For several decades Climate change has stood out as an albatross that humanity invariably contends with. Perpetually abetting more droughts, flooding, extreme weather conditions among other ecological and socio-economic problems, climate change is having serious adverse effects on farmers, especially in the peripheral parts of the globe. In Africa Climate change is already producing a surge in the frequency and intensity of droughts that is damaging production of the continents most important crop (maize) while increased flooding in South Asia is endangering rice harvests that sustain millions of lives. Countries like Rwanda, Ghana and Ethiopia are at risk of experiencing a downturn in poverty reduction which have been influenced mainly by increase in the productivity of smallholder farmers (within these countries) due to climate change.
According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), approximately a quarter of all anthropogenic Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emission worldwide are caused by agriculture, forestry and land use changes and climate change is depriving the livelihoods of millions of people around the world especially the nearly 80 percent of the world’s poor that live in rural areas and rely on agriculture, forestry and fisheries for their survival. Data from the World Resources Institute (WRI) shows that Climate change may depress growth in global agriculture yields up to 30 percent by 2050, and that in poorer communities, where many people spend more than half of their incomes on food, food prices could rise by 20 percent or more. These impacts, according to the WRI, would push people further into poverty and be a major setback in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Since the setting of the SDGs and the adoption of the Paris Agreement under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC), efforts to combat climate change have been on the increase. However, the exigency of sustaining food security and achieving zero hunger is still much a global concern. At the G7 meeting held in Taormina, Italy in 2017, it was reported that despite major improvements in the last decades to eradicate hunger, the international community is still far from reaching the ‘’zero hunger’’ objective. Over 800 million people around the world currently experience poverty and hunger. Thus, according to the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, current agricultural production levels need to rise up to 60 percent by 2050 in order to keep meeting the world’s growing food demands. To assist countries in developing and transforming agricultural systems that are resilient to climate change, the FAO in 2014 proposed the idea of Climate-Smart Agriculture and mobilized support through the Ministry of Environment, Land and Sea of Italy (IMLS) in promoting the practice around the world. Climate-Smart Agriculture is an inclusive approach that helps to guide actions and develop agricultural strategies to effectively support development and ensure food security under the threat of climate change.
The CSA practice aims at the following specific objectives:
1. Sustainably increase agricultural productivity
2. adapt and build resilience to climate change and
3. reduce or remove GHG emissions in the agricultural sector.
These three pillars of Climate-Smart Agriculture have kindled a multi-stakeholder partnership, including both private and public actors and government and non-government agencies, around the world.
At the UN Climate Action Summit held in New York on September 23, 2019, a consortium of donors, financial institutions and philanthropy expressed commitment to accelerate Climate-Smart Agriculture and promote global food security. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the World Bank, and several governments of the world announced financial commitments of $790 million and assistance to enhance resilience of over 300 million small-scale food producers in the face of mounting climate impacts. Speaking at the Summit, Ban Ki-moon, the 8th Secretary General of the United Nations and Co-chair of the Global Commission on Adaptation, stressed the urgency for the global practice of the CSA. According to him;
‘’without Urgent action to help the world’s smallholder farmers we risk undermining our food security for generations to come. Today’s financial commitments are a positive step forward, but more must be done to ensure the world’s farmers are equipped for long-term sustainable, climate-smart production.’’
The UN summit was partly impacted by the report and recommendations of the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) on Climate Change Agriculture and Food Security (CCAF). The CGIAR-CCAF, in a letter released in November 2018, recommended a six-part action plan to transform the world food system under climate change and accelerate progress towards the SDGs. The elements of the action plan include the following:
- Strengthen farmer and consumption organizations and their networking
- Digitization of the food systems — production and supply
- Scale up Climate-resilient and low-emission practices and technologies
- Innovative finance to leverage public and private sector investments
- Reshape supply chains, food retail, marketing and procurement
- Foster gender equality, capacity and enabling policies and institutions.
According to the CGIAR-CCAF, effective implementation of the six action plan will radically change the future of agriculture and world food systems and would define the future working agenda for many organizations.
Riding the crest of international groups, such as, the FAO, the SDG international and the CGIAR, Farmkonnect Agribusiness Nigeria Limited set out to create significant impact in the world struggle against climate change and food shortage, incorporating into its business model the core principles of Climate-Smart Agriculture (CSA). The company’s commitment towards the CSA is informed by her philosophy that food security is the principal driver of peace and national security. Hence, the company’s motor Agriculture is peace.
