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FAO partners Nigerian govt to curb impact of agriculture on environment 

The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations ss partnering Ondo, Cross Rivers government and the Ministry of Environment to curb the impact of some agricultural activities on the environment. 
The Country Representative of the FAO,  Fred Kafeero in his address said the aim of the program was to consider the inherent potential of the Nigerian rain forest and the country’s need for cultivation of diverse agricultural commodities, like oil palm, cocoa and cassava in a sustainable manner.
Kafeero said this at the inception workshop for the Project Preparation Grant (PPG) Phase of the Global Environment Facilities’ (GEF) Food Systems, Land Use and Restoration (FOLUR) impact program titled Promoting Integrated Landscape Management and Sustainable Food Systems in the Niger Delta Region in Nigeria.
He said “it is part of government commitment to promote sustainable cocoa and oil palm production systems and landscape restoration to deliver multiple ecosystem services.
“The geographical focus of this proposed project lies in a landscape area where over 50% of the remaining tropical rain forest are domiciled -i.e. Cross-River and Ondo States
“Yet deforestation is at 3.7% rate in Nigeria predominantly due to the impact of agricultural activities (causing environmental degradation such as deforestation, declining soil fertility, biodiversity loss and reduction of other ecosystem services).
“The project will therefore take into consideration the inherent potential of the Nigerian rain forest (classified amongst the biodiversity hotspots in the world), and the country’s need for cultivation of diverse agricultural commodities, like oil palm, cocoa and cassava in a sustainable manner”.
He further stated that the project will contribute in curbing expansion of agricultural activities in these high conservation value forests and to the protection of biodiversity within the target states.
The FAO applauded the policies and strategies adopted by Nigerian government to ensure the sustainable management of its forest and ecosystems, to improve food security as well as aim at a 20 per cent reduction in emission by 2030, as contained in Nigeria’s Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) and Agriculture Promotion Plan (APP).
These policies and commitments according to FAO have increased the likelihood for successful outcomes of the Food Systems, Land Use, and Restoration (FOLUR) impact program in Nigeria. This is the aim of the project.
In his address, the Minister of Environment, Dr. Mohammad Mamhood Abubakar said the program would address issues on livelihood and at the very same time repositioning the environment for the sustainability of our continuous existence.
The Minister who was represented by the Director of (PRS/GEF Operational Focal Point) in the Ministry of Environment, Dr. BolatitoObisesan said “it is also in keeping with the need for sustainable land use and crop production that the Ministry under my watch found it irresistible and therefore made our support for her success.
“The partnership between the Ministry, GEF and other Development Partners has been a partnership that works” the Minister said.
He said a lot of progress has been made in a collective efforts towards remediating the already devastated environment. 
In her address, the Director of (PRS/GEF Operational Focal Point), Dr. Bolatito Obisesan in her address, said the environment has been under intense pressure and therefore asking immediate action if it must survive the magnitude of degradations occasioned by both human activities and Natural alteration of the state of the environment. 
“Par, on the part of human activities it has been discovered that unsustainable use of land resources has been a major factor aggravating the level of land degradation been experienced at the moment”, she noted.

She further stated that in this effort, it is logical that restoring the degraded land resources and halting a further adversity on the land is done using a system of food production as this project is set to achieve.
“The focus on cocoa and palm oil in Cross River and Ondo States is occasioned by the observed increase in demand for oil palm and cocoa which has resulted in to major environmental degradations in these states. 
“The programme is expected to focus on eliminating the risk of further expansion of farmiands into natural high biodiversity habitats and forests, erosion of genetic diversity”, she added.

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