Desertification has been described as one of the major causes of the perennial flooding in some Northern states which lead to loss of farmlands and crops.
It also causes sand dunes to occupy productive land resulting in high cost of food items such as maize, yams, beans, millet, sorghum, potatoes, tomatoes and pepper grown in Northern Nigeria.
This assertion was contained in a lead paper presentation by Professor Olanrewaju Fagbohun entitled, "Climate change and desertification: Threat to food security in Nigeria, " during the international climate change and desertification summit held recently at Usmanu Danfodio University, Sokoto.
Prof. Faghohun further stated that the high cost of cattle is also the fallout of desertification which has led to mass extinction of cattle heads denied grazing lands, adding that desertification also diminishes biological diversity.
"Climate change will also affect the ability of individuals to use food effectively by altering the conditions for food safety.
The IPCC in its Fourth Assessment Report stated that the various forms of diseases including vector-borne diseases such as malaria are likely to spread or recede with climate change.
The result can be a substantial decline in labour productivity and an increase in poverty and even mortality."
Proffering solutions, the university scholar said, " soil is a key organic matter which improves and stabilises soil structure so that the soil can absorb higher amounts of water without causing surface run off.
Soil organic matter also improves the water absorption capacity for soil during extended drought.
Low tillage and maintenance of permanent soil cover can increase soil organic matter and reduce impacts of flooding, erosion, drought, heavy rain and winds.
This is possible with conservation agriculture, organic agriculture and risk cropping production system that incorporate crop rotation, agro forestry, crop livestock associations, crop fish systems and the use of hedges, vegetative buffer strips and other farm landscaping practices."
The professor further advised that techniques for combating desertification should also focus on fixating the soil which is often done through the use of shelter belts, wood lots, wind breaks and tillage to enrich the soil and restore its fertility.