Tuesday. August 30. 20 11
Promoting community-based forest management BrTlnal\, Ha.u~n
N IGERIA, a cOWllry localed In the lroplu is bl~ with abun· danlland n':Sou rces with varyi ng topography. lus h vegetation I nd diverse foren resources. Studies ha\'e shown that forest reservcs occupy aboul 96, 043 1un2 or about 10 million hectares which is about t o percent of Nig"'a! landareaof~2J, 767 1u n 2_ Forest c:;l1Ie Is about 445 guetted forut resources dinrihuted over the five ecological zones namely Sudan Sahel in t.he Nurlhcast and the North-west rtalons. Guinea $annna In the NorthUlitraJ. Derh'ed Savanna ill the South-west, Lowland rain Fortst and the MangrovdFTC$h Water Swamp in the Niger JRha. The reserved forests ate made!' up o f 20. 7<1flunJ of high forest, 3,208km2 of derived $a\'UUla and n,089km l of ~vanna. Communities whhln those ecological zones derive their lI\'e1U10od (rom rue rich resources lbl t abou nd therein. For cnmr1e, the use ofLirnbe:r an d non-Umbe:r produc15 provide jobs 10 arilians. bulJde!'rs, wood can'!:TS. furnitun: makers, carpcn . teTS lIld tnn!porte!'rs alOte:. Non-timber products, fornt and trees pro\1de an appr«iable wurce of ediblc frulu and foods, fodder, mcdicineandcash income fOT mallY run! people. l.ocal hunters also derive the[r means oflivclihood from the w1ld animab in tht' adjoining bushe$ (or sale to 10ve1'5 o( bush meat. Fur many p~ple in Nigeria. the forest p~ys Ih role of a pharmacy
INIn', harful ac:dvtdes.
from which thq' obtaln plants patU for the trntment of variow :tilmenu. Eco no m ic produclS such u c• .n cJ~ttall usd for the productl op o fbukels, chairs, tables and other fUnlitw-e. raffia products for the production o( mats and ropes. wrapping leaves, che!'wil1g sticks
and honq' ace all sourced from the forest. In addition 10 thesc, Ihel'( atC abou t 28 game JeS('rves In .the country on a total land area 0('373, 928hmares. Nigeria isalso homeloovo- [50 Indigenous woods plwlS, from the varlow vegetation zones. which
h a\'e been Identlfled lU yielding edible products for m:tn and animals. The non-forest activities engaged in by both tIle locals and tourists Include handicrafts antI ce&tourism_ Altenlative forms of energy like coal, coal briqueue. kC!'1'Oscne., cookiog gas, solar energy. biogas need fwthet den:lopme!'nl as \ ;3ble potenllal energy sources thai can be: introduced to redu ce forest destruction. l11e provision of adequate gas for dumesLic uscs will go a long w.ay in mitigating the impact of deforestation as it will provide alternative!' sourcc o( cne!'rgy to the teeming population especially run! dwcllcn who will llnd cookIng gas con\'cnlcnt. cost effective and easy to use. States in the northern pan o f the countl)' (or example arc daily being ravaged by desert encroachment which rcsulu (rom Imlts· Criminate felling of u ees for energy supply. It is disheartening to note that while !.he!' forest resources provide means of llwllhood for hun· dreds o f thousands o( people, thc activities of some unscr upuloIU elements pose: presellt and dear danger to en\-iro nme!'ntal hcaltll. Integrity and Alcty of run.! COnlmWliti",r"Or Instance., bush bu rning by hunters could le.lld to thedcpletion of forest resources and poulble extinction of rue species of animals and planu which also upset the ecosystem. In the 5afT1e \'cln, ind[fC rlnupate fdling of trees by lumber and timber companies wi!hout
adequate meuurc:s put in place to restore and replenish the ecosystem Is also causing serious havoc nOI only to the,tnvironmenl but to !he lh'e1ihood of miUions o( pcople who solfly depend o n the resources from these (oresu. The (ortllt cstate from which wood and other forest products ate obtained hll5 bce.n subjected to scyere encroachme!'nI, vegetation degradation and de!'-rcserva· tion for agricultu~. roads, power Ir.uismlulon lines, dom le$tic fuel wood supplJes and urhan expan· silln. Forestland Is known to Ixwidell' used by local communitics for cultivating crops. grazing and for fuel wood gathering. as well as building material sourcing. Uncon trolled enooacbmcnt and dearing of rorestland will continue to occur until management plans ace put In place to punue thc objC'cti\-esofcommunlty-ba"d forest management Faithful Implemenllltion of these fOJat managemcnt stratcgies will ensure that the objectivc:s of swnainable production. protection and conservation an: bal;meed Il'ith the depcndOlce o( the local cornmunitles on rorC:St rC:SOUrccL This wilt also reduce the man hours spent by run.! dwcUersIn fire wood gath~;I1 g. DeforC:Station , which II pul al 3.5 percent per annum and translating into all av('~ge IOSJ/dcsmdation of 350.oooha or 400,oooha a fforest cover every year, is cau5C'd by the tJ:plo1t:ttlon oftlm~r, Tree felllllg alone is said to reduce ow land mHS by a ki lometer annually.
