Nigeria, 14 ECOWAS states to benefit from $8m forest protection project
Abuja, April 9, 2019 The FAO announced on Tuesday that Nigeria and 14 other ECOWAS members are to benefit from an eight-million-dollar five-year forest protection project.
The world body said that three agencies, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), FAO and ECOWAS had joined forces to protect West Africa’s forests to help safeguard the livelihoods of millions of people, depending on them.
In a document reviewed by the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja, the organisation named Nigeria, Togo, Burkina Faso, Niger, Mali, Sierra Leone, Ghana and other ECOWAS states as the beneficiaries of the planned support programme.
It said the three institutions would carry out project, aimed at strengthening sustainable forest and land management.
They would also address trans-boundary forest threats to maximize the livelihoods of forest-dependent communities.
Tiina Vahanen, FAO’s Chief of Forestry Policy and Resources Division, said the project would be key to the rolling out of the ECOWAS-led Convergence Plan for the Sustainable Management and Use of Forest Ecosystems in West Africa.
“The ECOWAS-led Convergence Plan was adopted in 2013 by ECOWAS. It seeks to mobilise support to address trans-boundary forest issues across the 15 member states.
He described the project as a concrete step towards improving the forest management in the region that would build on the momentum created in recent years to safeguard West Africa’s forests.
Mr Ulla Andrén, Sida’s Head of Regional Development Cooperation in sub-Saharan Africa, said the project to be implemented by ECOWAS would be financed by Sida with over eight million dollars while the FAO would give technical support.
He described the project as not only important for the people and governments of the region but also crucial for the global effort to stop climate change and loss of bio-diversity.
Andrén expressed the pleasure of his organisation to be partners with ECOWAS and FAO on trans-boundary forest management in West Africa.
Johnson Boanuh, ECOWAS Commission’s Environment Director, noted that West Africa’s forests and wetlands were an important source of livelihood for millions of people.
He pointed out that about 72 million hectares were under treat.
According to him, the forests and wetlands are also home to a wide range of vulnerable endemic animal species and more than 200 plant species.
“They are exceedingly affected by deforestation and degradation caused by various drivers, including unsustainable agricultural expansion and illegal logging.
“These are often exacerbated by trans-boundary issues such as trade between regions or within a region, which require strengthened forest governance and capacity at a regional level.
“The loss of forest cover in West Africa was four times higher between 1990 to 2015 than at the global level,’’ he said.
ECOWAS Director said the project would develop a regional knowledge portal to improve access to data and share information on best forest management practices.
“It will also provide legal recommendations and guidelines on forest management, support community groups to implement sustainable forest and land management and build global capacity.
“The project will also support the implementation of other national and international commitments of West African countries, such as the Nationally Determined Contributions under the Paris Climate Agreement and Sustainable Development Goals,’’ he said.
Beans price crashes in Katsina markets
A survey conducted by NAN on Thursday in Katsina metropolis showed that before of the arrival of the newly harvested beans, a 100kg bag of beans was sold for N24, 000 and now sells for N8, 000.
The survey, which covered the Old Township Market, Central Market, Kofar and Marusa Markets, showed that the newly harvested beans are species of the commodity that mature in only 40 days for harvesting.
According to the survey, several residents of the town have opted to buy the fresh beans because they came fresh from the farms.
Some Katsina residents told NAN that they preferred to eat the new beans to avoid being victims of bean poisoning.
They alleged that some beans traders used poisonous chemicals before storing the commodity.
A beans trader, Malam Garba Lawal told NAN that the sharp drop in price of beans had affected their business.
“The drop has affected us because we cannot sell our old stock at the old price and we have lost a lot of money as a result.’’
A consumer, Malam Ahmad Musa said that the reduction in the price of beans “is a blessing to the common man, who is financially handicap’’.
The Vice Chairman, Katsina Grains Sellers Association, Alhaji Musa Isah said the arrival of the new beans had brought relief to the common man.
Isah said that the newly harvested beans could not be stored but must be sold quickly “because they are too fragile to be kept’’.
