Climate change experts have called on the federal government to promote agroecology, a dynamic concept that contribute to transforming food systems by applying ecological principles to agriculture and ensuring a regenerative use of natural resources, rather than destructive industrial/colonial agriculture that destroys soil.
Experts, who spoke to LEADERSHIP at a media training hosted by Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF) on Thursday, in Lagos, said industrial food system is the greatest anthropogenic climate change.
Programmes manager, HOMEF, Joyce Brown said, industrial farming accounts for around half of all emissions, which includes 15 to 18 per cent emissions due to land use change and deforestation, 11 to 15 per cent on-farm emissions, 15 to 20 per cent processing, transport, packing and retail emissions and two to four per cent of waste emissions.
Brown disclosed that intensive energy/fossil fuel use during industrial farming can increase global greenhouse gas emissions through machinery, food processing, and transportation of food over long distances, manufacture of synthetic inputs-nitrogen fertilizer from nitrogen and natural gas and massive amounts of methane released during large-scale industrial cattle ranching.
She however advocated the practice of agroecology which ensure food sovereignty access to safe, healthy, culturally appropriate food at all times by all, significantly contribute to fighting climate change by drawing CO2 from the atmosphere and locking it up in organic matter and hugely reduce Nigeria’s energy dependence of which the country use one fifth of its fossil fuels to grow and process food.
In the same vein, environmental justice and food sovereignty activist, Nnimmo Bassey has called on African Leaders to prioritize discussion on investment in agroecology at the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference (UNFCCC COP27) in Egypt, with support for the majority of farmers, rather than hammering on industrial, colonial or plantation agriculture that depends on fossil fuels, promotes risky technologies and continues to devastate the environment, displace communities and feed climate change.
The COP27 will be an African COP if African leaders are going there to demand climate justice and insist on the payment of a climate debt for historical and current harms, Bassey said, adding that, the value of this debt can be approximated to about $2 trillion of which the industrialized nations spend on warfare and armament annually.
“It can be an African COP if the marketization of nature, including through diverse forms of carbon trading are denounced and rejected, if binding emissions cuts return to the negotiations and polluting nations agree to do their fair share on the basis of Common But Differentiated Responsibilities (CBDR) rather than the so-called Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) that so far have not dented more than 2 gigatonnes of the 27 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent needed to keep temperature increase to not more than 1.5℃ above preindustrial levels as per the Paris Agreement of 2015.
“It would be an African COP if the Paris Agreement is overturned and a new upper temperature target of well below 1.5℃ is set with a clear understanding that 1.5℃ global average means 2.2℃ for Africa and that such a temperature scenario will utterly cook the continent,” he explained.
Bassey however tasked African leaders to take real climate solutions such as agroecology and not false solutions such as the geo-engineering, Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) and Net Zero, which are mere dreams, adding that the struggle is about justice today and not a promissory note that may not ever be fulfilled or that would be of no consequence by 2050 should the planet have already stepped into catastrophic climate change by that time.