In a significant step towards addressing the pressing environmental issues and food security challenges in Northern Nigeria, the World Bank has commenced the implementation of the Agro-Climate Resilience in Semi-Arid Landscapes (ACReSAL) project. With a budget of $700 million, this ambitious initiative aims to reclaim degraded lands and halt environmental deterioration in the region while mitigating the frequent clashes between farmers and herders.
The ACReSAL project will be executed across 19 Northern states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), covering areas severely affected by desert encroachment, erosion, and mining activities. These environmental concerns have led to the migration of farmers and herders, further exacerbating the challenges faced by the region.
The project has been strategically designed with four main components: Dryland Management, Community Climate Resilience, Institutional Strengthening and Project Management, and Contingent Emergency Response. Its primary focus is to enhance the country’s capacity to adapt to the changing climate, primarily through multi-sectoral convergence, including environment, agriculture, and water, and technology modernization. Improved use of data, analytics, and connectivity will also play a pivotal role in this endeavor.
Abdulhamid Umar, the National Coordinator of ACReSAL, emphasized that the project’s core strategy is to devise resilience methods tailored to the climatic conditions prevailing in the affected communities. By doing so, they aim to restore the degraded landscapes and bolster agricultural activities, thus improving the living conditions of the people in the region.
Northern Nigeria is particularly vulnerable to desert encroachment, and there are 11 frontline states where the problem is severe. The ACReSAL project is a much-needed intervention to halt the degradation and restore the lands, creating a sustainable environment for farming and agricultural practices.
The ACReSAL project also aims to increase the adoption of sustainable landscape management practices in targeted watersheds across Northern Nigeria. By strengthening Nigeria’s long-term framework for integrated climate-resilient landscape management, the project intends to create environmental security and bolster food security in the region.
Garuba Gowon, the Plateau State Coordinator of ACReSAL, highlighted that the project would offer technical support to communities, making them more resilient to the unfavorable climatic conditions experienced in their respective states.
It’s worth noting that the World Bank had approved a $700 million credit from the International Development Association (IDA) in December of last year for the ACReSAL project, underlining the organization’s commitment to addressing environmental challenges and food security in Northern Nigeria.
The ACReSAL project’s ongoing capacity-building session for managers and implementers is witnessing the participation of over 250 individuals, aiming to equip them with the necessary tools and knowledge for landscape restoration for agricultural purposes.
As the ACReSAL project gains momentum, hopes are high for its success in transforming the landscape and livelihoods of millions in Northern Nigeria. By fostering resilience and sustainable practices, the project aspires to create a brighter and more prosperous future for the region.
Source: THE NATION
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