The one-day Agriculture Stakeholders Workshop on improving the provision of climate information services to farmers was organised by the Human and Environmental Development Agenda, HEDA, and Oxfam, in partnership with the Nigerian Meteorological Agency, NIMET. It was held in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital and aimed to improve farming experience and food productivity.
Executive secretary of HEDA Resource Centre Sulaimon Arigbabu said the workshop is essential for ease of climate information and seasonal climate predictions to farmers, a development he said will aid farming period, seedling choice and farming system.
He noted that agriculture remains crucial to the nation’s economy and employs about 70% of the rural workforce that contributes towards a larger proportion of food consumed in Nigeria.
Arigbabu said the sector is however experiencing crisis due to climate change. He added that the need to reclaim the climate dependent sector makes the synergy among stakeholders imperative.
The executive secretary pointed out that one of the major outcomes of the United Nations Food Systems Dialogues is the need to improve delivery of climate data and forecasts to aid the food production and distribution systems globally and particularly in Africa. “The annual Seasonal Climate Predictions and other forecasts from NIMET to the agriculture sector are parts of critical efforts in building the resilience of smallholder farmers in Nigeria,” he added.
NIMET officials, who were present at the workshop, informed that their personnel now visit farming communities to make climate information available.
Representing the commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, a director in the ministry, Mohammed Kabiru Hassan, said the state government will bridge the communication gap among stakeholders by updating its network base, engaging more agric extension workers and also building synergy with NIMET to ensure adequate information get to the farmers even in the remote areas.
Participants hailed organisers of the workshop, noting that it has brought together stakeholders to design a workable information system and in all help resolve key challenges confronting farmers in the area of climate information.