‘Over 40 per cent of Africa’s land degraded by desertification’

The Chairman, House Committee on Environment and Habitat, Obinna Chidoka, has said over 40 per cent of Africa’s land resources, especially in the Sahara and Sahel are degraded due to desertification and poor land utilisation.

Chidoka stated this recently in Abuja at the African Union Commission (AUC) Regional Steering Committee Meeting of the Great Green Wall for the Sahara and Sahel Initiative (GGWSSI).

Land, according to him, is an invaluable resource and critical to the existence of man, especially in Africa, where it is estimated that about 83% of rural Sub-Saharan Africans derive their means of livelihood from the land.

He said the inevitable socio-economic and political consequences of degradation of the land have manifested in the form of abject poverty, famine, crime, unending conflicts and migrations.

“The impact of degradation of the all-important land resource has been harsh, threatening our way of life that remains heavily dependent on agriculture, livestock and rainfall, with far-reaching consequences on food security, health and safety,” Chidoka said.

“The Sahara and Sahel regions are most vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change, which include decreased rainfall and extreme weather conditions,” he added.

The lawmaker who commended the foresight of the African leaders on the GGWSSI initiative, however noted that the task ahead is daunting, with studies showing that the Sahara desert is currently advancing southward at an estimated rate of 600 metres per annum.

“It would appear that progress has been slow, given the task ahead. The GGWSSI can do much more, with improved funding, cooperation and support, especially from member countries, multilateral agencies and the international donors,” he said.

– Daily Trust

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