Agri-food System, Climate Change, and the Sustainability Card.

Agri-food System, Climate Change, and the Sustainability Card.

“A sadder reality is that many farmers in Sub-Sahara African countries are smallholder,    and still unable to understand what climate change means even though they are experiencing a first-class impact of this development. My father in the village thinks we are having disruptive drought and flood because God is angry with us.”

 

 

From the basic elementary school knowledge, everyone knows that the best time to cultivate maize is between the start of raining season which is usually around March/April. Even, farmers from rural enclaves who have not seen the four walls of formal education have this knowledge with them without being taught.

Today, the narrative has changed. While rural farmers lament the disturbing delay and irregularity in rainfall, and overall seasonal change, learned fellows are busy tossing the debates on climate change and its daring impact on food production. For example, we have moved from growing maize 3 times (relatively in the south-west) a year to struggling to grow it even once a year, all within the last decade.

In fact, never in the history of existence has the global inhabitants have to worry about the changing climate like recent times. And without mincing words, a careful consideration of the different distortions and alterations in the global ecosystem brings us face to face with the realities of the metamorphosis in the global climate order.

Arguably, climate change remains one of the most contentious discourse going on around the globe- raising debates as well as solution sourcing for this imminent quagmire. The world would have cared less if the water fountains are not drying up, the ice caps are not melting, the desert landscapes are not swallowing up the savannah and most commonly, the fading away of the ozone layer- the protecting sheath against direct solar intensity.

Markedly, these major disruptions are affecting virtually all existing sectors in all ramifications. Just like other sectors, weighing in the impact of climate change on Agriculture, the sector stands the risk of not meeting the food demand of the increasing global populace. Not only that, the allegorical state of our flora and fauna is a testament to the ticking time bomb of climate change. Evidently, we are witnessing how climate change is causing insecurity in Africa – caused by increased crimes due loss of agricultural land and farming jobs as well as farmers/herders’ crisis while the later seeks fresh pasture to feed their cattle.

Dare to say that the agri-food system no longer questions the economics of production and productivity but vigorously on the cause to assuage the consequence of climate change such as desert encroachment, fluctuations in rainfall pattern, drought, increased solar intensity and resource use contestation chief amongst which is land use. There are so many discussions around causes and mitigations, but this piece is focused on impacts on agriculture.

Meanwhile, in the face of this uncertainties, global food sovereignty- basically produce and products of crop, livestock, and aquaculture, is near unstable and the daring implications of these includes reduced food access and supply, unconsolidated market price distribution as well as increased bureaucracies. By implication, the growing 7bilion global populace stands the risk of competing for the most basic requirement to live. The more reason why the world needs to know that hunger is our common enemy- negroid or caucasian alike, mongoloid and australoid notwithstanding.

Apart from the fundamental question of sustenance, what this means for both indigenous and international economy will be intermittent recoup from high living cost which perhaps is mortgaged with increased subsidies for food. This could cripple the economies of many nations.

Hence, undermining the role farmers as well as other related actors play in this whole matrix of food security becomes problematic. The unsung heroes of our food commonwealth need to be given the much-needed attention now when the damage is still under control.

Food policies of 2 to 5 decades ago cannot stand the test of relevance in addressing the challenges of this present reality. As a matter of urgency, vigorous policies on climate smart practices and resource use control should be put in place.

A sadder reality is that many farmers in Sub-Sahara African countries are smallholder, and still unable to understand what climate change means even though they are experiencing a first-class impact of this development. My father in the village thinks we are having disruptive drought and flood because God is angry with us.

The efforts from institutions for example NIMET Nigeria in forecasting weather outlook are clearly insufficient as farmers were severely impacted by failure from their predictions and as such do not take them too seriously anymore.  There are increasing campaigns for smart climate agriculture, precision farming, irrigation, among all other options. All of which comes at relatively high costs with little chance for smallholder farmers to afford or even make profits from their adoption (in the short term), compared to rainfed farming where cost is reduced. Unfortunately, rainfed farming is gradually becoming endangered and farmers must now start embracing this new reality. Cluster farming and strong cooperatives will go a long way in deploying and utilizing irrigation resources and harness government and institutions supports.

