The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) recently demonstrated to some communities in the Orashi region of Rivers State on how they can utilize water hyacinths to boost food production.
The occasion was the organization of a two day training covering concepts and techniques in production of Organic fertilizer from water hyacinth in Rivers State organised by the UNDP in collaboration with Environment and climate change Amelioration Initiative (ECCAI) under the Niger Delta Biodiversity project (NDBP) at Ahoada.
According to environmental experts the weed not only encourages the breeding of insects, snakes and rodents but also affects communities within the environment.
Thus the effort of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) was to prove to communities that the weed is not really a menace but a source of raw material that can be used to improve farming.
Historical evidence had it that the plant has spongy and bulbous stalks with its roots hanging freely in the water originated from South America.
According to Abbassi and Nispney (1986), water hyacinths) is the most reproductive plant in the world. Gumarsson and Petersen, 2005 also reported that the plant can reproduce both sexually and asexually and seeds germinate within six months with dry conditions promoting germination.
Meanwhile declaring the event opened, the representative of UNDP, Mr. Raymond Enunwaonye said that the seminar was to teach communities in the State of the importance of the plant in food production.
Mr. Enunwaonye said that the UNDP is working hard to ensure that communities in the Niger Delta take advantage of their abundant natural resources to improve their economy.
According to him, the moment communities become aware of the usefulness of the plant in the production of composit manure, its ravaging effect in the rivers streams and lakes will be reduced.
He urged representatives of farmers cooperatives societies as well as environmentalists who attended the training to note every detail with a view to transmitting the knowledge acquired to their various communities.
In her paper entitled’, “making wealth from water hyacinth, the Director Environment And Climate Change, Amelioration Initiative (ECCLI), Mrs Victoria Esa, described water hyacinth as one of the World’s most invasive aquatic plants which has caused significant ecological and socio-economic problem.
Mrs Essa said that, “As a result of its proliferation, this plant cover large portion of water and threaten the survival of other aquatic species because the dense mat formed by its clusters block the penetration of sunlight into the water”.
She listed the negative effects of the plant to the aquatic environment to include; reduction in fishing activities.
“Their presence also block animals and other species that serve as food to animals from accessing the water.
“Fishing activities are greatly affected also because it has been observed that in areas where there is great infestation of water hyacinth, the water is still warm and fishes tend to disappear.
“Such water bodies have also been noted suit the prevalence of reptiles she said.
Essa however said that all hope is not lost as the plant can be utilised by riverine communities in the production of food.
She listed some of the uses of the plant to include, bio fuel generation Riverstock fodder as well as feed as for cat fish fingerlings.
Other uses according to her are, as bedding to grow mushroom, water purification either for drinking sewage system as well as in the production of ropes.
In the area of compost production, Essa said that the plant is a good absorber of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium from the water and therefore serves as a good composit material.
The ECCA Director also said that communities along the River Benue are already using the plant to produce composit manure for their crops, stressing that the situation can be replicated in the Niger Delta.
On his part, on Environmentalists, Mr. Simeon Ighodaro stressed the need for both the state and local governments in the Niger Delta to encourage their communities in the conversion of the plant for compost manure.
Mr. Ighodaro sid that by so doing, the government will not only be empowering their people to remove the plant from their water sources, but boosting food production in their states and local Government Areas.
He used the occasion to commend the United Nations Developments Programme (UNDP) for sensitizing communities on the importance of the weed in food production.
Also speaking the coordinator National Orientation Agency incharge of Ogba Egbema/Ndoni local Government area, Chief Ifeanyi Nweye said that the seminar will provide him with the necessary tools to sensitize the people of the area on the importance of the plant in farming.
He also charged those present at the training to partner with the National Orientation Agency in their various Local Government Areas to ensure proper dissemination of information on the use of the plant.
Representatives of the various cooperative societies who attended the workshop thanked the UNDP for bringing the knowledge to them.
They also pledged to use the knowledge gained from the event to improve the agriculture in their communities.
Participants described the workshop as a welcome development, especially coming at a time when the nation is diversifying from oil to Agriculture.
Geoscientists Make Case For Clean Energy
The Nigerian Mining and Geosciences Society (NMGS), has called on Nigeria and other African nations to focus on minerals that are critical to transition to clean and green energy.
Newly inducted President of the society, Alabo Charlesye David Charles said this in Port Harcourt shortly after his induction as the 31st President of the society.
Charles also stressed the need for further linkages between the mining sector and the economy through the development and implementation of the local content policies that promote domestic production of inputs as well as value addition through manufacturing skills building, domestic job creation and participation of small and medium enterprises within the value chain.
