For sustainable agriculture to meet the rising demand for food in Nigeria, we must observe climate change in agriculture and its effect around us.
Looking into these climate changes will help understand them more quickly, especially regarding how they affect farming, agricultural productivity and livelihood.
Climate change consists of extensive weather patterns and global warming caused by artificial emissions of greenhouse gases.
Since there have been periods of climatic shifts in the past, humans witnessed an unforeseen impact on the earth’s climate system in the mid 20th century, resulting in a modification on a global scale.
As a result of the unexpected developments, agronomists and weather experts concluded that extensive study and research on climate changes in agriculture would solve common agricultural challenges such as; food insecurity, soil degradation, and other possible issues in the future.
A major factor responsible for subsequent climate changeability and global warming is the emission of greenhouse gases.
What Is Climate Change?
It is a shift in the weather pattern that results in related changes that occur on land surfaces, ice sheets, and the oceans over a period.
Because the weather is the state of the atmosphere, its wind, temperature, humidity, rainfall, etc. — are all influenced by oceans, land surfaces, and ice sheets. They come together to form what we call The Climate System.
Alternatively, climate change in agriculture is the modification in the probabilistic properties of the climate system regarding agricultural output.
Such changes could span over long periods, like a decade or several decades.
Natural and artificial processes influence climate change, including volcanoes, sun radiation, human influences, the shift in land and atmospheric composition, and the climate system’s internal variability.
New weather-predicting technologies can help to curb unprecedented climate change in agriculture. The weather can be forecasted up to about a week in advance with the appropriate tech. Through weather forecasting technologies, farmers can predict momentary fluctuations in climate in-between planting seasons.
How Climate Change Affects Agriculture
Climate change affects agriculture in various ways through changes in temperature which may lead to increased risk of food insecurity, irregular rainfalls or droughts affecting the quantity and quality of crops produced, use of pesticides and more. Here are some of major ways climate change is affecting agriculture:
Increased Risk of Food Insecurity
In a book published by William Cline in 2007 titled “Global Warming and Agriculture: Impact Estimates by Country.” He estimated that the global agricultural outputs for developing nations would decline averagely by 17% in Africa, 13% in Latin America, and 30% in South Asia by the 2080s and may be much worse if these nations do not fully implement carbon Fertilization.
He attributes the expected decline in agricultural output for these nations to geographically detailed estimates for changes in temperature and precipitation by the 2080s.
Impact on Water Availability
Climate change has a significant effect on the weather pattern, which results in extreme weather conditions such as floods or droughts, which also affect the availability of water for crops.
Limited water availability for crops affects the crop water requirements, which is the “quantity of water required by a crop in a given period of time for normal growth under field conditions.”
Depending on the water availability, whether the climate change may lead to an increase or decrease in water availability, irrigation may be needed or reduced to ensure crops get the adequate water requirement.
Flooding as a result of heavy rains can also hinder crops’ growth and affect soil structure.
Increased Use of Pesticides
Pesticides are used to prevent crop destruction by pests and keep crop yields to their maximum.
An increase in temperature and changes in precipitation caused by climate change have been highlighted to reduce the effects of pesticides on pests, which is expected to lead to increased pesticide use in higher amounts, doses, and frequencies.
Other Notable Effects of Climate Change on Agriculture
- Weed proliferation
- Increased emission of greenhouse gases due to the conversion of non-farm lands into farmlands.
- Longer growing seasons in cool areas.
- Loss of fertile lands caused by rising sea levels.
- Increase in the incidence of pests and vector-borne diseases.
How Babban Gona is Mitigating Climate Change
To mitigate the effects of climate change, we ensure our members are provided with the adequate Health, Safety and Environment training.
Through the training provided to member farmers as part of the Farm University, we promote reduced deforestation, reduced cropping, crop rotation and optimized input use.