Charity Simon, Abuja
One third of the World’s population is said to be living in drylands, facing huge stress such as repetitive droughts and poor soil fertility which is further worsened by climate change.
This was disclosed by the Director General, National Agency for the Great Green Wall (NAGGW), Mr. Goni Ahmed during a presentation at the technical session of the 10th National Council on Environment ongoing in Lafia, Nasarawa State.
A statement signed by Head, Press and Public Relations Unit of the agency, Larai Daze, said the DG, who spoke on the topic “Reviving the Sahara and Sahel to regenerate livelihood”, said that Drylands in the sub-Saharan Africa cover about 14 million sq km and is habitat to about 70% of crop land and 82% of livestock holders and productivity in these areas are seriously challenged by natural and human factors.
In recognition of the land degradation as a global phenomena, and the limited success of past efforts, the DG said the GGW initiative was presented by the Nigerian Government to the African Union as a holistic regional approach to combat desertification and improve livelihood of affected communities, this initiative led to the signing of the convention on GGW eleven member countries and the creation of Pan African Agency of Great Green Wall (PAGGW) and adopted by the African Union (AU).
He further said, in Nigeria, drylands constitute about 43% of it’s total land area covering eleven (11) states which is directly threatened by land degradation causing serious food insecurity, abject poverty, forced migration and natural resource use conflicts resulting to insurgency in some areas. he further said most of the population are dependent on natural and land resources based economy for their livelihoods with over 80% of the nation’s vegetables and livestock produced in the area, stressing that this unique economic hub deserves priority attention by all tiers of government and citizenry.
The DG said the National Agency for the Great Green Wall, which was established by an Act of the National Assembly has embarked on activities in realization of the mandate of the Great Green Wall programme such as; Establishment of shelterbelt/winbreak and woodlot plantations, promotion of agro-forestry and renewable energy, Farmers Managed Natural Regeneration, promotion of human livelihood activities, provision of water and rural infrastructure, skill acquisitions and employment generation, support drylands research effort, school outreach programmes, sand dune stabilization, oases development among others.
He urged the state Government of the affected states to make financial contributions through budgetary allocation as well as provide land and community mobilization to support the programme.