Desertification: Nigeria loses 350,999 hectares of land annually, says NiMet .

Nigeria loses about 350,999 hectares of land to drought and desertification every year, the Nigerian Meteorological Agency announced on Tuesday.

According to NiMet,  many  parts of  the country  experience dry spell/drought periodically.

The agency  listed  the areas  as Sokoto, Kebbi, Katsina, Jigawa, Borno and Yobe states.

The Director-General, NiMet, Prof Sani Mashi, disclosed this at a stakeholders’ workshop on climate and weather information services in Nigeria organised by the agency in conjunction with the African Science for Weather Information and Forecasting Techniques in Abuja.

Mashi, who was represented at the workshop by the Director of Finance and Accounts, NiMet, Gabriel Jigah, explained that symptoms of periodic drought were also present in Mokwa, Niger State,  and Ogoja, Cross River State.

He said, “Also, food and nutrition security in Nigeria, as in most countries, is closely related to productivity in the agriculture sector, which unfortunately is one  of the most vulnerable sectors, following high susceptibility of its key resource bases – soil, land and water – to climate-related hazards such as flood and drought.

“For example, Nigeria loses approximately 350,999 hectares of land to drought and desertification annually, threatening the livelihood of millions of people, especially farmers, while increasing frequencies of coastal flood and storm surge are taking over its coastline at the rate of 30-40m land annually.”

Mashi, however, stated that  the  losses could be minimised by using early warning information such as NiMet’s Seasonal Rainfall Prediction.

The agency’s boss told participants at the workshop that the SRP was designed to provide relevant information for planning and  the execution of projects and programmes in various sectors of the economy, especially those that are sensitive to weather.

Mashi stated that agriculture, air transport, infrastructure construction, telecommunications and water resources were particularly sensitive to weather variability.

Source: Punch Newspaper

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