In light of the increasing threat of global climate change, experts are emphasizing the need for enhanced collaboration between private sector entities and media organizations to intensify advocacy efforts regarding its impact, particularly on food supply and nutritional implications.
Climate change has exhibited diverse manifestations over time, including extreme weather conditions such as high or low temperatures, droughts, floods, and desertification.
These phenomena have far-reaching effects on the environment, human health, and agricultural productivity, among other aspects.
During a webinar organized by the Lagos Business School Sustainability Centre in partnership with Nestle Nigeria on July 4th, 2023, environmental activist Olumide Emmanuel Idowu emphasized the vital role of media platforms in raising awareness about the impacts of climate change.
Olumide, who serves as the Executive Director of the International Climate Change Development Initiative Africa, highlighted the significance of food security in safeguarding the health and productivity of individuals.
He noted that climate change directly affects agricultural output and compromises the nutritional quality of food, ultimately disrupting the food supply chain and resulting in scarcity and elevated prices.
“Climate change has a significant impact on our food systems and, as a result, global food production. It affects the yield, biomass, food composition, and nutritional quality of crops, which directly affects the nutrition and health of people worldwide.”
Citing a Food and Agricultural Organisation’s 2020 publication, he added: “Climate change has the potential to greatly disturb the delicate balance of our food supply chains and transportation Systems.
The disruption can lead to unpredictable fluctuations in food prices, putting a strain on individuals and communities. Moreover, it can jeopardise the security and availability of nutritious food, ultimately impacting the well-being and health of people around the world.”
“Guaranteeing food security not only implies availability but safety by employing regulations that take into consideration different factors in the value chain and supply chain,” Idowu further emphasized.
According to the National Emergency Management Agency, extensive flooding during Nigeria’s rainy season in 2022 resulted in the destruction of over 676,000 hectares of farmland.
This widespread damage has led to reduced harvests and increased the risk of food insecurity for families throughout the country. The occurrence of flooding is a consequence of climate change and variability, which has significant impacts on Nigeria. Moreover, experts predict that more severe weather patterns will further threaten food security in the future.
Given the alarming nature of this global environmental issue, Idowu, popularly known as ‘Mr. Climate,’ advises that media professionals should possess a comprehensive understanding of climate change matters. They should be capable of effectively communicating the challenges faced by the masses affected by this crisis, thereby benefiting a wider audience.
“The media has a role to play in putting out word and content that enlightens the public on the effects of climate change on food value chains and nutrition,” Idowu said.
Idowu who emphasized the need for journalists to shift their focus from policy papers to advocacy in the context of climate change, encouraged them to share stories that highlight the local perspective, aiming to engage individuals in communities and help them comprehend the significance of climate change, its impact on their lives, and the actions they can take to protect the environment.
During a panel discussion in a webinar, Dr. Dolapo Kukoyi, the Thematic Lead for Climate Change at the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG), urged both government officials and private sector leaders to take the lead in developing and implementing proactive policies.
These policies should specifically address the consequences of climate change, particularly with regards to food security and nutrition.
“Policy and intervention play a key role in climate change solutions as it affects food security and nutrition. Our policies should be agile and proactive and not reactive. Our policies must identify the challenges, must be forward thinking and implementable,” Kukoyi stated.
She urged journalists to utilize their expertise in crafting impactful narratives that provide profound understanding to the public regarding climate change.
Additionally, she emphasized that such stories would effectively capture the interest of investors and policymakers, urging them to take essential measures in addressing this pressing issue.
The environmental specialist further highlighted the importance of collaboration between private sector-led organizations and the media to promote a more comprehensive discourse on climate change.
This collaboration is particularly crucial in disadvantaged communities in developing countries, which suffer from economic hardships and bear the brunt of the escalating environmental risks.
“The Private Sector and the media must collaborate to move the needle in climate change reporting. Broader partnerships are with NGOs and Development Institutions who have done a good job in pushing the climate change narrative” said Kukoyi.
Tuoyo Amouka, the Chief Growth Officer and Special Project Lead at Vanguard, noted the importance of innovative storytelling techniques for media professionals dedicated to reporting on climate change.
As the moderator of the panel session, Amouka highlighted the necessity for climate change stories to be based on factual information and focused on presenting solutions.
“We need to do a lot of advocacy and this is where the media comes in to help in pushing advocacy to forge policies that will help us rein in climate change effects on food security and nutrition,” Amouka said.
“Media content must be factual, engaging and must reach as many people as possible per time providing recommendations, solutions, and actions that should be taken,” he further said.