The following are ways by which FarmKonnect Nigeria is promoting Good Agricultural Practices and the CSA in Nigeria and beyond the polity:
Advanced Agricultural Projects
Spanning over twenty thousand acres of land (individually and jointly owned), FarmKonnect’s agribusiness operation encompasses a motley of projects that are both capital intensive and tech inclusive. The company, promoting environmentally controlled farming system, emerges as one of the few pushers of agricultural real estate in Nigeria. FarmKonnect’s model of agricultural real estate is an integrated agriculture which leverages on the use of drones, greenhouses and other modern technologies. By adopting smart and innovative irrigation approach like the drip irrigation, the company promotes efficient use of water resource. More so, through her projects, notably, the WaVe city, Navigand cluster, Igbeja snail village, Aquapet etc, Farmkonnect explores beyond food production and supply to facilitating empowerment, ecotourism, agricultural investment and wealth creation as well as value adding activities like conversion of food wastes to renewable energy. This aspect of FarmKonnect’s agribusiness model satisfies element 2, 3 and 5 of the CGIAR-CCAF’s six-action plan.
The WaVe city women vegetable enclave
The women vegetable enclave is an auxiliary to FarmKonnect’s Wasimi Vegetable (WaVe) city project. The WaVe city is a grand project of the company which aims to promote global food security and sustainability with speciality in the production of fruits and leafy vegetables. A cluster of 10,000 greenhouses situated on a 500 hectares of land in Wasimi, Osun State, the WaVe city is to provide seven thousand direct job opening for Nigerian youth and farmers with about 3000 slot dedicated for the women farmers. The ideal of women vegetable enclave is to empower women in Nigeria and better engage them in Agriculture and the fight against global poverty. This is line with the sixth element of the CGIAR-CCAF’s six-action plan.
Insurance and Financing
Farmkonnect has a sophisticated financial and risk management system. The company holds the security of its sponsors, staff and projects as very paraomount, hence, it explores numerous opportunities offered by insurance companies in risk mitigation. The company also facilitates financial backing of its projects and clients through crowd fund raising and soft and medium term agricultural loans respectively . Working in Partnership with NACCIA and Agfin, Farmkonnect operates to enhance a fully covered business and easy access to finance for its clients and sponsors in accordance with the 4th element of the CGIAR-CCAF six action plan.
Information Technology Support for Agriculture
The company endeavours to provide diverse Information Technology solution for all scales of farmers with a view to improving Africa’s agriculture. Part of the IT facilities of the company include the iHaveiNeed support which connects farmers to bulk buyers, an E-libary facility introducing farmers to important books, report, articles and other documents, Agric radio and TV, a project still underway, as well as web based farm management system and agricultural risk solution. This is in line with elements 1 and 5 of the CGIAR-CCAF’s action plan.
Partnership and Representative Network
FarmKonnect holds the idea of parnership and networking as an integral part of the agricultral value chain, thus, it is always open for partnership on win-win terms. The company is currently in partnership with companies like Touchstone snails in Cyprus, Pangoo in China, Kickstart in USA, Lead way Assurance, Nigerian Agricultural Insurance Corporation (NAIC) and Aquapet. The company also creates a web of representatives, comprising freelance marketers and professional consultants, across Nigeria. With atleast a Representative in a Senatorial district, supported by a minimum of 10 Business Representatives, Farmkonnect has over 1, 000 State and Business Representatives across Nigeria, and possibly growing beyond the borders in a shortwhile.The essence of the Representatives Network is to take the products and services offered or marketed by FarmKonnect to consumers through direct and experiential marketing in line with the 5th element of the CGIAR-CCAF’s action plan.
The phenomena; climate change and global food crises are a ubiquitous concern. Farmkonnect Agribusiness Nigeria Limited pledges to make a good landmark in the war against climate change by observing diligently in all its agricultural practices the core elements and the philosophy of the CSA. As the company aspires to lead the CSA practice in Nigeria and Africa, the company will sure make impressive contributions to sustainable development in the continent in few years from now.
Agriculture and Climate Change: Challenges and opportunities at the global and local level Collaboration on Climate-Smart Agriculture. 2019. Food and Agriculture Organization, UN. Rome. Foreword by Alexander Jones and Francesco LA Camera.
Dhanush Dinesh, A. M. Rodriguez, Alberto Milan, Tonya Rawe, Lindsay Stringer, Philip Thornton, Sonja Vermeulen and Bruce Campbell. 2018. A 6-part action plan to transform food systems under climate change. A report of CGIAR research program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food security.