Biochar Production: NCF Partners Canadian High Commission in Training 50 Women, Youth

The Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) says it has partnered the Canadian High Commission’s Fund for Local Initiatives in training 50 women and youth from various communities on Biochar production from rice waste in Kwara.

The NCF Head of Communication, Mr Oladapo Soneye, stated this in a statement on Wednesday in Ilorin, saying that the training is in partnership with the Canadian High Commission’s Canada Fund for Local Initiatives.

He said the training covered production, packaging, use, and marketing of briquette and contributes in these three key areas of energy security by developing alternative and sustainable energy source for the communities, thereby dissuading them from cutting down trees for firewood.

Others include climate change mitigation from reduction in emissions of greenhouse gases; economic development with the improvement of livelihoods of over 10,000 inhabitants of these rural areas especially women and youths through fruits and biochar enterprise.

According to the statement, participants in the biochar training are also organised into community biochar women cooperative groups where they will have access to seed funding to set up the biochar enterprise in the beneficiary communities of Agboro, Latayi and Koro in Pategi Local Government Area of Kwara.

Soneye explained that NCF had kicked-off the nature-based recovery and climate resilience project earlier in January around River Kampe Forest Reserve with a community need and attitude assessment as well as the establishment of Site Support Groups in the three communities.

He said this resulted into understanding the need of the community around household energy, unemployment, knowledge gap in biodiversity monitoring which informed the design and implementation of the project.

“NCF has established three native/economic tree nursery across the three target communities with the planting of locust beans and cashew tree seeds.

“Our goal of raising 15,000 native economic seeds have been achieved while the communities will lead the planting of these seedlings by the onset of raining season in April across their agrological landscapes.

“In the long term, NCF will be increasing the number of seedlings raised to about one million seedlings over the next two years.

“These fruit trees would provide long term healthy nutrition, economic and environmental support for these communities to address biodiversity loss and climate change.

“On the Key Biodiversity Area training conducted, NCF organised a capacity building workshop on wildlife monitoring, data collection, recording, and reporting for 30 forest officers and youth selected from these communities who will become Site Support Groups.

“This Site Support Group in addition to job employment will help the Kwara State Ministry of Environment close the biodiversity data gap already identified in River Kampe and be able to plan for its long-term conservation action,” the statement said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that River Kampe Forest is a forest reserve located at Pategi, Kwara.

Despite the Federal Government’s intervention to upgrade River Kampe Forest Reserve (RKFR) to a National Park, there remains unsustainable practice within the three Support Zone Communities.

The Forest Reserve, important for safe drinking water to over 1 million people in the area, supports irrigation for crop and livestock farming, but lacks sustainable management practice.

However, in collaboration with the Kwara Ministry of Environment, NCF is organising a Stakeholders Workshop to commemorate the International Day of Forest, on March 23, in Ilorin.

The statement said the NCF objective is to embark on activities to tackle climate change in the grassroot communities of River Kampe National Park.

The objectives of the project are building resilience for vulnerable three support zone communities to the impact of climate change through nature-based solutions. (NAN)

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