From Olanrewaju Lawal, Birnin Kebbi
The Kebbi State Government has commenced the free distribution of 40,000 economy trees to the general public across the 21 Local Government Areas of the state.
Governor Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, who gave permission for the distribution of the seedlings at the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, said the distribution would not only assisted the farmers but also making the environment habitable.
Some of the economy trees seedlings are ready for distribution including oranges, mangoes, dates, moringa, cashews, pawpaws, guava and banana seedlings.
Bagudu, represented by the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Alhaji Umar Babale Yauri, reinstated the commitment of the state government to ensure farmers were fully empowered not only by inputs but with also trees that could improve their capital.
According to him, ‘this is personally targeted to boosting both the environment as well as the economy of our farmers. We don’t only plant trees, we also look at our environment to make it habitable to all of us. It is the conviction of the state government that we have to empower our farmers, not only in terms of agriculture inputs, also in other areas that can give the farmers the capital.’
Bagudu also commended the staff of the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources for their initiative and commitment in nurturing the economy trees for distribution to the public.
‘This show how committed is the staff of the Ministry and this show how young guys blood have been put into the ministry. That is why we are seeing new innovations which are very good to the government and the people of the state,’ he said.
Earlier, the Commissioner for Environment and Natural Resources, Mallam Hayatu Bawa, disclosed that 40,000 seedlings of the economy trees were fully ready for the free distribution to the general public based on “first-come, first-served”.
‘We have about 40,000 of these trees here that are meant for the general public. And, Insha Allahu, we would try to be just in distributing them. We would distribute the seedlings to local government areas across the state, targeting the identified farmers. This will help us to control the desertification.
‘Desertification is the problem, not only in Kebbi State but across Nigeria. We are losing 3.5 percentage of our land to desertification every year. And these seedlings is one way to contain this problem.’
Bawa, who commended the governor for giving the ministry the mandate to nurturing the economy trees, said they are also planning to embark on mass planting of other trees such as dogoyaro to reinforce the afforestation system in the state.
‘We want to roll out afforestation in the state and also trying to improve our forest reserved. We have 20 Forest Reserved Areas in the state. Some of these forest reserves are being attacks by the people to make charcoal. We are trying to prevent this from happening.’
He appealed to the state government to permit his ministry to recruit more staff as forest rangers, stressing that some of their staff monitoring the forests have retired, while others are getting old.