Soil Erosion: Nigeria needs N194b to restore degraded soil by 2030

Soil scientists in the country have said that present administration needs to inject N194 billion into restoration of degraded lands by 2030 to sustain gains made in agricultural sector in the last four and half years.

Speaking with journalists on World Soil Day, themed, Stop Soil Erosion, Save Our Future, in Ilorin on Thursday, president, Soil Science Society of Nigeria, Professor Bashiru Raji, said that soil erosion and desertification are two well known causative factors of land degradation, adding that, “danger posed by soil erosion is therefore, real and presents the greatest threat to food security, poverty eradication and environment health”.

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Professor Raji, who commended the federal government for gains in the agricultural sector in recent years, said that, “For these gains to be sustained and for the attainment of about 7 SDGs out of the 17 in which soils directly or indirectly affect, the success of SDGs 2, 3, 6, 7, 12, 13 and SDG 15, the Soil Science Society of Nigeria urge the FGN to keep faith with the action plans under the Land Degradation Neutrality Target Setting Programme (LDN TSP) which stipulated that over N194 billion is required to restore degraded lands by 2030 to the pre 2015 scenario.

“The Government should also consider establishing a ‘soil remediation fund’ to which at least 30 per cent of the Ecological Funds should be allocated. Existing regulatory policies like the National Erosion and Flood Control Policy, Nigeria’s Agricultural Promotion Policy 2016-2020, Great Green Wall and National Economic Recovery Growth Plan 2017-2020 should be leveraged upon to accelerate restoration of degraded lands and prevent future occurrence.

“There is the need to continuously build human capacity and Infrastructure in the agricultural sector through adequate funding of all State Colleges of Agriculture and other Agricultural Institutions dedicating a substantial percentage of TETFund to the sector”.

The president, Soil Science Society of Nigeria also said that effects of soil erosion and desertification on landscape are devastating on socio-economic life of communities.

“The most visible and well reported cases of soil erosion in Nigeria are the Agulu-Nanka erosion sites, which are as deep as 20 meters, 2 km in width and covers about 0.1 Million hectares of productive land in the South-East geopolitical zones of this country.

“The danger posed by soil erosion is therefore, real and presents greatest threat to food security, poverty eradication and environment health. Yet, there is no community in Nigeria that are spared of one form of soil erosion or the other.

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“Gully erosion is particularly severe in Abia, Imo, Anambra, Enugu, Ondo, Edo, Ebonyi, Kogi, Adamawa, Delta, Jigawa and Gombe States. Wind erosion is severe in Sokoto, Katsina, Kano, Jigawa, Yobe and Borno States. Coastal and marine erosion and subsidence occur particularly in the coastal areas of Lagos, Ogun, Ondo, Delta, Rivers, Bayelsa, Akwa Ibom and Cross River States. The most significant case of coastal erosion and flooding is the overflow of the Bar Beach of the Atlantic Ocean now a regular feature since 1990, threatening the prime property areas of the Ahmadu Bello Way, Victoria Island, Lagos (Federal Ministry of Environment).

“Soil erosion, though a natural phenomenon, is accelerated through anthropogenic causes like overstocking or overgrazing, removal of vegetation cover due to farming activities or deforestation due to logging and construction activities.

“Others are urbanisation, road construction, quarrying activities and population increase leading to high intensity of human pressure on land.

“However, it is important to note that soil erosion affects food security by general decrease in soil fertility (as a result of the action of sheet and/or wind erosion), and diminution of cultivable land as a result of the occurrence and expansion of gullies.

“Soil erosion also reduces the capacity of the soil in its provisioning services of fiber, raw materials, and support for infrastructure. Its regulatory and cultural services such as flood mitigation, filtering of nutrients and contaminants, groundwater quality, carbon and other greenhouse gases sequestration to mitigate climate change, recreation, aesthetics”.

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