EN­VI­RON­MENT An­other look at the Great Green Wall project

Daily Trust - - ENVIRONMENT - By Alex Abutu & Chidimma C. Okeke

(Con­tin­ued from last week)

Adamawa:

Was able to pro­cure a to­tal of 87,000 seedlings un­der the phase one of the project. Though the seedlings suf­fered the same fate of lack of wa­ter and pro­tec­tion as wit­nessed in other par­tic­i­pat­ing states, Adamawa was on record to have planted the largest of shel­ter bel­ter of 48.5 hectares un­der the project.

The state also trained nine for­est guards and en­gaged 87 youths in the project.

Yobe:

Is one of the states fac­ing se­cu­rity chal­lenges in the North-east and, as a re­sult, the pace of the GGW project was af­fected. But in spite of that the state was able to plant 37 kilo­me­tres of shel­ter belt af­ter procur­ing 340,750 seedlings from pri­vate nurs­eries within the state.

Over 400 youths were en­gaged in the project and that ac­counted for why, ac­cord­ing to of­fi­cials from the state, the state per­formed bet­ter in the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the project.

Kebbi:

Planted 416,625 seedlings us­ing 42 kilo­me­tres but most of the seedlings suf­fered some set of set­back due to the ab­sence of wa­ter and fenc­ing to pro­tect them from an­i­mals’ in­va­sion.

The story in all the re­main­ing par­tic­i­pat­ing states is the same as the phase one of the project did not an­tic­i­pate the early stop­page of rain. So, the 2,871,415 seedlings for forestry and or­chards planted on 167 kilo­me­tres of shel­ter­belt, 113.5ha or­chard plan­ta­tions and 53ha wood­lot es­tab­lished in 2013 would need to be re­planted.

Com­mu­nity views:

The people of the com­mu­ni­ties where the GGW was sited said the ben­e­fit that will come from the project is en­cour­ag­ing and that is why they ac­cepted the pro­gramme.

Adamu Ab­dul­lahi the ward head of Kadan­danni in Makoda, said he be­lieved that if the plants grow, the ben­e­fit will be enor­mous be­cause they will bear fruits that they can sell and use the in­come to im­prove their stan­dards of liv­ing.

“Since the com­mis­sion­ing of the GGW project which I par­tic­i­pated in plant­ing, I am al­ways tak­ing care of it but my chal­lenge now is that most of the plants are dead be­cause of lack of wa­ter, ter­mites at­tacks and we are yet to re­ceive the chem­i­cals promised us by the govern­ment,” he said

He added that there is need to also fence the place so that they can shield the plants from an­i­mals that are eat­ing up the plants, plead­ing that the dead plants should be re­placed.

Kabiru Isah of Tona in Dam­batta, said he be­lieved that the ben­e­fit from the project will be more than all the ben­e­fits that he has got from his farm­ing ac­tiv­i­ties.

Ab­dul­lahi Us­man of Gat­sika in Makoda and Al­has­san Yaya of Gwaleda, and Ab­dul­lahi of Kadan­danni pleaded for the re­plant­ing of the dead seedlings and the pro­vi­sion of the nec­es­sary fa­cil­i­ties that will en­hance the project and make it a re­al­ity.

Way For­ward:

Dr Bukka Has­san, Di­rec­tor Drought and De­ser­ti­fi­ca­tion at the Federal Min­istry of En­vi­ron­ment and the Head of the GGW Project Im­ple­men­ta­tion Team, said that the team has learnt a lot from what hap­pened in 2013 and was pre­pared to fore­stall the re­oc­cur­rence of such in the fu­ture.

He said: “We have been able to iden­tify what the chal­lenges are and we are work­ing se­ri­ously to en­sure that we do not en­counter them again.”

He called on state gov­ern­ments to play ac­tive role in the project rather than look at it as a federal project.

“The project has com­po­nents that would trans­form the ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties and it is an op­por­tu­nity for the par­tic­i­pat­ing states to key in and play the roles ex­pected of them,” he added.

Min­is­ter of En­vi­ron­ment, Mrs Lawren­tia Mal­lam, in a re­cent meet­ing with Com­mis­sion­ers of En­vi­ron­ment from the par­tic­i­pat­ing states, urged the states to be fully in­volved in the im­ple­men­ta­tion to en­sure that it suc­ceeded.

She said that based on the 2014 work plan, the project would wit­ness cor­ri­dor map­ping, base­line and En­vi­ron­men­tal Im­pact As­sess­ment stud­ies, up­grad­ing of Af­foresta­tion Pro­gramme Co­or­di­nat­ing Unit (APCU) as ca­pac­ity build­ing In­sti­tu­tion and the pro­vi­sion of sup­port to com­mu­ni­ties to raise over 5,555,000 seedlings re­quired for 2014 plant­ing.

She also said that the project would pro­cure of 60 per cent (8,320,500) seedlings for 2014 plant­ing from the pri­vate sec­tor in the par­tic­i­pat­ing states.

Other ac­tiv­i­ties lined up for im­ple­men­ta­tion in 2014, ac­cord­ing to the min­is­ter, in­clude: Farm­ers’ Man­aged Nat­u­ral Re­gen­er­a­tion - a strat­egy to en­cour­age lo­cal farm­ers to pro­tect and con­serve the trees and shrubs nat­u­rally grow­ing on their farms, pro­vi­sion of 92 so­lar/wind pow­ered bore­holes in 46 com­mu­ni­ties and plant­ing of 12,500ha of shel­ter­belt.

Es­tab­lish­ment of 800ha of Graz­ing Re­serve in Sokoto, Kebbi, Kano and Ji­gawa states, sta­bil­i­sa­tion of 180ha of sand dunes in Borno, Yobe, Ji­gawa, Sokoto and Kebbi states, pro­mo­tion of liveli­hoods like veg­etable gar­dens, or­chards and train­ing of 2,200 youths in var­i­ous skills and trades to re­duce de­pen­dency of the frag­ile lands as well as the pro­vi­sion of 860 im­proved wood stoves, 430,000 kerosene stoves and 215,000 so­lar stoves.

States are to pro­vide re­quired land for the pro­gramme ac­tiv­i­ties and pay land com­pen­sa­tion, where it is re­quired, as well as carry out sen­si­ti­sa­tion and aware­ness pro­grammes to get the par­tic­i­pat­ing com­mu­ni­ties fully en­gaged.

States are also ex­pected to fund through reg­u­lar bud­getary al­lo­ca­tions and shares of the eco­log­i­cal funds as well as har­mon­is­ing state ac­tiv­i­ties with the GGW.

Proper and care­ful im­ple­men­ta­tion of the project would en­sure that de­graded lands in the par­tic­i­pat­ing states would be re­ha­bil­i­tated, food se­cu­rity en­hanced and knowl­edge base of the en­vi­ron­ment and nat­u­ral re­sources man­age­ment im­proved.

Em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties would also be cre­ated and poverty re­duced as mem­ber of the par­tic­i­pat­ing com­mu­ni­ties would have their sources of liveli­hoods en­hance, forced mi­gra­tion and re­source con­flicts min­imised and, above all, the im­pact of cli­mate change on Nigeria would be re­duced.

PHOTO: CHIDIMMA C. OKEKE

Ab­dul­lahi Us­man of Gat­sika in Makoda walk­ing round the farm to check for any sur­vived plant at the site.

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