By Lola Seriki-Idahosa, Kaduna, Trace Reporters –Determine to check desert encroachment through afforestation programmes, OXFAM in collaboration with the Development Exchange Centre (DEC) under a European Union-funded project called “Produce and Sell” (PROSELL) has distributed 900,000 seedlings to 40,000 farmers in six focal local government areas of Taraba State.
This development is important in this part of the country as it will protect the environment from harsh climatic conditions in addition to giving the benefitting households food and cash crops especially now that the World’s attention is on a safe environment and food security.
The thinking is that, for every one tree cut down, four additional trees should be planted as a replacement to save households. Available facts showed that 50 percent of these 40,000 beneficiaries are women, 30 percent youths and 20 percent men. At the end of the day, each household gets a minimum of 22 trees.
The implementing partners had earlier called on the government of Taraba State, Northeast Nigeria, to adopt the UN decade (2021-2030) on ecosystem restoration as a deliberate effort towards food security.
Flagging off the exercise at the weekend, Commissioner, Ministry of Environment, Taraba State, Lawal Ibrahim assured the partners that the beneficiaries would nurture the trees very well to their advantage and that of the state.
“The beneficiaries should nurture the trees very well. We in the ministry of environment will always call on people benefitting from such trees not to destroy them.
“We urge the partners to continue the project in other local governments. We thank God and we also thank the State Governor, the benefitting local government Chairmen and the PROSELL for this good development”, he added.
A beneficiary and a Private Nursery Owner from Kurmi LG, Prince Jonah, thanked the partners for the initiative saying “as far as Taraba State and its environment is concerned, they have done so much for us”.
“Our trees are being fell indiscriminately and their coming to help us replant these trees is fantastic because trees are important to both man and environment.
“The negative effect of indiscriminate falling of trees has been seen globally which was why these people are partnering with us on this tree planting exercise so we can have a favourable environment”, he noted.
Another beneficiary simply identified as Mrs Nathaniel told journalists that “I have learnt a lot. I now know that trees are assets to us. The trees that I have collected here, I will plant. I will nurture them I will train my children to know how medicinal trees are to us.
A media brief compiled by Governance and Influencing Coordinator, OXFAM – PROSELL Project, Daniel M. Abah, noted that the activity was a build-up to the PROSELL commemoration of the 2021 World Environment Day; sequel to key recommendation/ action point and advocacy for the Taraba State Government to declaring a State Tree Planting Day, whereby Tarabians can grow additional trees yearly and by so doing citizens would breathe in more clean air, reduce greenhouse gas emissions for farmers as well as protect the environment from destructive erosion and ensure food security.
“Climate change issues are a global phenomenon that continues to threaten our environment making arable lands less available for agricultural purposes.
“In the 2019 seasonal rainfall prediction, the Nigeria Meteorological Agency (NiMet) reported another hot year in focus. For 2021, the trend is similar to erratic rainfall patterns. It is important to note that 2018 was hotter than the preceding year; the trend is clearer for all to see” he said.
PROSELL project is a 54 months food security and resilience project funded by the European Union (EU), managed by Oxfam in Nigeria and implemented in partnership with DEC in 80 communities in six benefiting local governments in Taraba State which include Zing, Ardo-Kola, Takum, Donga, Wukari and Kurmi.
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