Powering Economic Growth in Northern Nigeria
Rice paddies contribute about 15-20% of total global anthropological methane emissions, and overall rice farming accounts for around 2.5% of all global human-induced GHG emissions, making its climate footprint comparable to that of international aviation. Rice farming causes twice as many emissions as wheat and this is set to grow in Nigeria with increasing consumption and production of paddy rice.
Rice is also a popular crop in Nigeria, but production fails to keep pace with local demand, however, rice is experiencing a growth of more than 8 percent in demand. At the same time, smallholder farmers are finding it increasingly difficult to increase yields and to produce large volumes of quality paddy for the growing number of millers.
Systems of Rice Intensification (SRI) is a climate-smart practice that increases the productivity of rice and reduces methane emissions (by between 22% and 64%). SRI uses a cultivation system of alternate wetting and drying that creates aerobic soil conditions that reduce the production of methane. As the summary of benefits produced by Cornell University, USA explains, it uses fewer seeds, and up to 30-50% less water, whilst potentially increasing yields by between 20%-50% (sometimes over 100%). As such it can potentially increase farmer incomes whilst reducing GHG emissions.
The LINKS – Catalyzing Economic Growth for Northern Nigeria is a program funded by UKAID through the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office. Under the climate-smart agriculture theme of the project, the investment seeks to introduce SRI cultivation techniques into Northern Nigeria through the concept of “SRI Climate-Smart Villages” to pilot the development and adoption of SRI technologies. A farmer field school approach will be adopted with each demo site serving as a training point for other farmers.
The actual tangible results of the investment are increased yield and incomes, reduction in GHG emissions, job creation, and the empirical evidence created that can help drive scale-up and much larger results in the future (demonstrated evidence of benefits gained in the improvement of soil quality). Increased resilience among adopters is also envisaged.