10 June 2018

Nigeria: Movie Review - 'Swallow' - Climate Change and Food Security in Nigeria

A movie has documented the grave challenges posed by climate change, inadequate infrastructure and poor agricultural practices to food security in Nigeria.

An initiative of the Shehu Musa Yar'Adua Foundation, the documentary titled "Swallow' exposes an alarming decline in number of fish in the Niger Delta as well as underweight cattle and insufficient rice, wheat and vegetables in the northern part of Nigeria.

In the movie, a large number of farmers and investors made vivid descriptions of how agricultural farming has moved from better to worse over the years and also reports Nigeria's abysmal response to the challenges.

At the premier of the documentary recently at the Yar'Adua Centre in Abuja, the chairman of National Food Security, Abubakar Bagudu who is also the governor of Kebbi State, said the most significant challenge facing Nigeria's agriculture is the improper use of land.

He said most farmers lack adequate resources to properly grow, breed or use the land efficiently enough to support Nigeria's growing population, which has been estimated to reach 450 million by 2050.

The governor lamented that because the country is not investing in its farmers, its agricultural sector is failing.

Mr Bagudu drew attention to the rise in import of agricultural produce, a situation he blamed on climate change, warning that if the trend continues, agricultural produce will find not be able to make significant contributions to the Nigerian economy.

The documentary highlights how Nigeria is facing a looming climate and environmental crises that it can no longer afford to ignore.

It shows how creeping effects of climate change and concurrent environmental degradation in communities across the country, unchecked for many years, pose a dilemma to the socio-economic and political development of the nation.

It shows how oil spills and gas flaring have contributed to water pollution in the Niger Delta, even as rain water as well as waters in the streams and lakes are being polluted with high levels of benzene. This has led to a decline in the region's biodiversity, which once contained one of the highest concentrations of biodiversity in Africa.

With the insurgency in the North-east, which has severely hit farmers and farms, posing the threat of agricultural shortage, there is a great threat to the nation's broad business outlook.

The documentary also illustrated the challenges with the situation of the nomadic cattle shepherds who have abandoned active grazing because the environment is no longer safe for them and threats to the lives of farmers by the several herdsmen/farmers carnage.

This has led to the decrease in milk production, meat production, the price of cattle and by extension the price of crops, the documentary shows.

Supported by the European Union and Open Society Initiative for West Africa, the film 'Swallow', uses climate advocacy to engage relevant stakeholders in order to galvanise Nigerians to act in response to the challenges, opportunities and solutions posed by these threats.

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