Addressing Nigerian food insecurity and agricultural Production in a Changing Climate

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 Although the growth rate averaged 7 percent in the 2006–2008 period, it is still below the 10 percent estimated as necessary for sustainable food security and poverty reduction. The country continues to import a substantial part of its food, due to underexploited agricultural Nigeria’s food security situation is characterised by the threat of hunger and poverty, which confronts the 69 percent of the population that lives on less than Naira 100 (US$ 0.7) per day. Smallholder farmers account for 80 percent of all farm holdings, but crop yields are far below potentials. This is due to inadequate access to and low uptake of high quality seeds and inefficient production systems, leading to regular shortfalls in production.potential. Currently, the population of Nigeria involved in farming is 60–70 percent. Agriculture contributed 42 percent to GDP in 2009.

Despite a growing urban population, in 2000 at least 56 percent of the population resided in rural areas, where the main economic activity is agriculture. This puts the agricultural sector ahead of other sectors in terms of its importance for the food security, livelihood and well-being of most Nigerians. Nigeria’s diverse agro-ecological zones and other characteristics show that it has a high agricultural potential. Nigeria has about 79 million hectares of arable land, of which 32 million hectares is cultivated. Its surface water totals around 267 billion cubic meters, while underground water accounts for about 57.9 billion cubic meters. Although the figures given for the potential irrigable area vary; actual irrigated area is only a small fraction of that potential. As over 90 percent of agricultural production is rain-fed, rainfall patterns and amounts further influenceagricultural production. Changes in climate thus have significant consequences for food security and crop production.

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