United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), has said that there is no fast route towards restoring degraded lands, especially those in the Sahel and Saharan regions of Africa.
According to the agency, making drylands fit for agricultural productivity would require a combination of various measures, including government intervention.
FAO made these observations in its latest publication “A manual for large-scale restoration to support rural communities’ resilience in Africa’s Great Green Wall,” released this month.
“There is no miracle solution: restoration will require substantial investments, including equipment, restoration seeds, and capacity development.
“In addition, it will require the support of appropriate policies, governance mechanisms, and financial assistance, as well as other incentives that facilitate the implementation of on-the-ground restoration interventions on a massive scale,” the agency said in the publication.
‘How small-scale farmers can revive their degraded lands’
FAO in its publication also offered smallholder farmers in rural communities practical guidelines on how they can restore their farmlands for increased output.
Collecting tree seeds to be planted, harvesting of non-timber products such as fruits, nuts, etc. and production of nursery seedlings, are among the steps listed by the agency.
The agency also provides a restoration calendar that outlined the activities to be carried out in each month of the year in the restoration process.
According to FAO, tree seed collection, the harvest of non-timber products, and nursery production should be done between January and March.
While nursery production, which is the preparation of a place to nurture seeds, continues, between April and June, the farmers are expected to prepare their lands for direct sowing.
Decomposed materials such as leaves and grass clippings are then spread throughout the selected hectares of land after sowing. This process, it said, would run throughout the months until June.
Between June and September, farmers are to continue sowing in areas of lands that have not been covered while they also prepare a seedling plantation and harvest fodders.
From October to December, farmers execute maintenance activities, collect grass seed and begin the harvesting of non-timber products.
The manual provides further expanded details on these activities.