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Published On: Tue, Mar 25th, 2014

Climate change threatening food production – Don

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A professor of Animal Science at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, EmmanuelSonaiya yesterday said climate change was threatening food production in the country.

Sonaiya made the observation in Ilorin while delivering a lecture at the first Annual Public Lecture organised by the Animal Science Association of the Nigerian Institute of Animal Science, Kwara Chapter.

Sonaiya said climate change posed a danger of increased unpredictability of rainfall and rising sea levels.

He described climate change “as a growing crisis with grave economic, health, safety and security implications.

“It contaminates coastal fresh water reserves, increases the risk of catastrophic flooding and aids the pole-ward spread of pests and diseases once limited to the tropics,” he said.

In the lecture entitled: “Climate Change and Profitable Animal Production,’’ Sonaiya said sub-Sahara Africa was particularly hard hit by global warming as it was experiencing high temperature and low precipitation.

He also said that the economies of sub-Sahara countries were highly dependent on agriculture while adoption of modern technology was low.

Sonaiya said climate change had affected livestock directly and indirectly as it influenced the quantity and quality of feedstuff

According to him, heat exchanges between the animal and the environment were linked to air temperature, humidity, wind speed and thermal radiation.

Sonaiya said the increasing global temperature had been attributed mostly to the effect of greenhouse gases such as carbon-dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and chlorofluorocarbons.

“Climate change, to some degree, is inevitable. This means that the environment in which livestock are managed will change.

“Genetic improvement can be used as a tool to help livestock species adapt to the new environment as well as help to mitigate emissions,” he said

Sonaiya, who said that 54 billion animals were slaughtered yearly worldwide for human consumption, warned that energy costs would rise while the use of nutrients by farmers was likely to be legislated on in future.

Earlier, Prof. AbdulGaniyuAmbali, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ilorin, had noted that climate change was a leading global issue today. (NAN)

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