Desertification: Oxfarm Line Project Flags off Tree Planting Campaign to Fight Encroachment

By Segun Awofadeji

A non-governmental organisation (NGO), Oxfam-Line Project, has flagged off tree planting campaign in Bauchi State to protect the environment from the adverse effect of global climate change.

In his opening remarks during the flagging-off of the campaign, which was carried out respectively in Darazo, Shira and Gamawa Local Government Areas of the state recently, Oxfam-Line Project Manager, Wayne Brook, expressed gratitude over the success of the campaign.

Brook disclosed that Oxfam-Line Project distributed 9,000 economic and environmental-friendly tree seedlings during the first phase of the campaign in Ningi, Alkaleri and Tafawa Balewa LGAs of the state.

Represented by Kenneth Akpan, the environmental compliance officer of Oxfam-Line Project, Brook explained that the second phase of the campaign witnessed the distribution of additional 9,000 tree seedlings in Gamawa, Shira, and Darazo LGAs.

According to him, “In 2010, Bauchi State Government was alarmed that the state was losing an average of one kilometre of its landmass annually to desertification, which it attributed to the indiscriminate felling of trees for fuel and local charcoal production businesses.

“Bauchi state is among Nigeria’s 11 frontline states susceptible to desertification and its attendant effects.

“Apart from the annual tree planting campaigns embarked upon by the state, there have really been no effective measures by any state administration to halt the threat of desertification.”

He said Oxfam-Line Project was promoting the planting of trees in communities and encouraging the adaptation of these ideas by communities, who should upscale them into ideas like woodlots, orchards or commercial horticulture to improve on the environment and the economic outlook of the communities.

Brook stated that Oxfam-Line Project, being a climate change conscious project, while executing its activities within the state, identified the prevailing climatic conditions due to poor environmental knowledge and practices.

He said the development has harmed the environment and climatic conditions of the state through flooding, which washes away farmlands, crops in some cases houses, especially along the floodplains, drop in rain fall during which food production is severely affected negatively.

Brook said the tree planting activity was to further deepen Oxfam’s partnership with the local government leadership, as a way of sustaining the noble ideas of sustaining the environment on continuous bases of post-Oxfam-Line project.

Speaking at the flag-off campaign in Darazo, the Chairman of the council, Mahmood Bello Yayaji lauded Oxfarm Line Project for the tree planting campaign in the area.

Author: Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.