Laide Raheem, Abeokuta
The French Government has confirmed its readiness to collaborate with Ogun State Government on the Land Degradation Neutrality Transformation Project to restore 108,000 hectares of forest in Imeko and Aworo Games and Forest Reserves.
Ogun State Commissioner for Forestry Tunji AKinosi made this known on Thursday when he received the French delegation led by Dr Sonia Darracq in his office in Abeokuta, the state capital.
Akinosi explained that the restoration project tagged ‘Ile Dotun’ would not only support conservation but boost economic growth by creating employment and improving human development initiative in the beneficial communities.
“Project ‘Ile Dotun’ will certainly create a greater awarenesses on available opportunities to improve people’s livelihood, through a responsive business environment and viable economic conditions which will allow for more Public-Private partnership (PPP) in the state,” Akinosi stated.
He added the project would integrate the people of the various communities into the project, adding that 30 per cent of the proposed conservation area would be released for the people’s livelihood to make them richer through their participation in afforestation.
In her remark, Sonia Darracq, who is also the Regional Agricultural Councillor for Benin, Cameroon, Ghana, Niger, Nigeria and Togo, said that apart from the partnership in the area of aquaculture with training and capacity building in agricultural value chains, a high degree of focus would be on forest conservation.
She pointed out that a premium would be placed on non-timber products and other key areas of forest resources in order to fulfil the agenda for Sustainable Development Goal (SDG), which centres on achieving Land Degradation Neutrality (LND) by 2030.
She assured that other international afforestation projects of the state would be facilitated through the French partnership, adding that other projects that require resuscitation would be revisited to accomplish desirable growth.