The federal government has restated its commitment to climate change mitigation to enhance soil fertility to promote food security in the country.
Ernest Umakhihe, permanent secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, disclosed this in Nsukka on Saturday during a keynote address at the 47th conference of the Soil Science Society of Nigeria (SSSN).
The conference’s theme was “Tropical Soil and Water Resources Management: Climate Change Mitigation for Functional Ecosystem Services and Food Security.”
Mr Umakhihe said all the technical departments in the ministry take soil issues seriously in pursuing their vision to prevent soil pollution and degradation.
“Enhancing soil fertility and food security is one of the mandates of our ministry, and we have been taking the issues seriously to achieve our mandate.
“Our ministry has made a lot of contributions towards climate change mitigation to help maintain the soil productivity and achieve food security,” he said.
According to him, the government responded to climate change issues through interventions and collaborations with relevant agencies.
“In the past few years, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, through the Department of Agriculture, Land and Climate Change Management Service (ALCCMS), has invested so much in climate change mitigation strategies.
“In the areas of water harvesting, small-scale irrigation techniques, land and water conservation, and management strategies in many parts of the countries have recorded good results,” he said.
The permanent secretary, represented by a director in the ministry, Oshadiya Olanipekun, appealed for collaboration among all the stakeholders in the maintenance of good health of the soil to ensure improved agricultural productivity.
He explained that climate change had resulted in loss of soil organic matter, reduction in moisture content, and loss of soil structure.
“Disruption in rainfall intensity affects water resources and food production are already a threat to ecosystem services and food security,” he stated.
In his remarks, Charles Igwe, the vice-chancellor (VC) of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN), who declared the conference open, appreciated the number of soil scientists and other stakeholders in agriculture and agro-allied industries at the event.