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How Nigeria can curb food insecurity with clean energy

US makes almost $1trn clean energy subsidies available to investors

Nigeria can leverage clean energy technologies to produce and preserve agricultural produce thereby reining in food prices causing hunger and malnutrition, experts say.

According to the World Bank, the food security challenge will become more difficult, as the world will need to produce about 70 percent more food by 2050 to feed an estimated 9 billion people.

Collins Obi, an energy specialist said that the ongoing war in Ukraine on the back of the embargo on Russian oil and gas by the west is a key reason for the surging food and energy prices across the globe.

He said that the green revolution is critical for food security and increasing the tide of food inflation locally, and poor storage facilities and lack of storage infrastructure result in significant food losses post-harvest.

Energizing agriculture through clean energy solutions can provide a practical solution to this, just like the Rural Electrification Agency REA through the support of partners like the Rockefeller Foundation and Rocky Mountain Institute RMI are spearheading this initiative, Obi noted.

Read also: 10 years after, SA renewable energy growth outpaces Nigeria’s

Arable lands in Nigeria are in rural locations with no grid supply thus exploring the deployment of decentralized energy sources to power farmlands and storage facilities will indeed revolutionize agriculture in the country and make Nigeria a net exporter of food, Obi said.

However, this is because farmers can generate and use clean energy in their farmlands.
Also, produce from the farm can be stored in solar-powered storage facilities and cold rooms thus eliminating the cyclic availability of farm produce, reducing wastage and improving availability in the market all season, eliminating inflation, Obi explained.

Precious Bernadette Esogbue, junior research analyst, Clean Technology Hub said that the increased adoption of climate-smart agriculture (CSA) intervention can reduce the hike in food prices in Nigeria, producing more and better food to improve nutrition security and boost incomes.
CSA is an integrated approach to managing landscapes – cropland, livestock, forests and fisheries that address the interlinked challenges of food security and climate change, according to a statement by the World Bank.

Agriculture is a major part of the climate problem. It currently generates 19 to 29 percent of total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, as revealed by a statement by the World Bank.

The statement noted that, without action, the percentage could rise substantially as other sectors reduce their emissions.
Additionally, 1/3 of food produced globally is either lost or wasted. Addressing food loss and waste is critical to helping meet climate goals and reduce stress on the environment, the statement explained.

According to Obi, the green revolution comes with energy efficiency technologies that enable familiar agricultural equipment to be redesigned and made energy-efficient while being powered by cleaner energy sources.
He explained that “more value can be gotten from the deployment of these tools to the farm using less energy. This in essence will improve the margin retained by farmers and incentivize more food production given reduced energy costs.

“Where local manufacturing industries and haulage industry transit from reliance on diesel to cleaner energy sources like gas and solar, electric and gas-fired trucks, it will enable energy cost saving in the long run and ensure stable and security of energy supply thus smoothing out the food inflation curve,” Obi said.

In addition, if industries are using less diesel, it reduces their cost of production because they are now relying on clean energy.

Also, once the operational cost is reduced, other costs in the market for food preservation and transportation will be reduced as well. In this manner, inflation can be managed, the energy specialist said.