• Monday, July 15, 2024
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Nasarawa governor sees hope for agriculture, landscape restoration in ACReSAL

Nasarawa governor sees hope for agriculture, landscape restoration in ACReSAL

The Nasarawa State Governor, Abdullahi Sule has said that Agro-Climatic Resilience in Semi-Arid Landscapes (ACReSAL) project was a beacon of hope for national agricultural development and landscape restoration in semi-arid regions like his state.

Sule spoke at the opening ceremony of a joint World Bank, Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) and Federal Government of Nigeria Hybrid Implementation Support Mission for the ACReSAL project.

The governor, who was represented at the event by his deputy, Emmanuel Akabe, emphasised the significance of ACReSAL in addressing pressing challenges facing the agriculture sector.

Through ACReSAL, which is a World Bank-supported agency of the Federal Government, the government intends to restore one million hectares of degraded land in the northern part of the country.

According to the government agency, a total of four million hectares of degraded land is set for broader landscapes restoration by 2030. The project will also help reduce the vulnerability of millions of the extreme poor people in northern part of the country, strengthening their own roles in achieving environmental sustainability.

With ACReSAL, the Federal Government strategises on checking the menace of desertification, restoring degraded lands, developing special ecosystems and catalysing sustainable agricultural production in the 19 northern states as well as the FCT, Abuja.

“Nasarawa State, like every other state in the nation’s semi-arid region, experiences adverse effects of climate change, which threatens our security and livelihoods. Through collaborative efforts and innovative approaches like ACReSAL, we have the opportunity to build community resilience and ensure sustainable agricultural practices,” the governor said.

He further said that ACReSAL project would not only help reduce the vulnerability of millions of extremely poor people in the region, but also empower them to play an active role in achieving environmental sustainability.

A positive uniqueness of the project is its community-driven approach to setting up its projects. Projects are tailored towards meeting the specific needs of the communities. These communities are at the forefront of understanding, owning, protecting and defending projects, making them sustainable in the long run.”

Sule commended ACReSAL, describing it as an embodiment of the spirit of partnership and co-operation, bringing together government agencies, development partners, people from academia, local communities, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), and all to find solutions to our shared environmental challenges.

He was optimistic that there would be beneficial dividend in the agricultural sector as states collaborate on the ACReSAL project.

“Together, we will leverage the power of technology, research, and community engagement to transform our agricultural landscapes and secure a better future for generations to come.

“As we embark on this important project implementation journey, let us remain steadfast in our resolve, mindful of the impact of our actions, and responsiveness to the needs of our farmers and the community,” the governor advised.

Joy Iganya Agene, Senior Environmental Specialist at World Bank Nigeria and Task Team Leader for the ACReSAL project, explained that the aim of the mission was to assess implementation of ACReSAL catalysed activities in the 19 Northern states and Federal Capital Territory (FCT) that are participating in the project.

She disclosed that the team would visit communities, inspect lands that have been marked for restoration and to carry out activities under the Community Resolving Fund (CRF).

She noted that Nasarawa was one of the bright sparks among the states executing the ACReSAL project, adding that the project would not be possible without the support of the leadership of Nasarawa State.

Agene disclosed that Nasarawa State would be one of the first states to qualify for the second phase of the ACReSAL investment, explaining that, for a state to access the fund, it has to show evidence of compliance with requisite parameters which is possible through appraising demonstrable commitment and technical capacity to carry out necessary interventions.

“The purpose of the funding is to cushion the impact of climate change, help build the capacity of vulnerable communities to adapt to climate change and allow water to take its natural course in the state,” she said.

Abdulhamid Umar, the National Project Coordinator for the ACReSAL project, noted that the mission was in Nasarawa State to authenticate project implementation results so far and to see concrete deliverables of the four components of the ACReSAL project.

Precious Agbesor, a representative of FAO, commended the World Bank and federal government for the partnership, noting that component B of the ACReSAL project (Community Climate Resilience) is the heart of the project, and FAO is supporting ACReSAL under this component to restore 350,000 hectares of degraded land.

On his part, Napoleon Gyobe Elias, the Nasarawa State ACReSAL project coordinator, outlined state-specific activities designed to enhance adaptive capacities and promote sustainable growth in the state.