According to him, “value addition is pivotal to lifting a good percentage of our people from poverty through the activities of the extractive sector.
Charles said multinational mining companies should be encouraged to engage more closely with local small and medium enterprises (SMEs), as well as micro businesses as suppliers in the mines value chain.
He said the Mining and Geosciences Society (NMGS) is ready to partner the stakeholders in the development of the upstream sector of the industry by providing a specialized pool of professionals that policy makers in both the public and private sectors can rely on for quality interventions and delivery.
The NMGS 31st President also called for continuous massive investment in the mining sector
“In Nigeria, from statistics obtained from NAPIMS show already declining investment. So if there is no fresh capital for either brown field or Greenfield investment, we cannot grow production
“If we don’t grow production, the consequence is that we are building a short supply for tomorrow” he said.
Out-gone president of the society, Engr. Simon O. Nkom thanked members for the confidence reposed on the out-gone executive.
Nkom said the NMGS has come of age and calls on members to support the new executive to enable it execute more programmes for the society.
Earlier, Chairman of the occasion, Chief Ferdinand Alabraba said the ceremony will usher in a new era as far as the society is concerned.
Alabraba who was represented by Engr. Main David West said Geoscientists and civil engineers have a lot in common, adding that they must work together to develop the society.
Also speaking, Chairman local organizing committee of the ceremony, Prof. Winston Belgam said the ceremony was a big success.
He said the vision of the new president will transform the society and the mining industry in Nigeria.
By: John Bibor
A’Ibom Spends N10bn On Erosion Control – Commissioner
The Akwa Ibom State Government has spent N10 billion on erosion control projects in the state in the last nine months, the Commissioner for Environment, Mr Charles Udoh has said.
Udoh told The Tide source in Eket that the money was spent on two major sites – Etim Umana erosion and St. Luke Hospital control projects.
“In the last nine months or so, we have spent close to N10 billion on erosion and the two major sites are Etim Umana Erosion and St. Luke Hospital erosion control projects,’’ he said.
The commissioner noted that businesses, houses and critical infrastructure had been displaced by erosion and flood in the areas.
According to him, more cities in Akwa Ibom are prone to gully erosion due of the natural topography and soil texture in those locations.
“This automatically means that whenever there is down pour, we are in the rain belt, gully erosion will become a problem,’’ he said.
He said building of houses on the right of way and farming on the slope of gully were some causes of gully erosion.
Udoh said the IBB Avenue flood control project, if not checked, could have a spill effect on erosion control.
“We are receiving a major drain to evacuate flood water because if you allow flood water to be there (IBB avenue) for a long time, it will begin to heat the crux of the earth surface.
“Then erosion will begin to prick in, especially in a place like Uyo that the soil texture is loose,’’ Udoh said.
The commissioner said the state government had rescued more than 100 houses, entire St. Luke and School of Nursing in Etim Umana from erosion.
On ecological issue, he noted that the state government alone could not solve the state’s erosion problem, adding that it was seeking for intervention (ecological funds) to do that.
World Desertification Day: FG Restates Commitment To Tackle Environmental Challenges
The Federal Government has reiterated its commitment to ensuring lasting solution to environmental challenges by adopting a sustainable land management practices across the country.
Minister of Environment, Dr Mohammad Abubakar, spoke at the commemoration of 2021 World Desertification and Drought Day, organised by his ministry in Abuja.
Abubakar said the government had developed policies, plans building institutional and legislative capacities to enhance effective and far-reaching actions to reduce the impacts of desertification and drought on the citizenry.
According to him, government recognises the importance of partnership in tackling desertification and it has facilitated the involvement of other actors, including the private sectors as well as donor organisations.
Abubakar said the government was concerned about the disruption of ecological system caused by poor land use, population pressure and the devastating activities of insurgents in the North-Eastern part of the country.
He said that the government was also worried about the dire consequences of land degradation, loss of lives and means of livelihood and had put in place the North-East Development Commission.
Abubakar added that the effort was to restore human dignity and bring succour to the people living in the area.
He urged Nigerians to cultivate the culture of planting trees as well as ensuring that any tree cut down was replaced, as this would serve as protection from windstorm and erosion.
Matazu said that the effort would help to protect fragile ecosystem and ensure sustainable environmental development of the country.
The theme of the 2021 World Desertification and Drought Day is: ‘Restoration, Land, Recovery’, ”We Build Better with Healthy Land’’.
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