FAO assures Nigeria on sustainable cocoa, oil palm production

The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), says it is committed to working with Federal Government to promote sustainable cocoa and oil palm production.

FAO made this known at a workshop on Food System, Land Use and Restoration (FOLUR) impact programme in Abuja, with the theme: “Promoting Integrated Landscape Management and Sustainable Food Systems in the Niger Delta Region in Nigeria”.

The FAO Representative in Nigeria, Mr Fred Kafeero said the programme was necessary as part of government commitment to promote sustainable cocoa and oil palm production.

Kafeero said that the geographical focus of the proposed project lies in a landscape area where over 50 per cent of the remaining tropical rain forest were domiciled such as cross River and Ondo states.

According to him, the project will take into consideration the inherent potential of the Nigeria rain forest and the country’s need for cultivation of diverse agricultural commodities like oil palm, cocoa and cassava in a sustainable manner.

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He said the project would also contribute to curbing the expansion of agricultural activities in high conservation value forests and to protect biodiversity within target states.

He noted that deforestation was at 3.7 per cent in Nigeria due to the impact of agricultural activities causing environmental degradation such as deforestation, declining soil fertility, biodiversity loss and reduction of ecosystem services.

The FAO Representative, however, applauded the policies and strategies adopted by the government to ensure sustainable management of forest and ecosystems.

He said it would improve food security as well as aimed at 20 per cent reduction in emission by 2030 as contained in Nigeria’s Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) and Agriculture Promotion Plan (APP).

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He said FAO was committed to deepen partnership with the FG in sustainable management of natural resources in addressing impact of climate change and the reduction of the Green House Gas Emission arising from agricultural activities.

The Minister of Environment, Dr Mohammad Abubakar in his remarks said the program would be set to address issues on livelihood and repositioning environment for sustainability of continuous existence.

He said there has been progress made in remedying the devastated environment and promised to do more by partnering with the ministry and other development partners.

He said the success of the project would be toward a sustained and nurtured environment at all levels.

The Director in charge of environment, Dr Bolatito Obisesan in her address said the environment has been under intense pressure and immediate action must be taken to survive the magnitude of degradation by human activities and natural alteration.

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She said the programme was expected to focus on eliminating the risk of further expansion of farmlands into natural biodiversity habitats and forests, erosion of genetic diversity of land and water resources.

The proposed programme is for four years with two states Cross River and Ondo.

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