Imperatives of reviving the declining agriculture sector By llra I\. Ka!-al
PRIOR to th<: discover), of oU in the 1950's, ;t>griculture u~ to be Nlge!'ria's I!COIJomic malns ta)', c011lributing WOU I 90 percent of ()ross Domestic Pruduct(GDP) and through the multiplier effect. enlp10ying o\er 90 percent of the working population. From time immemorial agricul. tun.! development in Nigeria, has always been hampered by lack o( emdent and -.iable agro-proccuing and stol1l.ge fadlltles resuilLns In post· harve;t loss. Thc annu.J.! post-har"-C$t loss recorded by Nigerian (amlen constitme ~te!'r tltrea t to food SC'Cwit)', socio-econo mlc Ihing condJtiolu of the populace and by alension sustainable growth and devdopntC!'tlt of tlle economy e:sp«taU y in the faCC' of the globai financial crisi:. bedeviling national economies. This is wby stre!'ngthening tlle agricultural value dl:U.n becomes Inlperati\·c.. It is impor tan t to note that Ule Nigerian (anne r who r~lies on crude implereC!'tl!s to till the land,
thresh th e crops and SIOle ule!'m III improvised silQ5: bereft o( modem facUities is ltft to suffer further exploitation in the hands of exlortionist grain mcrt:hanlS as a result o( the absence: of a viable marketing institution that will guarantee the rarmcradcquak remuneration. Nlg!:riu economy whkh is w ld y dependent on o il ~\'enue nttds to divmify by transbtin g agrlcuhwal pottlltWs into realities for the attaiJmlent offood lecurity nl1d sustainable developmel1t in line widl Vision 2G-2020 and th e Transformation Agenda of the Fed· eral Govemme!'nt beausc the thm has come for the c:ntltrunmlel1t of I true!' agrariau rC\-olutlon. To (.IICC' the above-melltioned challenges squarely therefore. the lIew minister o( Agrlculturc and Rural Dcl·dopment. Dr. Aldnwumi Adcsina. bas the tukoftranslating tbe country, huge agricultural potentials Into rcalltles. Expectations are high and government call begin byC!'tlcouraglng local production and Itn:ngthening tl le value chain in order 10 make!' Nigeria sd(-sufficient and generate income and wealth for Its farming
population. 111CSC apKtations ste!'1II rmlll the!' apcricncc:s of both ministers as veterans in the sector who are now at the helm o f affal rs in the r-ed~ra1 Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Ik\'Clopme:l1L F~ain ing his vision, Dr. Adcsina explaiN lhat the presenl stalus quo where IlWldlts, aperts and polky makmi continue to harp on Nigeria's agr[cultural potentials is unacceptable, adding that it Wall high tim!: Nigeria and Nigerians rose to the occasion by translating those potentials Illto rcaliUes. Heopines th al hiscomll1gto the ministry was nut 10 serve any sel(ish , polltic:al or buslncss in terests but to sen '!: tlle Nigerian rarmer through the provisioll ofincc:ntivc:s 10 I1I.pidly raise agricultural producUvlty, impf'O\'e incomes of fanners. create Jobs and 1eC\Ue!' food supply (or global compdill\'Cness. Going down memory bne. the!' minister rccaIls with dismay tilC gloriOUS period when Nigeria aCCOWlted for 60 pt'tCc:nt orthe globa1, upply o f palm oU, 30 percent of groundnut oil and IS percenl of global supply or cocoa but has now
(cgrettably become a consumer naUon with a total fuud Imporl bUi Ix-lWeen 2007-20 10 amounling to N98 trUl Ion Naira o r $628 billion. Dr_ Adesi na also adds th at In 2010 alone. Nigeria spent N635 billion o n Import o r wheat. N3S6 billion 011 importation of rice, an nerage of N 1 billion per day on rice alone. N2 17 bUlion o n Sugar and with all !.he marine resources. rivers, lakes and creeb in the country, Nige ria spends a whopping sum of N97 billion on fis h Impo rts. To address the inlbalance In food supply and bridgc the!' gap In the value chai n therdorl', he wged aU hands 10 be on deck 10 cnsure the sucuss o( the Transformation Agenda fo r a t rue agrlcultunl re'\'Olutlon in Nigc:riL Cyril Nwanu:, I.FAD's Director Gc:neral 1itresscd that promotiog r ural agrlbusinenes can drive econom ic growth; prOVide a carur opportunity for Nlge ria's you th and cfC.II te a pathway o ut of pover ty for the 14.5 million Nige ri an farmers. Without business opponun[li cs in rural arcu,
),oung people will be driven 10 the cit ies in search o( work. If all the yo ung and able-bodied troop to the cities, then who will fel'd the nation In 2020 I nd guaranlec: food .secwityl An effective wly of engagIng the private s«tor In runi de\·t!opment is th rough public. p rivate pattlle:rships_ local and natio nal governments can e rn.le the right polley environment to allow agribus inesses and IgroInd ustries to de\'t!op and nour· Ish. If the public sector provides support for rural infrastructure!', ror example. or for lechnical advisory an d o ther ex tension serviccs. lllis makes the!' sector I Ie!'ss r isk)' Investment ch oice for the p rll"lte secto r and the refore a much more' atlracth'e busl nc:" opportunity_ Agrlculturalln\'cstmenl abo needs to be: plln ned In I way tha t [s coherent with overall national s t ~tegies for economic development and poverty reduc tion . The IFAD boss who is a Nlger[an said M deciarations, commitments and speeches are!' not e!'nough, they must be matched with Iction•.-