ENVIRONMENT Another look at the Great Green Wall project
(Continued from last week)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Abdullahi Usman of Gatsika in Makoda walking round the farm to check for any survived plant at the site.