Similarly, synthesis of research and complementary training and education should be given to farmers at the grassroots most especially in sub-Saharan Africa where smallholder farmers constitute the majority. And it is for this cause that organizations like FoodData Nigeria continues to champion inclusiveness, working with smallholder farmers and providing timely information, bridging knowledge gap, and providing supports and Agricultural data, which remains a vital tool for prescience and evidence-based decision making in ensuring that our world is food secured. There is a need for private-public collaboration to develop, execute and monitor frameworks to help in the efficient management of the current crisis and the future consequences ahead if we fail to act. Fooddata is sure ready for collaborations!

 

Oladeji Odunola

For Fooddata NG.

All correspondence to : Hello@fooddata.com.ng.

2021 Rain distribution prediction by NIMET.

 

Although previous years predictions by NIMET were not very accurate, having a guide is still better than being completely in the dark. Find attached all the 36 states

and the FCT rain prediction. They are in pdf format and easy to download.

 

THE RISE OF DIGITAL MILLENNIUM AND  THE CONCERN FOR A DATA-DRIVEN  AGRICULTURE

THE RISE OF DIGITAL MILLENNIUM AND THE CONCERN FOR A DATA-DRIVEN AGRICULTURE

From Caucasoid to Negroid, Mongoloid to Australoid, the 7.8billion United Nation global population estimate has one thing in common; regardless of the dietary type, food remains the most basic need for human survival. Rationally, it’s expected that people have access to 3 meals a day, 7days a week, 4 weeks a month and 12 months a year. By implication, the food need of an individual according to dietary metric is approximately 1,008 times in a year. A multiplier effect of 1,008 in the tunes of the 7.8billion food consumers is a huge task for the spatial stratum of food producers.

The impending global hunger and threat to food security, warrant the urgency to address the whole processes of food transformation from pre-production phase to consumption. Food Aid Foundation posited that one in nine people on earth does not have enough food to lead a healthy active life. Now, bringing it home, Sub-Saharan Africa has been tipped to have the highest prevalence of hunger, a further analysis showing about 45 percent mortality in children under five. Hence, a wake-up call to build resilience in agriculture to meet the rising demand of the teaming population, secure our future and ensure perpetuity.

More so, the declining ratio of food producers to food consumers in the rapidly urbanizing world is alarming. And it is no news this urbanization is explicated by a rapidly growing network and aggregation of labour force in industrial and service sector whilst endangering the supply streak of food producers. More often than enough, these unsung heroes have been relegated to the back end of major happenings in the cities, forgetting that the golden course meal on the rich man’s table is the product of the toil of the hand that gets dirty.

Reflecting on the enormous challenges faced by farmers in Nigeria, food production has been plagued with myriad challenges spanning through the informative decision stage to post harvest predicaments. Similarly, the marketing chain is faced with daunting challenge of recurring gluts cemented with price volatility. Farmers groin in regrettable trauma of figuring out a worthy compensation for their earnest toil whilst seeking a better strategy or safe practices. How will it be, if they could be liberated on the cloaks of data-driven information system, appropriate for decision making. It is therefore expedient to preserve the passion of these savior of masses and elites; that are locked out of the big share in the metropolis, by advocating for sustainable development engendered in real data that reflect their needs.

As far as this sector is concerned, decision making has to be result driven and socially inclusive. In this regard, technology could be gainfully employed in building a robust agricultural database. This will in no wise build a support system for policy frameworks, helping farmers, governments and both indigenous and international donors make informed decisions.

Towards a food sufficient economy, the Community of World Food Security (CFS), has identified the importance of agricultural data and analysis as a key pivot in its thematic workstreams in making a difference in Food Security and Nutrition. CFS’s multi-year programme of work for 2020 to 2023 reflected data collection and analysis as a critical player in global policy guidance for policy convergence and coherence to achieve food security, improve nutrition and promote the progressive realization of the right to adequate food.

