The World Bank has expressed hope in the restoration of one million hectares of agricultural lands degraded by desert encroachment, abandoned mining sites and illegal mining ponds in northern Nigeria.
The bank said that with the support of the federal government, as well as governors of the 19 northern states, those degraded lands could be reclaimed and restored within the next six years for the improvement of agriculture activities in the geo-political zones.
The national coordinator of Agro-climatic Resilience in Semi-arid Landscape (ACReSAL), Abdulhameed Umar, gave the assurance in his opening remarks at the two-day workshop for 19 northern state coordinators of ACReSAL held yesterday at Crespan Hotel, Rayfield, Jos, Plateau State.
Umar said, “The northern part of Nigeria is faced with continuous environmental degradation like desert encroachment, erosion, mining etc, leading to migration of farmers and herders from the region.
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“There are 11 frontline states of northern Nigeria where desert encroachment is very severe. The landscapes in these states are steadily degrading, coupled with degradation resulting from mining activities in Plateau, Nasarawa, Zamfara etc.
“This intervention from the World Bank is a deliberate intention to seek ways to halt this degradation and restore the land for improved farming and agricultural activities in the affected states so as to improve conditions of living of the people
“The strategy is to devise resilience methods to these climatic conditions that are promoting this environmental degradation to be able to sustain the mainstay of the economy of northern Nigeria, using methods that are peculiar to the affected communities.
“We have over 250 participants in this capacity-building session for managers and implementers of the ACReSAL project across northern Nigeria on issues of landscape restoration for agricultural purposes.”
Earlier, the Plateau State coordinator of the ACReSAL, Garuba Gowon, said the project was meant to draw technical support to communities to be more resilient to the unfavourable climatic condition in their various states.
“At the end of the project, the region is expected to achieve environmental and food security,’’ he said.
ACReSAL is a six-year land restoration project of the World Bank.