The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has revealed that it is throwing its full weight behind Nigeria in the face of the environmental challenges daunting the country. It says that it will extend technical support to mitigate soil erosion and environmental degradation risks across the country.
FAO’s Representative in Nigeria, Suffyan Koroma reiterated the agency’s will at the ‘Experts Dialogue’ organized by the Nigeria Institute of Soil Science (NISS) in partnership with the FAO and the Soil Science Society of Nigeria, to commemorate the World Soil Day on Thursday.
According to Koroma, the FAO is committed to working with the government and private organizations to curb land degradation, promote soil conservation, improve soil fertility and productivity and promote food security.
He identified that Nigeria has the highest rate of deforestation of primary forest in Africa with annual losses estimated at 11.1 percent.
He also noted that desertification in northern Nigeria is consistently advancing at the rate of 0.6 kilometers per annum, with as much as 351,000 square kilometers regarded as potential desertification.
In his words, “To reduce erosion rates on farmlands, reliable and proven soil conservation technologies must be adopted and these include ridge planting, no-till cultivation, crop rotation, mulches, living mulches, agro-forestry, terracing, contour planting, cover cropping and installation of windbreaks.”
Against this backdrop, Koroma revealed that the FAO has reinforced its effort and commitment alongside NISS to protect Nigeria’s soil, increase agricultural production and ensure a secured future for the coming generation.
He further entreated all organizations to work together in effecting soil erosion management and control in future project plans with a specific budget line, adding that there is a need to ensure that people have safe and nutritious food without endangering essential ecosystem services.