Nigeria can achieve agricultural sustainability despite the threat posed by the climate change challenges, if farmers embrace new and smarter ways of adequately feeding the populace.
This was the position of Head of the Department of Cell Biology and Genetics, University of Lagos, Prof. Bola Oboh, during the annual lecture of the department, with the theme: “Agriculture and food sustainability in Nigeria: The role of Biologists”
She said farmers could manipulate the DNA of the country’s indigenous crops to withstand the vagaries of climate change, by breeding crops that have high resistance, hold back erosion, with the cooperation from government and private companies to achieve the goal.
Oboh said biologists have essential roles to play in this area, by informing investors on climate-resilient agricultural production systems, minimising greenhouse gas emissions and developing a global knowledge system for sustainability.
“Apart from the age long selection and improvement of food crops via conventional breeding tools, modern biotechnological tools are central in combating the ills of climate change on global food security,” She said.
Oboh regretted that issues of poor governance, out-dated agricultural practices, poverty, infrastructure deficit, soil degradation and non-availability of resilient elite crop plants have negatively impacted the Nigeria food security indices.
“This clear and present threat to global food security, affects Nigeria’s changing scenarios arising from climate change, unplanned urbanisation, shrinking arable land and water resources have exacerbated an already challenged food system.”
Oboh noted that modern biotechnology provides opportunities for mindful developing countries to fight hunger and diseases within their bounds, saying the country could achieve agricultural sustainability despite the climate change.
The Guest Lecturer, Prof. Gordian Obute said the issue of global warming is currently affecting both plants and animals, noting that farmers are also adapting ways to ensure their survival.