Climate change fueling high hunger rate, says agricultural economist

Chukwudi Akasike and Daniel Adaji

An agricultural economist from the Centre for Agricultural Development and Sustainable Environment, Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Tobi Awolope, has attributed the high hunger rate, which has severely affected smallholder farmers, the main players in food production to climate change.

Her assertion follows the recent warning issued by the United Nations that 82 million Nigerians, which is about 64 per cent of the country’s population, may go hungry by 2030.

The UN called on the government to tackle climate change, pest infestations, and other threats to agricultural productivity as well as food security.

Awolope, who spoke to our correspondent on Friday, noted that those farmers had a low adaptive capacity to cope with the effects of climate change, such as irregular rainfall patterns and lack of irrigation.

She said, “Climate change has reversed the progress made towards achieving Sustainable Development Goals 1 and 2, which aim to eradicate poverty and hunger. Smallholder farmers are struggling to adapt to the changing climate, and this has led to declining food availability and rising prices,”

The agricultural economist emphasised the need for government support for farmers, including subsidising production inputs, and providing technology and irrigation assistance.

“Farmers cannot mitigate the effects of climate change alone. The government needs to step in and support them to ensure food security,” she stated.

Awolope also stressed the importance of utilising research recommendations to inform policy decisions, saying, “This is not the time to leave research output on the shelf. We need to use those recommendations to make informed decisions that will support our farmers and ensure food availability.”




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