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Climate Change: Catholic Priest Makes Case for Regenerative Agriculture



By Julie Sylvia, Onitsha

A Catholic Priest, Rev. Fr Augustine Obiagbaosogu of the Catholic Diocesan Secretariat, Okwuani Nnewi said that the remedy to climate change is to come back to regenerative agriculture.

He quoted His Holiness Pope francis in his book, “Laudato si” where he said that ”We are exploiting the world by deforestation and killing of animals we are supposed to accomodate and befriend which resulted to climate change and that is why we are suffering.

Rev.Fr Obiagbaosogu who made these comments during his New yam festival at the Diocesan Secretariat Hall Okwuani Nnewi said also that people abandoned agriculture for white collar jobs, forgetting that God blessed his people through agriculture, which has to do with the land.

He said that according to Pope Francis who condemned the cutting of trees without subsequent replacement and killing of Animals whom suppose to be our friend, called on us to preserve these trees that supplies us with oxygen and animals who are our brothers and sisters since they are the same creature as we are.

”In the traditional setting, new yam festival is not fetish but our Christmas, to thank God for the plenty farm produce harvested.

The cleric, who said he grew in the village as a farmer, became more interested in farming when he returned from Ghana, hinting that, it was then that he started enjoying Igbo, (African ), culture and tradition.

“It is in agriculture that I found my destiny. I cultivate cassava, coco yam, among others, and as a farmer, I use new yam festival to thank God for His mercy in providing the plenty farm produce that we harvest yearly.

”My birthday celebration was in August 3rd but I celebrate it with the new yam festival yearly, it is four years that I started it. but this is my first time of celebrating it with a lecture. It is because of the love I have for Igbo tradition.

The cleric, who also lectures on Igbo tradition and culture at Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, also disagreed with the speculation in some quarters that Igbo culture and tradition are going into extinction, adding that it is not, rather it is not at it was, it is being generally performed via unification, saying that Igbo do their tradition together, Yoruba does hers and Hausa also do theirs.

He revealed that land is a female deity that gives birth, protects and nourishes its products, that is the reason when praying on New Yam festival “We pray that God to give birth to women seeking for the fruit of the womb, and that it is an abomination to steal yam in Igbo land.

Rev. Fr. Obiagbaosogu Clad in white attire, Prof Obi Nwosu holding the microphone, followed by Rev. Fr. Onyilioha.

Rev Fr.Dr. Chinedu Onyilioha, Senior Lecturer University of Port Harcourt in his lecture during the New yam celebration said that it is a taboo to allow our animals to destroy peoples yam (farm) using fulani herders/farmers clash as an example, stated also that it is a taboo for one out of greediness destroys another’s yam.

“New yam festival is a belief of our creator and human sustainability, it calls for hardworking, being dedicated to farming and the passover of the Igbos.

Prof.Obi Nwosu of the Nnamdi Azikiwe Teaching Hospital in his contribution said that new yam festival is symbolic just as Christmas by the Christian world.

“It is a way of reminding ourselves what we are practicing like seeing people going to thanksgiving on Sunday with yam not maize or other crops.

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