DIRECTOR OF WORLD FISH CENTRE CANVASSES IMPROVED CONSUMPTION OF PROTEIN AS FUTA HOSTS WORLD SYMPOSIUM ON CLIMATE CHANGE
It has been observed that developing countries, including Nigeria and other African countries eat less protein as food. This observation was made by the Egypt and Nigeria Country Director of the World Fish Centre, Dr. Karisa Harrison while delivering a keynote speech at the 3rd World Symposium on Climate Change Adaptation held at the Multipurpose Hall of the Federal University of Technology, Akure on Thursday, 12th September, 2019.Harrison, who spoke on the theme, ‘Climate Change Adaptation Addressing Poverty and Ensuring Sustainable Livelihoods’ was represented by Ms. Ajibola Olaniyi. He said in Sub-Saharan Africa where rates of micronutrient deficiencies are high, per capita fish consumption is low and continues to decline. He put meat, fish and other products consumption at 6%-7% as against cereals’ (52%) in developing countries.
According to him, 2 billion people worldwide suffer from hidden hunger or micronutrient deficiencies. He said “Micronutrient deficiencies are often caused by not eating a diverse diet including animal source foods like fish and meat and can lead to impaired brain development and stunting in children”. Harrison classified benefits of fish consumption to include zinc, iron, vitamin A and Calcium which are all beneficial to the development of the body, especially children. The fish expert highlighted challenges to African Agriculture development to include: low productivity, access to water and land, focus on a small fraction of the species, poor post-harvest handling and lack of value addition.
To tackle the challenge, he recommended partnership and investment to improve the contribution of fish to rural Nigeria. He added that World Fish Centre is spreading the message on Aquaculture through Technologies for African Agriculture Transformation (TAAT) and the African Development Bank under the Feed Africa Strategy in ten countries: Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Democratic Republic of Congo, Zambia, Tanzania, Cameroon, Burundi, Cote d’Ivoire and Republic of Benin. He also recommended Intensive Pond Receiving System (IPRS) which according to him will improve pond productivity through aeration of raceways within ponds and removing solid wastes. He said the advantage of the IPRS is: three times more fish, no exchange of water, easier fish health management and easier to sample, grade and harvest fish.
Welcoming participants, Chairman at the occasion and Dean, School of Agriculture and Agricultural Technology, Professor Taiwo Amos said “we need to speed up developments in the field of climate change adaptation. It is against this background that this conference is being organised. The Symposium is truly an interdisciplinary event, covering some of the key areas in the field of climate change adaptation. It is focusing on “climate change adaptation to address poverty and ensure sustainable livelihoods”
In his address, the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Joseph Fuwape represented by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, (Development), Professor Philip Oguntunde said Climate Change has become a major challenge in modern time. According to him, the Fifth Assessment Report (ARS) produced by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) provides an update of knowledge on the Scientific and Socio-economic aspects on Climate Change. He expressed optimism that the symposium’s climate change adaptation will further address the problem of poverty and ensure sustainable livelihoods.
Ondo State Governor, Arakunrin Rotimi Akeredolu, represented by the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Mr. Ifedayo Abegunde expressed his delight in the hosting right given FUTA as the first host in Africa. Akeredolu who spoke on the endemic nature of poverty in the land said ‘this forum is to address poverty, especially now that erosion is ravaging the society. If not addressed properly, farmers will be discouraged and famine will set in. For Nigeria to move to the next level, we should be able to feed ourselves and even export agricultural products to neighboring countries. Our farmers are at the mercy of climate change and I am glad this forum is proffering solution to this major global challenge’.
Speaking relatedly, the Regent of Ibulesoro, one of FUTA’s host communities, Princess Moyinoluwa Falowo said ‘Climate change is largely caused by human activities and can be resolved through human effort. Let this Conference proffer solution to be implemented as policies. When these policies are made, governments, organisations and individuals must be able to implement them”.
The Symposium, convened by the Director, WASCAL, Professor Kehinde Ogunjobi and Dr. Lydia Adeleke was a joint initiative of FUTA, the Research and Transfer Centre (Applications of Life Sciences) of the Hamburg University of Applied Sciences (Germany) in cooperation with the International Climate Change Information Programme (ICCIP), World Fish Centre and West African Science Centre for Climate Change and Adapted Land Use (WASCAL).