From the foregoing, in pursuit of the global goal on zero hunger, the impetus to drive agricultural production to sufficiently cater for the global food demand is a major concern. And the pathway to achieving this is in a holistic approach to making effective production decision, strategizing on the drawing board with an underlying insight from what data reveals. To achieve this, it is essential that efficient agricultural database is put in place, where quality data is at a click away to prospective users. Through this, many producers can be reached by a well-coordinated pluralistic set of providers in a manner that is financially sustainable and meets development objectives.

 

Odunola Oladeji.

For Fooddata Nigeria.

Budgets and Impacts – Nigeria’s ‘Guess work’ failing approach and why data matters.

Budgets and Impacts – Nigeria’s ‘Guess work’ failing approach and why data matters.

The issue of poor transparency and accountability is unarguably an age long tradition in Nigeria and the gross disregard for data, which could keep this in check is evident. Data is an important key to prescience, without it, we live by chance and amidst uncertainties, and this is not sustainable.

Our population as a people has remained a guess work after the last controversial failed national population census of 2006. Sadly, we keep building budgets and policies around this fraud annually. It is no surprise that we are not progressing as a nation.

This challenge is an attribute of  all sector in Nigeria including agriculture. Without data, it becomes impossible to make evidence-based decisions and this has accounted for several policy failures and while budgets are not addressing the societal needs. We only continue to live by chance without solid data to plan our budgets and policies and this is only a matter of time before we are consumed by serious food insecurity consequences which are already threatening us.

Several billions of naira were budgeted for agriculture and farmers allegedly empowered. The results had remained obvious failure, more impoverished farmers, failing policies, increasing food costs, declining export revenue among others. More money is being diverted than reached the farmers but there are no ways the public could track this or hold public office holders accountable.

An instance is a report published by Premium Times on December 31st, 2019 – “Nigeria’s agriculture agency failed to account for 350 million naira – Audit report.”  This and many more fraud are being perpetrated while farmers are getting the interventions on papers and our productivity increasing on propaganda.

These atrocities will continue until we set up systems  to keep track of these funds from top to bottom and make use of data to measure performance.

While it is common knowledge that public officials are not data tolerant, we must continue as individual to make available these data and give platforms for the public to ask questions on how their allocated funds are being utilized, with measurable metrics.

The 2003 Maputo Accord which Nigeria signed with other African countries demanded that allocations to agriculture should be about 10% of total national budget, but so far, only the Yar’adua administration in 2009 reached half of that figure. The charts attached showed that neither states nor national agricultural gets the priority a country with geometric growing population needed.

The evil doer does less evil than the innocent citizen who watched him do evil without concerns. Be concerned, ask questions, take responsibility.

Follow us on twitter @FooddataN for updates on states and the nation agricultural funding, budgeting and impacts measurement.

Planting calendar and constant shift, climate change impact on Agriculture and why we should care.

FOODDATA -SELECTED CROPS PLANTING CALENDER

The reality of climate change has constantly disrupt this calendar in the past couple of years. We are committed to following how these events are changing and informing farmers on how to avoid the disasters that follow the sharp disruptions. This date reflects data for the last 2 years and the changes compared to the last 5 years have been so significant.

It is very important that we pay attention to these details and improve the reliability of the Agricultural weather data (predictions still quite inaccurate and not well circulated). We can give farmers all the inputs, subsidies and loans, none of these will protect them from the challenges climate change is imposing on them, especially when more than 70% of our domestic food production are still rainfed and bearing that irrigation is quite expensive for majority of smallholder farmers to manage. This is why our organization is  also pushing for strengthening farmer’s cooperatives as a way to allow them to access certain technology and equipment with team force.

Attached here is a collection of planting and harvesting calendar in Nigeria. Please be informed that this is not absolute and corrections and suggestions would be appreciated.

Note: You can download (FOODDATA -SELECTED CROPS PLANTING CALENDER) and use, but be kind enough to reference the source. Not all free things are cheap.

Adekunle E. Ayandele

For Fooddata NG.