The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in collaboration with the Ministry of the Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, on  Tuesday held a National Desertification Forum for stakeholders in the Northern Region.


The day’s forum was to increase the attention given to soil health for the attainment of food security, through investments in Sustainable Land and Water Management in the three Northern regions.


It also created the platform for participants to share ideas on promoting sustainable land and water management activities for farmers.


The forum was on the theme: “Invest in Sustainable Land and Water Management and Your Food Security is secured.”


Alhaji Limuna Mohammed-Muniru, Northern Regional Minister in a speech read on his behalf, said the three Northern regions were faced with environmental challenges caused by the depletion of soil fertility, as a result of unsustainable management of the endowed natural resources.


He said, “The effects of these challenges to the environment reduces crop production, which lead to hunger, displacement, and poverty and thereby put the youth out of job, who migrate to the south to seek non-existent jobs.”


He said the youth in the three Northern regions now saw illegal mining and street hawking more lucrative than engaging in farming, and stressed the need to educate them to have interest in farming.


Mr Mahama Ayariga, Minister of the Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation in a speech read on his behalf, said the degradation of soil was affecting the health of people and animals.


He indicated that rural households, especially those in the three Northern Regions, were mostly affected by land degradation, because they heavily depended on natural resources for their livelihoods, and called for attitudinal change to reverse the trend.


Mr Daniel Amlalo, Executive Director of EPA in a speech read on his behalf, indicated that, “Food security was not only a matter of food production and distribution, but required sustainable food system from sustainable ecosystem management, research, education and the application of appropriate technologies.”


He said well-managed land resources could increase agricultural productivity, and also supports the country's long-term food security.


He indicated that smallholder farmers, who safeguarded the environment and provided food, should have the rights to land and access to technology.


Source: GNA

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