By Daniel Bebia,CRS-MOI Officer
Reporting from Min of Environment

The Cross River State Commissioner for Environment, Hon Mfon Bassey has expressed government's preparedness to collaborate with Solidaridad International to provide alternative source of livelihood to oil palm farmers so as to discourage further deforestation and mitigate global warming in the State.

Hon. Bassey stated this when he received in audience a team from Solidaridad International in his office in Calabar.

He said the Governor, Sir Ben Ayade being an environmental expert has put in place modalities to curb climate change through planting of five million trees annually.

The Commissioner stated  further that the visit was apt as it is in consonance with the Agro- industrialization drive of  Governor Ayade aimed at improving the living standards of the citizenry.

Hon Bassey, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Mr Effiom Ene-Obong expressed optimism that the collaboration with the organization through awareness creation and other aspects of the  collaboration will enable oil palm farmers and intending farmers to key into the programme to forestall further environmental degradation/ deforestation through land use plan.

Mr Kene Onukwube, Programme Manager Solidaridad International Organization said oil palm production has caused a lot of damage to the environment across the globe due to high level of sunlight it require to grow thereby resulting in deforestation.

He said the programme is aimed at addressing the damage which Cross River is among the eight States in Nigeria chosen  for the pilot programme owing to it vast arable land and increased development of oil palm plantation.

 Mr Onukwube further hinted that the targets of the organization is to enable government support and work with farmers towards a more sustainable climate-smart oil palm production, introduce innovations for improved downstream processing to increase palm oil extraction rate and quality access to finance, inputs and markets for oil palm smallholder farmers and SMEs.

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