FG to encourage Research Institute and Agencies on Forest Development
The Federal Ministry of Environment stated that Agro-allied Research Institute and Agencies in Nigeria will be encouraged to drive the National Afforestation Program in order to ensure its success.
The Minister of Environment, John Odey disclosed this at a meeting with the stakeholders in Abuja on the modalities for the implementation of the fund to be used for the program.
The Minister stated, “the role of the research institute and Agencies in this program cannot be ignored. All the Institutes have the relevant knowledge in what we are doing and there is a need to encourage a synergy of efforts among everybody.
“If we continue to take this issue of Afforestation and other national issues seriously as we have been doing now, I am very positive that the Vision 2020 would be a reality.
“Henceforth all of you would be involved in all meetings and fora on Afforestation. The program will outlive all of us. So if we build a solid foundation as we are doing now, we will not fail.”
The Minister charged the Research Institute to come up with timelines and work-plan for the effective transformation of the National Afforestation Program into practical reality.
He noted that there was also a need for an impact analysis profile of the program. “The overall objectives should be to stop our people from cutting down trees while we make available modern and avoidable facilities for them for domestic energy needs.
The Minister warned that the Research Institute would be held responsible for the success or otherwise of the program.
Among the Research Institutions which are involved in the Afforestation Program is the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI), which has developed a plan for the fabrication of eco-friendly smokeless kiln, stoves and appliances for Arid Zone.
The product of the Institute is to reduce use of trees as fuel wood at homes.
Another Institute is the Forest Research Institute of Nigeria which is to develop tree seedlings and multi-purpose tree species for Shelter Belt plantations, Sand Dunes Stabilization and Rain Forest Ecosystems in Nigeria.
The rest are the Institute of Ecology of the Obafemi Awolowo University, and the Arid Zone Research Centre of the University of Maiduguri.
Responding on behalf of the stakeholders, the Executive Director of the Forest Research Institute, Professor Solomon Badejo assured the Minister that the Research Institute would not disappoint the country on the Afforestation Program.
He stated that the Research Institute would use the opportunity to demonstrate the importance of collaboration between Government and the people on the Forestation Project.
by Rotimi Ajayi