Edited by Grace Yussuf
We can achieve reliable database for farmers in Delta – former AFAN Chairman
Mr Jerry Ossai, former Delta Chairman, All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) says the association will build a reliable database for famers in the State by December.
Ossai, who is currently the Senior Special Assistant to Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa on Agriculture Matters said only reliable data of all the farmers in the state, could help government make informed decision concerning the sector.
He said that the farmers’ census could be made easier with the collaboration of the state Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources (MANR).
Ossai said that he raised the issue on reliable database when members of AFAN paid a visit to the Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Mr Julius Egbedi, adding that reliable data was necessary for planning.
“AFAN had an audience with the commissioner for agriculture and I raised the issue on the need for a reliable database of all the farmers to help government make informed decisions.
“With a proper data base of all farmers in the state, there will be reliable information of who is producing what and where, which will help government to have knowledge on who to provide for, what and where in relations to financial assistance to farmers.
“To achieve this, AFAN and MANR will collaborate to compile one database and all commodity groups are to draw their lists while extension officers and local government agric officers will work on non-group farmers.
“With this, we can have a database for farmers in the state by end of the year,” Ossai said.
NEMA distributes 286 trucks of fertiliser to farmers in Benue – Official
Mr Eugene Nyelong, the Zonal Coordinator, North Central Zone, NEMA told the newsmen in Makurdi on Thursday that over 23, 000 farmers had benefited from the ongoing Federal Government Agricultural Intervention Programme in the state so far.
He said that all the enumerated farmers from the 23 local governments in the state would benefit from the fertiliser distribution.
According to him, 105 trucks of fertilisers are ready for direct distribution to the beneficiaries.
“We got over 23,000 farmers from the exercise and distributed farm inputs to them and their farms are doing very well.
“Now is the distribution of fertilisers, Benue is to receive a total of 286 trucks of fertilisers in all, but for now we have received 105 trucks that are ready for distribution.”
Nyelong said that each truck of fertilisers consist of 600 bags.
He commended the state government and SEMA for their collaboration in terms of human capacity, provision of vehicles and public enlightenment.
He said that the state needed proper coordination of affected farmers from the local communities for effective intervention.
He said many farmers in Benue on several occasions commended NEMA and the Federal Government for being diligent in reaching out directly to them without short changing them.
Agriculturist calls for improved infrastructure to attract youths
An agriculturist, Mr Tosin Babajide, says that there is an urgent need to improve road infrastructure so as to attract youths into farming.
He said that the majority of farmers across the country were old and the youth had to play a role in the development of agriculture, without which, no nation would survive.
“Currently, we are talking about the issue of the increasing population globally and Nigeria is in the spotlight with a projected growth of over 440 million people in 2050.
“The Federal Government has made agriculture a priority sector and a lot of attention is on the sector but we need to get youth into the system.
“What we have now are old men and women who have been in the farming business all their lives.
“If we must get the youths to be attracted to the business of farming, then we must put certain things right and in place for them to see,’’ he said.
Babajide, who is also an oil palm farmer, said that modern machines at subsidized rates and available for leasing should be made available to farmers to ease methods of farming.
(Editing by peter Ejiofor)
Expert warns of looming scarcity of honey in Nigeria
Dr Yusuf Madaki, Director, Animal Health, Yobe Livestock Development Programme, has warned that unregulated use of agro-chemicals was threatenening the existence of bees and honey production in Nigeria.
He said that Nigeria’s ecosystem had suffered grossly from unregulated use of agro-chemicals on farms with health implications on humans, animals and plants.
“Unfortunately, in spite of earlier warnings by concerned persons, there has been little or no effort to stem the tide of the abuse in usage of the chemicals,” Madaki lamented.
The director said that there was gross reduction in honey production across the country as “the bees are facing extinction by the activities of farmers”.
“Bee farming and honey production is becoming unattractive and unprofitable in the country.
“I am afraid the scarcity of honey will continue to be on the increase and the product will always be adulterated,” Madaki said.
He advised government at all levels to take stringent measures against flagrant abuse of agro-chemicals by crop farmers.
Edited by Razak Owolabi and Ephraims Sheyin