Wednesday, April 24, 2024

UK Assures Spread of Climate Smart Agriculture in Nigeria

The United Kingdom (UK), through its LINKS program dedicated to the deployment of climate-smart agriculture, has assured Nigeria that the project, which is already delivering impressive results in the North, will be extended to other parts of the country.

The team leader for the LINKS program, Andrew Thorburn, made this assurance in Abuja at a results and lesson sharing event on climate smart agriculture. He disclosed that the program has boosted farmers income and helped them withstand increasing weather-related uncertainties.

The UK Government’s LINKS program has been implemented by Tetra Tech International Development since 2021 to pilot climate-smart farming initiatives and help farmers become more resilient in the face of climate change while reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

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Thorburn noted that LINKS is helping Nigeria achieve food security and improve the environment for all with the introduction of Systems of Rice Intensification (SRI), a climate-smart agricultural practice that is a different way of producing rice that reduces input costs by 50 percent.

He explained that SRI involves early transplanting of seedlings with wide spacing to allow the plants to flourish with less use of water than flooding and the use of organic rather than chemical fertilizers to double yield and reduce GHG emissions.

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According to him, farmers were skeptical when SRI was introduced, but over 26,000 farmers in Kano, Kaduna, and Jigawa are actively using it now, adding that the practice contributed to the improvement of soil quality, leading to increased resilience to changing weather, especially flooding.

The British Deputy High Commissioner in Lagos, Ben Llewellyn-Jones, represented by the Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office (FCDO) Climate and Nature Lead in Abuja, Martine Sobey, said they are looking forward to seeing SRI expand throughout Nigeria since results have shown a 40 percent reduction in GHG emissions produced by rice growers.

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