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Climate Change: Anambra Farmers Lament Changing Rainfall Pattern



By Praise Chinecherem

Women farmers in Umueri, Anambra East Local Government Area of Anambra State have expressed their frustrations with the irregularity in rainfall patterns and other manifest impacts of climate change on their farming vocation.

The farmers spoke during a one-day sensitization programme organized by the Social and Integral Development Centre, SIDEC, supported by Action Aid Nigeria and funded by Global Affairs Canada, under the Strategic Opportunity Fund, (SOF).

The project titled, “Climate Change and You” was designed to educate rural women and girls on the impacts of climate change on agriculture which is their major occupation as well as what they can do to reduce its negative impacts on them.

The women, who took their turn to recount the impacts of the 2022 flood on them, lamented the unpredictability of rainfall and the sudden cessation of rainfall caused by drought, which had made things difficult for them.

Earlier in a presentation on agro-ecology, the consultant on the project, Ifeoma Onuzulike, traced the problem to some unwholesome human activities called (anthropogenic factors), which she charged the women farmers to consciously guard against.

“Trees are important. Do not cut everything down because you want to farm. Traditionally, when we want to clear land for cultivation, we cut down all tree and set everything ablaze, this is part of the problem of emission which is causing global warming.

“Let’s go back to composting where we can use some of the things we burn as manure. We advise against the use of organic fertilizer because the chemical in it kills organisms and when washed by the next flood into water bodies, it is also dangerous for aquatic animals and even humans who use such water,” she said.

Onuzulike further stressed the need for farmers in flood-prone communities to diversify their practice to prevent losing everything they work for to climate related disasters such as flooding, drought among others.

“For you people farming in flood-prone areas, you must embrace climate smart agriculture as against the rain-fed agriculture. Don’t specialize in only one type of crop so that you don’t lose all anytime disaster strikes.

“Also, you must synergize with one another. Form yourselves into cooperative and access loans to be able to farm on a larger scale than you are doing individually,” Onuzulike counseled.

Executive Director, SIDEC, Ugochi Ehiahuruike, regretted that despite that women and girls suffer more during flooding and other disasters caused by climate change, they don’t enjoy the privileges which their male counterparts enjoy.

“If they have their farms washed away by flood, they are not sure to get any other loan from the banks because they don’t have landed property which is often used as collateral. So, they retire to fate. I am not surprised that some of them have told us they are no longer interested in farming”.

Ehiahuruike stressed the need for government, private sector and non government organizations to work together to address the impacts of climate change on women farmers who constitute the largest population of farmers in the country.

“If Nigeria must beat the imminent food insecurity, women farmers must be encouraged with incentives whether in cash or kind. They need every assistance they can get from the government, the private sector, NGOs and even international partners”.

The women and young ladies shared their bitter experiences with flooding which plunged them into huge financial losses from which several of them are yet to recover.

“Some of us got loan to plant in 2022. But, flood came and washed everything away. We are yet to pay back the loans and we cannot access new one,” Maureen Ajide, the woman leader of the community, lamented on behalf of others.

She appreciated SIDEC and Action Aid Nigeria for initiating the sensitization programme which she noted had imparted them with knowledge on how to cope better with climate change effects.

“Thank you very much. We now know that there are short-duration crops we can plant and harvest three times in a year. This will help us to recover faster from all our losses”.

“We assure you that we shall put into practice the new things you have taught us. But, above all, we appeal to the federal and state governments to find a lasting solution to the perennial flooding,” Ajide concluded.

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