By ibrahima yakubu
Two precision agriculture experts have called on governments at all levels to encourage farmers to adopt Climate-Smart Agriculture (CSA) systems to curb food insecurity.
The experts made the call in separate interviews with the news men in Abuja, on Tuesday in Lagos.
Precision agriculture (PA) is an advanced innovation and optimized field level management strategy used in agriculture that aims to improve the productivity of resources on agriculture fields.
Thus PA is a new advanced method in which farmers provide optimized inputs such as water and fertilizer to enhance productivity, quality, and yield.
An Agriculture Analyst, Mr Akin Alabi, said that it was possible to adopt CSA farming systems in Nigeria.
Alabi, who is the co-founder of Corporate Farmers International, said that, if farmers had good understanding of the modalities with which CSA operated, it would yield good harvest for them.
“Every average farmer needs to adopt this kind of precision farming system to boost food security. We cannot continue to rely on the traditional means of farming.
“It actually takes some level of education and training to adopt climate smart agriculture systems like Hydroponics, Aquaponics, Greenhouse farming, etc.
“We also need some form of climate change control and adaptation to practice CSA systems.
“Most of the farm practices we operate in Nigeria are open-field farming systems. This is because of the seed factor, population and because most farmers are involved in short-term farming systems,” the expert stated.
Akin said that, however, there was a need to train local farmers and hone their skills to ensure the successful adoption of the farming system.
“If we want to go into precision farming – Hydroponics, Aquaponics, greenhouse farming and other climate smart agriculture practices, then there is need for proper training of our farmers and empowerment.
“They need to understand why CSA farming systems are better than open-field farming systems.
“However, the cost implications involved in running these CSA farming systems are intensive. For example the cost of setting up a greenhouse farm may come up to N9 million.
“Not all farmers may be able afford these systems. So the government should make it a long-term plan to empower farmers to adopt these systems to boost food security.
“It is, however, a good plan to educate farmers on the adoption of CSA to help us grow crops all-year round,” Akin said.
On his part, Mr Chuba Chukwuka, a Greenhouse Farmer, called for financial empowerment of farmers to adopt CSA farming systems.
According to him, “More farmers want to practice CSA, but it is capital intensive.
“What farmers need is the financial support to embark on these improved farming practices to boost security.
“Most farmers do not have access to funds to get equipment and the technical know-how to adopt these farming systems.
“Aside the financial support for the adoption of CSAs, technical training for the farmers must be paramount.”
Chukwuka said the government can also create institutions that can champion the training of local farmers for CSA farming systems.