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Diversification : Desert Farming Option
|Written by Mr. Matthew Abah|
|Sunday, 10 May 2009 20:10|
My pleasure and gratitude to God, corporate organizations and individuals whose combined efforts led to this epic event needs no emphasis. As history has proven to us over time, all great nations, peoples and individuals have had to launch themselves unto their roads to greatness from launching pads that are often hard and uncomfortable, making procrastination almost impossible, and intolerable. Nigerian’s moment is now and the almighty God has put in place a democratic governance whose major players have manifested the near-necessary levels of checks and balances while at the same time demonstrating a cohesive desire for Nigeria to move forward. And, as if to drive home the point of God’s hand in the present Nigerian Project, a German National whose age qualifies him to be resting and issuing orders to those attending to his deserved comfort has admirably stood eye-ball to eye-ball with all the odds that have stood on his way since he came to Nigeria to lay the grounds for his firm’s Desert Farming Project for the Realization the National Green Wall Sahara Shelter Belt Project.
This paper sets out to present to you seated here and the rest of the world why the Hagen Desert Farming Project is really the Hands of God on Nigeria. At the last count, I, standing here before you led Research Teams to more than 2000 desert struck communities across almost all the nineteen northern states of Nigeria. The economic situations on the grounds are frightening. Apart from the 600 meters per annum southward march by the desert, the economic lots of farmers are deteriorating at more alarming rates. While states and local government in the region are on records to have offered one form of yield-enhancement facilities or the other to farmers, annual net incomes between 2006 and 2008 plummeted by 15 percent in Kebbi State, 18 percent in Sokoto State, 22 percent in Benue State, 19 percent in Yobe State, 15 percent in parts of Kano and Jigawa State and 13 percent in previous safe States of Plateau, Benue and Nasarawa States. More importantly, while birth rates are on the rise, primary school enrolment figure are either static or nose diving. This is simply because the economic returns of the average family in the hinterlands of these states can not keep more than one or two children in school and still provide for other essential needs of the family. Consequently, human resource. development indices across desert encroached States are on the downward movement with its multiple implications on the nations future ambitions.
The Green Wall Sahara (GWS) Shelter Belt Project In tandem with the fact that Nigeria’s economic dilemma has nothing to do with the lack of resource minds for the development of world class development projects, the Green Wall for the Sahara was packaged by the Nigerian government and put forward for continental consideration in Libya in 2005. It aimed to combat desert encroachment across Africa, from Mauritania in the Northwest to Djibouti in the Northeast, thereby restoring the fertility level of the soil for various gainful economic activities. Reclaimed lands were to be turned into community farms, tourist centers and pastoral routs, all aimed at achieving food security for Nigeria. Consequently, in 2007 the European Union and African States agreed to implement the Green Wall for the Sahara Project with a silt shift in its focal objective of just being a mere afforestation programme to an integrated economic project based on clear and distinct societal and cultural aspirations to promote sustainable development to be managed by communities, to their own economic advantages.
On AUs request, the EU agreed to jointly enter into the joint EU + African Strategy’s Action Plan 2008-2010. This Project presently ranks as one of the most important economic partnership between Africa and the EU. So the Green Wall Sahara is an existential project that needs to be implemented by desertencroached African nations with supports from the European Union.
Hagen Desert Farming Project represents Nigeria’s first visible attempt at shielding her desert encroached states and their citizens from the poisonous arrows that climate change related economic problems amount to.
Objectives of the Hagen Desert Farming Project
Hagen Desert Farming Project uses a participatory approach, which involves villagers in the production of nursery seedlings, the planting of trees and crops in the shelterbelts, and to guide and support these farmers in the production of agricultural and animal products. “ Implementation of the shelterbelt and wind breaks to regain lost agricultural lands to stem desertification and combat global warming. “ Promotion of “Jatropha Curcas” as sustenance non-food energy crop to reduce desertification and encourage its integration alongside millet, sweet sorghum or maize. “ Promote waste lands regeneration of 1 million hectares of land area through cultivation within 5 – 6 years. “ Protect population from the effects of climate change. “ Sand dune fixation “ Cultivation of marginal areas in the dry lands because of overstocking, overgrazing and overpopulation. “ Agricultural forestation, reforestation and wasteland reclamation of ecologically devastated areas. “ Promotion of sustainable agricultural practices and management of water resources including water harvesting, inter-basin-transfers and irrigated agriculture. “ Increased food production, therefore creating food security agricultural trade, including sanitary and phyto-sanitory (SPS) issues. “ Sedentarisation program and livestock husbandry for Fulani Pastoralists “ Establishing, reviewing and enforcing cattle routes and grazing reserves. “ Promotion of renewable energy resources with a view to reducing deforestation associated with fuelwood sourcing through biofuel, biogas and biomass utilization projects as well as solar energy. “ Jatropha curcas seed to be processed into clean green bio-oil and biodiesel fuel. “ Clean-energy lighting and bio electrification of the northern states with solar photovoltaic-based power supply and the Jatropha Hybird Energy System by pure Jatropha plant oil, a straight vegetable oil, as connecting rural areas to national grids will be slow and expensive. “ Rainwater harvesting, provision of reliable water supply and adequate potable water in rural areas; renewable energy desalination and water disinfection systems which are designed for used in rural areas. “ Infrastructures for public utility institutions, medical facilities, sanitation and others. “ Improvement of socio-economic conditions of poor rural groups and to develop new activities for income generation.
The project is humanitarian in nature to be implemented directly by Hagen and Co Engineering Officials base on Joint Venture agreements to be entered between state government and Hagen and Co Engineering. Through the project rural farmers are empowered to engage in varied economic activities mostly farming, that ultimately improve on their living standards. Apart from transparency provisions aimed towards ensuring that disbursed funds are actually expended for what they were meant for, these is no any form of hidden agendas attached to the project. No level of government will be required to repay any of the funds that will be needed to implement the farming project to its final conclusions in participating states. Community based cooperative societies that meet set criteria will receive funds for implementing the projects in their rural communities. Rural infrastructural facilities such as sources of portable water for farms products and primary health care facilities are integral parts of the Hagen Farming Project. Conclusion In conclusion, the general public, particularly traditional and community leaders as well as all farmers in all the nineteen northern state of Nigeria are hereby informed that if they collectively or individually play their roles, a new era of economic opportunity has come to their doors. State governments are required to make contacts with Hagen and Co Engineering, either through their Nigeria Project coordinator Alh. Abdulahi Yange their Media and Information Management Consultants, Wind Sound African Communications Limited on 0803956096.