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Published On: Mon, Dec 18th, 2017

IFAD to plant 49km of green shelter belt in 7 northern states

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From Lawal Sa’idu Funtua Katsina

The International Fund for Agricultural Development, IFAD, is to plant fifty kilometers of shelter belt across the seven Sahel states of Nigeria worst hit by the effects of deforestation and climate change.
The tree shelter plantation is part of the Climate Change Adaptation and Agri-Business Support Programme, CASP, currently ongoing in Katsina, Sokoto, Kebbi, Zamfara, Jigawa, Borno and Tone states.
Speaking at a supervision mission to review one year of the project implementation, held at the National Programme Support Office in Katsina, the National Programme Coordinator of CASP, Dr. Muhammad-Lawal Idah explained that seven kilometers of shelter belt will be planted in each participating state, to halt the encroachment of the desert which travels into Nigeria at the speed of about one kilometer every year.
He noted the programme implementation also includes the plantation of woodlots in and around each farm. He said these will be grown for domestic and industrial consumption to discourage the felling of trees in the forest.
The national programme coordinator said the project partners NIMET which provides information on rainfall patterns in each state, as a guide to farmers and agric extension service providers.
Meanwhile, the IFAD Country Officer, Dr. Ben Odemeno, said the Climate Change Adaptation and Agri-Business Support Programme, CASP, targets the rural poor and will link up farmers with commodity development associations and financial service providers to facilitate commercial agriculture in the participating states.
He said “this programme is going to be implemented by the beneficiaries themselves who are the rural poor. The essence is to ensure that the communities themselves identify what they want to do that will be able to leverage resources for themselves and reduce their poverty”.
The representative of the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr. Auta Ape, observed that for years, climate change has driven many farmers in the Sahel belt of Nigeria out of business.
Mr. Auta Ape, who is the minister’s Special Adviser on International Donor Agencies, said the ministry of Agriculture will continue to support the implementation of CASP and other similar program that promote food security and agri-business.
He said “part of our objectives is to ensure sustainability in the implementation of CASP by setting the farmers on a sound footing, because Nigeria the desert is encroaching on Nigeria by about twelve miles every year’ and the effects are worst felt by our farmers”.
The Climate Change Adaptation and Agri-business Support program is being implemented in Katsina, Sokoto, Zamfara, Kebbi, Jigawa, Borno and Yobe, and it has an implementation period of six years.
It is a ninety-three million dollar program financed by IFAD, which is a UN agency. It is also co-funded by the federal government, participating state governments and ASAP grant.
The programme focuses on providing support and extension services to farmers to adapt their farming practices to the changing climate in their areas.
It also links up farmers with other players in the production, processing and sales value-chain of staple foods, and encourages them to multiply their yields in commercial scale for agri-business.

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