By Rotimi Ojomoyela – Ado Ekiti
Ekiti State government on Wednesday commenced the plantation of five million crop and economic trees across nine government-owned forest reserves in the state.
At the flagging-off of the afforestation programme in Aramoko Ekiti, Ekiti West local government, on Wednesday, the Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Programme (NEWMAP) Project Coordinator , Dr. Akinyemi Akinyugha, disclosed that by target, one million trees are to be planted annually to regenerate degraded portions of the government forests .
The NEWMAP Coordinator disclosed that the trees , both indigenous and assorted, would be planted across the nine forest reserves and individuals’ farmlands, for a period of five years.
“We have a roadmap that will guide us and it is to run for a period of five years. Our target is a million trees yearly for five years as contained in our scheme of work .
“It is a partnership between the state government and the World Bank not only to control erosion and flooding that are destroying property and crops, killing and damaging lives and means of livelihoods, to serve as means of revenue for government and individuals”, he said.
Governor Kayode Fayemi, represented by the Speaker, Ekiti State House of Assembly, Hon Funminiyi Afuye, said a total of 250 hectares of lands were being targeted under the scheme.
Fayemi added that the exercise being prosecuted under the NEWMAP, would ensure the planting of crop and economic trees that will increase revenues of the people and government in the state.
The governor commended his government for ensuring that it keys into the world bank- propelled programme in 2019, saying it would help in providing jobs for youth, control erosion and flooding and boost the state’s economy .
“Ekiti NEWMAP is a multi-sectoral intervention project with the core objectives to rehabilitate degraded lands, reduce erosion and flooding disasters and create green and sustainable environment, which supports livelihood and boost the ecosystem.
“Since NEWMAP begins in Ekiti, 300,000 trees have been planted across Ekiti, with more than 80,000 of these tree seedlings distributed to 540 farmers, who were also empowered with farm tools and agricultural inputs to support their farming activities”.
The Commissioner for Environment, Barrister Iyabo Okieimen, said apart from the 250 hectares target by goverment, that individual farmers have also been motivated to plant 100 hectares of trees for aggressive afforestation drive in Ekiti.
Giving the breakdown, the Commissioner stated that under the NEWMAP scheme, 20 hectares of trees have been planted in Ogbese, 10 in Ikere , 20 in Eda, 10 in Aramoko, 10 in Ogotun, 20 in Emure, 10 in Ise, 20 in Egbe in Gbonyin Counil area and 20 in Isan/Ayede forest reserves.
“The 540 youth and farmers empowered to participate in forest regeneration process got free 38,000 tree seedlings for orchards and Watershed plantations.
“The beneficiaries also got 13,500kg of fetilizers, 1000 litres of agro -chemicals , 550 pairs of safety booths, hand gloves, knapsack sprayers , safety helmets, and raincoats and the proceeds from these crops will be theirs”, the Commissioner stated.