The project was carried-out through GEF UNDP Small Grant Program fund with the objective of addressing land degradation problems in some Eastern Nigeria communities, especially farm lands and restoring them back into cultivable farm lands.
The project contributed tremendous in boosting the socio-economic earnings of farmers including tackling the environmental/ecological problems in the communities, especially water management technique on how to manage their soil to prevent water-logging and land reclamation techniques using conservation measures, cut off drainages and water collection centres/borrow pits.
Climate change has made changes in Nigeria rainfall distribution with increased rainfall which is experienced in the communities where the project was implemented. Further physical impacts included sea-level rise, changes in temperature extremes (such as heat waves) and increases in the frequency and intensity of storms. Such impacts combined with high dependence on natural resources and rain-fed agriculture means Nigeria will face high vulnerability in the coming decades. Poverty, inequitable land distribution, conflict, HIV/AIDS and debt shows that Nigeria lack the adaptive capacity to cope and adjust compared to more developed countries.
Nigeria is already experiencing the impacts of climate change, with more extreme weather events occurring, more variability in timing and intensity of rainfall and higher temperatures over the whole country. Thus it was imperative for us to embark on this project to prepare affected communities to be equip with climate change adaptive mechanism with reference to the exposure of the nation's 850 km coastline to the threats of increased sea level rise and storm surge risk which impacts communities, infrastructure, coastal oil installations, endemic species of flora and fauna, spawning grounds for fish, etc.
We empowered the people in utilizing abatement techniques such as planting drought-tolerant tree species and other techniques such cover cropping, contour tillage, and cut off drainage in restoring affected farm lands.
The project also alleviated the women’s poverty through creation of job opportunity in the community and increase agriculture productivity as a result of more farm land been restored and able to produce crops again as a result of the project intervention. Widows and orphan youths were the disadvantage group which we mainly focused on. The heightened impacts of climate change in the South-East Region of Nigeria, the communities where the project was implemented inclusive which are likely to intensify in the coming years, have overwhelmed local and traditional knowledge and technologies, necessitated the implementation of this project to equip the rural people deal with the challenges.
Climate change has caused increased rainfall in this communities and its environs, leading to flooding and increases in intensity of atmospheric disturbances resulting to serious erosion problems which manifested in the abandonment of farm lands due to the lost in large quantities of topsoil and subsoil each year due to flooding/ erosion which is usually caused by no or improper outlet design for local surface and subsurface drainage systems. This led to erosion, crop yield lost, nutrients depletion and general low productivity of the farms which subsequently led to the abandonment of farmlands which also affected farmers’ income.
Thus , it was imperative to reclaim eroded, abandoned farmlands in the community with the aim of bringing them back into cultivatable farm lands to boost socio-economic earnings of farmers in the community, mostly who are women including tackling the environmental/ecologically problems in the community.
Affected farmers were trained in carrying-out techniques that assisted them in transforming their unproductive, impenetrable crust-lands into productive farmland. Women and Youth groups were part of the manpower for the project in carrying out the project activities. Women farmers and wives of affected male farmers were among the selected women. They assist in planting of the trees and other minor labour work on the farm lands. Some youths from vulnerable groups were engaged to enhance their skills acquisition. Agric Extension Workers participate in the advocacy and enlightenment phase of the project in providing some technical input in the project.
With this project, more than 50,000 rural dwellers (65% of them women) have received a new lease on life. Many have reported that the harvests from their farms have improved tremendously in both quality and quantity. Moreover, women who were not previously involved in farming are now fully engaged on farming as a result of the project.
Most of the women have continually stated that the improved farming methods they learnt have helped them to take better care of their family, especially the widows.
The project successful tackled the flooding/erosion problems on farmlands in these south-eastern communities of Nigeria, women were in the fore front of the project intervention. Gully erosion along the major road in the community constituted a major problem to the villagers, most especially it contributed to the hardship faced by women in going to their farms and markets and the children getting to their schools
The women and youths were engaged in channelling of the water by construction of drainage to help control the gully erosion while sand-filling, landscaping with tree/grass planting helped reclaim devastated farm roads. The Women were also taught about the danger/effect of falling trees for fire, so they were taught on alternative resource of cooking such as them using cooking stoves, coal and making of mud stove which will use very little fire wood for those who could not afford to buy stove or coal. They are now leading advocacy campaign in their community and to neighbouring communities educating other women about how destroying of their forest will aid climate change and the effect of climate change to their lives and communities.
Hand on Projects (Direct Intervention on affected farmlands) where there below listed activities was carried-out.
The Project went a long way in addressing the flooding/erosion problems in the community using flooding/erosion control and conservation measures to reduce the erosion on the affected farm lands. As a result of this SGP funding the following objectives are been met
Apart from the flooding/erosion problems in this community the people practice continuous cultivation on a particular piece of land yearly which have affected the fertility and nutrient of the farmlands . Thus it was necessary for us to work with affected farmers in rebuilding the fertility of the degraded soils through planting of legumes/cover crops, practicing of mixed cropping, application of manure, especially the making of compost manual and applying it in their farms.
The project has achieved a lot based on indicators in the project work plan. We have taught 4 farmers each from 13 villages in Amauzari Community making it 52 farmers who are working with us in their respective villages to reach others with problems of flooding/erosion in their farmlands which has lead to the productive topsoil lost, crop yield lost, nutrients depletion and low productivity in farms. As a result of this project intervention this problems have been tackled.
Among the achievement are as follows:
The farmers have been educated on methods that should be used to control the problems on their farmlands and was demonstrated on the field during the field exercise which is tailored towards rebuilding the fertility of the degraded or flooded soils, water management technique on how to manage their soil to prevent water-logging and land reclamation techniques using conservation measures, cut off drainages and water collection centres/borrow pits.
The farmers and other stake-holders were trained on the above mentioned methods that is used to control the problems on farmlands which was practicalized on their farmlands so that they can subsequently carry-out such intervention on their own and also for them to train others in their villages.
Lots of changes were seen during and after the project intervention on those participants’ farmlands. Crops that where showing symptoms of stunted growth/yellowing leafs signifying lack of nutrient as a result of leaching are now growing well which will lead to a bumper harvest. Some of the crops are Cassava, yam, cocoyam, maize, vegetables, plantain, banana, melon, palm plantation, pineapple.
20 Abandoned farmlands as a result of high flooding/erosion are now being cultivated. Flooding along foot paths and roads about 200 meters leading or near affected farmlands also benefited from the project intervention as they are now passable or motorable as a result of the digging of ditches/channels, water collection centres created and digging of borrow pits on both sides of farmlands the floods on the roads were also controlled.
Long term benefits:
The long term benefits are listed below:
New Developments and unexpected difficulties during the implementation of the project: None
Actions taken to solve them: N/A
We learnt that Community Participation is a key to project success and by ensuring that the host community take ownership of the project are key lesson we have learnt in the course of the project.