Mr. Isah Sadiq, Deputy Director of the Forestry and Land Management Department of the National Agency for Great Green Wall (NAGGW), told reporters this during the field investment assessment in Katsina State.
Sadiq said the essence of the visit was to showcase the achievements made so far in combating land degradation and other environmental challenges in the state.
“Establishing the shelterbelt will help prevent desert encroachment, serve as windbreaks for trees, and reduce soil erosion.
“The effort will also provide housing for wildlife and produce healthy crops.
“When you establish a protection belt, it will help the crops grow healthy and produce good fruit as well,” he said.
Sadiq said that Nigeria was one of the pioneer countries of the GGW initiative due to the challenges of land degradation, desertification and drought, adding that there were 11 frontline states.
He said the agency was established to prevent or reverse the degradation of ecosystems while improving the living conditions of affected communities through the provision of ecosystem services.
He said the agency made sure the trees were planted during the rainy season between June and August to allow the trees to survive and look healthy.
“Meanwhile, we have already built wells for the communities, once the rainy season comes, the workers will use the wells to water the trees so they continue to grow well.
“We plant gardens for the communities; the trees are mainly for economic purposes where people can sell the fruits and use the money to support their families,” she said.
The director said that NAGGW has always created a strong awareness in communities about the importance of conserving trees for sustainability.
He said the agency planted more than 1,000 trees in the state in 2021 and was committed to ensuring degradation in affected communities was prevented.
He said the agency would continue to plant more trees to ensure land degradation, forestation and other environmental challenges are effectively addressed in the state.
Ms. Habiba Ibrahim, Deputy Director, Field Office Coordinator for the organization, said the agency’s plan was to engage with communities to educate them on the importance of environmental protection.
“Engaging with the people will enhance the activities we are doing and help the agency achieve its mandates and goals.
“My advice to communities is to take what belongs to them so that it reduces poverty and hardship in the community and reclaims lost land.
“I urge community leaders to encourage people on the importance of reversing tree degradation and avoiding activities that could lead to land destruction,” he said.
State field officer Mr. Tahir Ibrahim said the agency had committed to training most communities in various skills and equipped participants with tools to help lift them out of poverty.
“NAGGW has also distributed solar panel power systems and built wells in communities for tree sustainability.”
Mr. Mutaka Yusuf, one of the agency’s rangers, said that the only challenge they faced at times was how to pump water into the water tanks to wet the trees.
“We can’t pump from the well due to lack of electricity and since this fuel shortage started, we can’t even buy fuel to use in our generator.
“So we need money to power our generator.”
“We promise to make sure the project is protected and maintained.” (TO)