NSIA, Lafarge Africa Partner To Support Ogun State Forest Landscape Restoration Project | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Agribusiness, Agriculture, Business

NSIA, Lafarge Africa Partner To Support Ogun State Forest Landscape Restoration Project

Posted: Sep 18, 2015 at 12:10 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Oyeniran Apata,


The Ogun State Government in partnership with the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) and Lafarge Africa Plc has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the joint development of the Ogun State Forest Landscape Restoration Project.

Signed during a state visit of President Muhammadu Buhari to France, the MOU would enable the creation of a legal entity to develop the project, engage development agencies and climate change funds, and promote it to large agriculture and forestry investors.

At maturity, the project is set to transform 108,000 hectares of heavily degraded land into an arable green area. It is designed to employ innovative approaches to achieve best-of-breed environmental, social and economic results. The scheme’s uniqueness rests in the way it combines land restoration with business development objectives by applying the latest findings of agro-ecology and agroforestry.

The government explained that the first part of the area will be rehabilitated through mixed reforestation to provide biodiversity hotspots corridors, allowing nomadic herders to cross the area with their herds and encouraging subsistent farming.

The other part is expected to be leased to agro-industrial investors interested in the development of large-scale tree crop such as cocoa, coffee, rubber and oil palm as well as annual crops such as maize, sesame, cotton and cassava amongst others. Forestry projects within strict social and environmental guidelines may also be considered.

In his remarks, Ogun State governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun stated that, ‘The restoration and enhancement of our forests benefits the environment and creates jobs in rural communities.

“Increasing the pace and scale of restoration of forests is critically needed to address a variety of threats – including fire, climate change, deforestation and others – for the benefit of our ecosystems and forest-dependent communities. This project will show that enterprise and achieving strong mitigation are mutually supportive in tropical agriculture.

Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority, Mr. Uche Orji, stated that ‘the NSIA Act permits us to participate in infrastructure projects of this nature. We are therefore committed not only to promoting economic development but also to stimulating greater environmental responsibility through the projects we support and participate in.

“We view this project as an important investment in sustainable development and remain focused on facilitating incremental participation in initiatives that reduces carbon foot print across the country and reverse deforestation for the benefit of future generations of Nigerians’.

Also speaking, Group Managing Director/CEO Lafarge Africa, Mr. Peter Hoddinott, stated that the organisation’s strong commitment to the environment and social sustainability in its areas of operations had led the company to naturally support the Ogun State project.

Promising a strong positive impact on the issues, particularly on climate change, Hoddinott said the use of agro-ecology and agro-forestry principles in the projects would increase the company’s productivity, ensure the land becomes one of Nigeria’s best carbon capture areas and generate biomass waste that Lafarge intends to use to fire its cement kilns.

In December 2015, France will host the 21st Session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

The confab will aim to achieve a binding agreement to keep global warming below 2°C. In that context, the Ogun State Forest Landscape Restoration Project is a pioneering initiative demonstrating how a private group can join force with proactive public entities to launch sustainable projects and will position Nigeria as an African leader to launch sustainable Climate Change PPP projects.