Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Battling Desertification in Katsina, Other States
News from Nigeria
Experts have warned that if not given serious attention, desertification which is currently ravaging Katsina and other northern states will affect agricultural projects and consequently exacerbate food crises would its attendant hunger and malnutrition. However, Katsina State has already put certain schemes in place to fight back the desert encroachment.
An environment-threatening phenomenon that, if left unchecked could lead to decline in agricultural production, exacerbates hunger and malnutrition, as well as increase level of existing poverty, is the menace of desertification and desert encroachment, especially in the northern parts of the country.
Recent study shows that desertification has encroached on a 1,650 square kilometers of land mass in the 19 northern states. At speed of 0.6 kilometers per year, fears are being expressed that, if drastic measures are not applied, the desert will in a matter of years spread to other parts of the country.
According to experts, the entire northern region, covering about 38 per cent of the country’s landmass, is at the risk of becoming inhabitable in the near future unless urgent steps are taken to stem the trend. There is also evidence to show that the effect of desertification is already taking its toll on plants, animals and humans.
Worst hit by the twin problem are states bordering Niger Republic, including Katsina, Kebbi and Sokoto States. Other states affected are Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Jigawa, Kano and Zamfara, which are buffeted by combined forces of north-eastern trade wind from the Sahara Desert and those originating from the local environment. The result is that heavy soil particles, which are swept away with no resistance due to lack of wind-breakers, are later deposited to form desert 'mountains' globally known as sand dunes.