Kemi Olaitan in Ibadan
Forestry stakeholders in the country, comprising eminent researchers and farmers, weekend rose from the 2019 Agro-forestry Farming Systems Workshop in Ibadan, Oyo State capital, where they called for an urgent platform to interface with President Muhammadu Buhari and the National Assembly to finding solution to food insecurity in the country.
The stakeholders expressed their commitment to planting 25 million trees by 2020 to minimise further environmental degradation.
The workshop hosted by the Forestry Research Institute of Nigeria (FRIN) i Jericho, Ibadan and attended by forestry and agricultural researchers, had as its theme: “Economic Recovery and Food Security: Green Economy and Environmental Approach.”
The stakeholders lamented the mounting effects of environmental degradation across the country as an aftermath of the climate change and “resolved to curtail the menace of deforestation, desertification and erosion in Nigeria through the promotion of agro-forestry as an effective tool towards achieving sustainable forest management and environmental amelioration.”
While reiterating the need to interface with the President and the National Assembly on the issue of food security in Nigeria, the forestry stakeholders also mooted the idea of a similar parley with the Nigerian Governors’ Forum “to facilitate the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the tree planting on their land with agreed sharing formula.”
The stakeholders, in a communiqué issued at the end of the workshop, also resolved to checkmate the culture of post-harvest losses in Nigeria by mandating FRIN to train farmers on waste management and production of compost manure from agricultural and household waste as well as value addition and sourcing of stable market for farm produce.
To this end, farmers were urged to submit their proposal in line with their choice of trees so as to achieve the planting of 25 million trees by next year.
The communiqué disclosed that efforts would be intensified in establishing more plantations of indigenous tree species “especially vitellaria paradoxa and parkia biglobosa because of their economic and nutrition importance.”
On the capital intensive nature of designing a green house, the workshop advised FRIN to come up with other ways of improving green house for upcoming farmers to use.
FRIN was also urged to acquire motorised climbers for harvesting tall oil palm trees and consequently design locally-fabricated ones thus making the facility massively available to farmers in no distant future.
The stakeholders expressed appreciation to the Tertiary Education Fund (TETFUND) for spearheading increased collaboration between research institutes and the nation’s ivory towers as a means of providing effective solution to problems bedeviling the country.
FRIN Director-General, Prof. Adesola Adepoju, had earlier remarked that the workshop was part of efforts by the institute to showcase its research breakthroughs over the years for farmers and stakeholders to adopt, so as to alleviate poverty, combat environmental challenges especially in this period of the adverse effect of climate change, to reduce food insecurity, and also to promote green economy and economic recovery.
The workshop was declared open by the TETFUND Executive Secretary, Prof. Suleiman Bogoro, who was the keynote speaker and gave FRIN positive consideration in its request for professorial research grants from TETFUND.
He lamented that Nigeria’s tertiary institutions have, for too long, been laying too much emphasis on publications at the expense of research outputs and called for positive ways forward.