FG, UNDP unfold new plan to reduce fuelwood consumption in Kaduna
Following sustainable and constantly growing consumption of fuelwood by Nigerian households, a new strategy is underway to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emission from deforestation and forest degradation in Kaduna State.
The Global Environment Facility (GEF), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Energy Commission of Nigeria (ECN) and Kaduna State Government are supporting the strategy, which overall objective includes promoting sustainable fuelwood production and consumption.
Nigeria has the third highest rate of deforestation in the world: 3.7 per cent or 410,000 hectares of forests annually; with some areas in the South losing over 1,000 hectares/year. The country has lost almost 50per cent of its forest resources between 1990 and 2010 when its forest area shrank from 17 mln hectares down to 9 mln hectares.
In fact, fuelwood is also an important fuel for many rural industries, which satisfy the basic human needs in stimulating and supporting economic growth. It is also reported that fuelwood accounted for over 70per cent of total energy used by households in Nigeria. This leads to deforestation and triggers soil erosion and desertification.
A two-day High-Level Stakeholders’ Summit was staged recently in Kaduna organized by UNDP and Kaduna State government to launch the Sustainable Fuelwood Management (SFM) project, aimed at initiating information sharing with high-level government officials on the progress and implications of SFM project in the state.
The meeting attended by wood harvesters, wood sellers, timber contractors, charcoal sellers association, firewood contractors, traditional leaders and other stakeholders in communities also targeted at promoting relevant inter-sectorial synergy/collaboration critical for the successful implementation of the project in Kaduna State.
Funded by GEF, the $4.4 million SFM in Nigeria programme with a counterpart funding of $16 million from the three pilot states of Delta, Kaduna and Cross River, and the private sector equity share, is a part of the sustainable development initiatives of the UNDP.
The director-general of ECN, Prof. Eli Bala, represented by the director, linkages and consultancy of the ECN, Mr. Okon Ekpenyong, said that the project is also targeted at promoting the re-plantation of millions of fast growing trees on degraded lands for future use.
He highlighted some of the objectives of the meeting to include creating awareness and sensitizing the states on the benefits of sustainable fuelwood management (SFM) project; generating strong buy-in and project ownership among states and community stakeholders.
Other benefits include launching the 36,000 hectares, 14,000 hectares and 3,003 hectares of the protected forest/degraded lands dedicated to the SFM project; promoting the establishment of private and community-based woodlots for fuelwood supply and inaugurating the community-based SFM/SLM management committees.
The Kaduna state Governor Nasir el’Rufai, represented by the Commissioner for Environment and Natural Resources, Amina Sijuwade, said the project was a welcome development and thanked GEF, UNDP, and the ECN for it.
“We have shown great commitment to the environment and we are glad that this effort has been appreciated. We also appreciate the recognition of our modest efforts in supporting environmental sustainability. This programme serves as an incentive for us to do more. We declare, therefore, that this project is in tandem with our sustainability thrust in the state and we are committed to providing the necessary support to facilitate effective delivery of this project.
Earlier, chairman of Gbagyi Women Wood Sellers Association, Kaduna State, Mary Samuel Sheyin urged the government to take the sensitization to other remote rural areas even as she tasked the government to proffer other alternative sources of livelihood to reduce indiscriminate fuelwood harvesting.
She said: “They should also proffer alternatives to our members who depend solely on harvesting fuelwood to make a living because if they are not shown any alternative to fuelwood harvesting then they may be unable to leave the business.”
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