BY; VITALIS UGOH,Calabar
A leading Non-governmental Organization (NGO) on issues concerning environment, Environment Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria and other stakeholders, have condemned the increasing rate of Monocultures in Nigeria.
Declaring a one day capacity building workshop open in Cross River, the Executive Director of the NGO, Dr. Godwin Uyi Ojo, called NGOs and its allies to in solidarity with social movements, networks and communities to raise their voices of residence against Monocultures expansion in Nigeria.
“Globally, he said, no to Monoculture is marked on September 21sr every year to draw attention to the impacts of Monoculture plantations on the environment, conservation and livelihood concerns of local communities”.
Ojo said “Monoculture tree plantation is bad because of the high level chemical inputs such as herbicides and pesticides which put the world food system at great risk.”
According to him, “it is also displacing small scale local farmers growing local Staples such as yam, cassava and plantain some of which are now outgrowers of oli palm for the big companies such as Wilmer PZ and Okomu Oil Palm company”.
He said, “no matter what, trees of the same species cannot make a forest”.
Therefore, he noted, “the rich biodiversity associated with nature/forest is lost in the case of Monocultures such as oil plantation. Also the expansion is endangering biodiversity such as butterflies and bees, the pandrullus monkeys and chimpanzees in Cross River and Edo states respectively”.
He declared “we raise our voices of resistance against the increasing illegal logging of trees and the appropriation of community lands government to make way for Monoculture agrocommodities that serve the interest of big agribusiness, multinational companies and to the detriment of the impacted communities”.
Rather, he said, “governments and other businesses should put people first other than profits”.
“The increasing expansion for monocrops especially oil palm plantation is colonising our forests and farmlands and eroding community sovereignty. Economic activities and demographic pressure on the scares land. It is the committee especially women that bears the brunt of deforestation from loss of timber and non timber forest products that they depend on in most cases in Edo and Cross River States where lands are given for oil palm plantation expansion”.
Earlier, the Comptroller Cross River State National Park, Coraline Olory, lauded the organisers of the capacity building workshop and described it as appropriate.
She said “the time has come for women to rise up and let their voices be heard and counted for”.
“As women, we are the ones to liberate ourselves and not our men. The women goes to the farm more frequently than the men. Therefore whatever that is happening to the forest and our farmlands must concern us”.
She urged them to form resistance groups in their various communities to stop the increasing expansion of Monoculture in the community.
Nigerian women are natural conservators.They can plant and replant in their farms and compound at any given the me. A natural woman never lack the herbs or vegetables in her closets. So therefore, she must do everything to make her voice to be heard and counted for”.
Stakeholders at the workshop also agreed that time has come for the voices of women to be heard against Monocultures and land grabbing. They condemned the increasing expansion of Monoculture in Cross River and Edo states.
About five special guests presented papers on the “The Impact of Deforestation and making women voices count against Monoculture and land grabbing”, during the workshop.
Hand bills with inscriptions “Our forest is our life”,Go green, save the planet” were distributed to participant.
Monoculture can cause loss of humans,animals and soils. It also affects the water, the oxygen we breathe as well as the carbon cycle too”
Participants were drawn from NGOs, Civil society Organisation, Media, Women groups, the traditional institutions and government amongst others.