Governor Bassey Otu has given the commitment of his government to partner with the new UKaid-funded climate change programme in Nigeria, Propcom+.
The programme is aimed at supporting agroforestry initiatives targeting at improving climate resilience and incomes of smallholder farmers in the state through new agroforestry and sustainable land use management models.
Speaking during a meeting with Propcom+’s Country Representative, Dr. Adiya Ode and her team in in his office in Calabar, the governor stated that with state’s rich endowment in biodiversity, the partnership is a welcome development with the private sector to improve the biodiversity of the state, while also helping smallholder farmers to earn sustainable livelihoods.
“Climate change is a serious issue that requires concerted efforts from us. We want to place back Cross River State on the world’s map when it comes to tourism and eco-tourism and protecting our rich forest reserves is central to this.
“Thus we are very keen on revitalising our forestry sector so that we can contribute to reducing the impact of climate change, open up our tourism potential as a state and also empower communities to improve their lives,” Governor remarked at the meeting.
Speaking earlier, the Country Representative of Propcom+, Dr. Adiya Ode, said that is aimed at supporting more than 4 million people in Nigeria, 50% of whom will be women, to adopt and scale sustainable agricultural practices that increase productivity and climate resilience while reducing emissions and protecting natural ecosystems.
She stated that the programme has initial focal states in Kano, Jigawa, Kaduna, in the North West The country representative highlighted that the programme is ready to support reform-ready states such as Cross River to sign up to the global policies on sustainable land use and deforestation-free commodities, particularly encouraging more Nigerian states to join the African Sustainable Commodities Initiative (ASCI).
“Cross River State has long been recognised as one of the world’s top biodiversity hotspots. We see a great opportunity to work with stakeholders in the state, particularly the Government of Cross River State and private sector organisations to harness this huge potential in a way that benefits smallholder farmers.
“We want to link forest protection to economic incentives for farmers, thus Propcom+ will initially focus on forestry initiatives that protect natural resources while improving the livelihoods of smallholders,” Ode said.
According to her, by working with the Otu administration, intensive reforestation and land restoration efforts can happen, with climate-smart agricultural practices generating new and alternative livelihoods for farmers.
The programme was announced last August by UK’s Foreign Secretary, James Cleverly, as part of the UK International Climate Finance programme aimed at supporting climate-resilient and sustainable agriculture and forestry that benefits people, climate, and nature.