…as HarvestPlus, ICRISAT organise consultative workshop

By Gabriel Ewepu, Bernard Ozuanu and John Precious

The Federal Government, Wednesday, disclosed that it had secured $600 million World Bank loan to tackle land degradation in 19 Northern States and the Federal Capital Territory, FCT.

This was made known by the National Project Coordinator, Federal Government, Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project, NEWMAP, Salisu Dahiru, who was represented by Water Resources Specialist, Ayuba Anda Yalaks, during a HarvestPlus and ICRISAT organised consultative workshop on climate resilient and nutrition.

According to Dahiru, the fund is for the implementation of the Agro-Climatic Resilience in Semi-Arid Landscape, ACReSAL, project aimed at up-scaling implementation of sustainable landscape management practices in the northern region, and also strengthening and enabling environment for integrated climate-resilient landscape management.

The project is targeted at addressing challenges of environmental degradation including deforestation, erosion, water management, and food production in the region.

He said: “The Federal government has secured a $600 million credit facility from the World Bank International Development Association (IDA) to address challenges of land degradation in the 19 Northern States of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory.

“The fund is for the implementation of the Agro-Climatic Resilience in Semi-Arid Landscape (ACReSAL) project aimed increasing the implementation of sustainable landscape management practices in the northern region, and also strengthening and enabling the environment for integrated climate-resilient landscape management.”

He also explained that the project will be implemented within six years, which will address nutrition challenges in content of major crops occasioned by climate change affecting farmers’ productivity, hence the high importation of food to meet demand.

However, explaining why the project is not being implemented in the Southern part of Nigeria, he (Dahiru) said NEWAP project addressed land degradation in the Southeast, South-South and Southwest regions, but following the challenges in terms of Agriculture, water resources management, food production in the north it was deemed fit for it to focus on the region.

“For this project we are considering the aridity index, the dry part of the country, because the challenges in terms of agriculture, water resources management, food production is huge which is why the project is been targeted at the north”, he added.

Meanwhile, HarverstPlus and International Crop Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics, ICRISAT, orgainsed a one-day ‘Consultative Engagement with ACReSAL State Level Stakeholders’, which is to share information and lessons from the States and help develop a more integrated, multi-sectional approach to implementing more resilient and sustainable agricultural productivity projects.

The Country Manager, HarvestPlus,Yusuf Dollah, in his remarks said ICRISAT and HarvestPlus are both technical advisers for the project.

Dollah further stated that the project is a climate activity from the Federal Ministry of Environment and the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

He pointed that HarvestPlus has been deeply involved in promoting crops that are climate tolerant and resistant to pests.

“Our primary objective is to breed and promote crops that have high level nutrient that we can use to solve our nutrition, and livelihood problems”, he said.

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