture stakeholders is an opportunity to review the impacts of these predictions on farmers and know if the are beneficial to our farmers or not.
“The workshop is also for the farmers to know if there are other institutions supporting them to be able to make use of the information provided to them by NiMet, in order to help them cope with climate change for their benefits,” he said.
He, therefore, called on participants to avail themselves of the right information and inputs that will increase food production aimed at eliminating hunger and poverty in the state and the country at large.
Also speaking, Chief Meteorologist, Agriculture, NiMet, Mr James Adamu, said there was need for proper application of the seasonal climate predictions to reduce climate risks and enhance the production crops and animals for human consumption and economic growth.
Adamu revealed that NiMet had developed an application to enable the public access seasonal weather predictions for both local government areas and states of the federation, in order to guard against the effects of climate change.
“Also, discussion is ongoing on how we are going to make the seasonal climate prediction in form of text messages because most farmers don’t have android phones.
“We are having a lot of discussions with the service providers and also the National Communication Commission (NCC) and hopefully by next year, we should be going towards having it but work is still ongoing,” he said.
Speaking on behalf of participants, National President, Association of Small Scale Agro Producers in Nigeria (ASSAPIN), Mr Joshua Jonathan, said the farmers were already asking relevant questions that would help them cope with the impacts of climate change in the state.
He, however, said that due to variations in the seasonal climate predictions provided by NiMet, some farmers were in doubt and called for more sensitisation and information disseminating to the grassroots to enable them to believe subsequent predictions by the agency.
HEDA is implementing a 5-year project known as “African Activists for Climate Justice (AACJ) in collaboration with the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) and OXFAM with funding from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) of the Netherlands and the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA).