FG urges association to boost afforestation, forest cover

THE Federal Government has urged the Association of Charcoal Exporters of Nigeria to support its efforts in boosting afforestation and forest cover in the country.

The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Environment, Mrs Ibukun Odusote, gave the advice in a statement issued in Abuja on Thursday by the ministry’s Director of Press, Mr Sagir el-Mohammed.

According to the statement, Odusote gave the advice when a delegation of the Association of Charcoal Exporters of Nigeria led by its president, Dele Fagbola paid her a courtesy visit.

“I wish to however urge you to mobilise your membership in supporting government efforts at boosting afforestation and forest cover in the country.

“As we cut down a tree today, we should replace it by planting at least three new ones,” she said.

According to her, the Federal Government is working on new National Forest Management Policy guidelines that will promote equitable management of the nation’s forest.

“The policy is geared toward harvesting timber and non-timber products without having any adverse effects on the forest’s biodiversity, productivity and ecological process.

Earlier, the Legal Secretary to the Association, Mrs Lola Idowu, said that they were in the ministry to solicit support in the passage of the draft bill for an Act for the establishment of the National Timber and Forest product Certification Council before the National Assembly.

She said that the association had put in place several measures geared toward the sanitisation of charcoal exportation in the country.

According to her, part of the efforts is the establishment of some plantations in Oyo, Ogun and Kwara states to fulfill the government’s policy of “cut -one-plant-two.”

She said that the association had written letters to the governments of the 36 states and the FCT, to donate parcels of land for them to site forest to enable the association control the activities of its members within confined areas.

According to her, if the requests are granted, the association will embark on training the locals on the best techniques to use for better yields as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility.