ARADIN Empowers Many, Plant Thousands Of Trees In Cross River Communities 

In Breaking News, Reports

By Patrick Obia

A community-based non-profit organization focused on forest conservation and community livelihood development, Africa Research Association, Managing Development in Nigeria (ARADIN) has empowered four communities and members in Obanliku Local Government Area of Cross State.

Kigol, Okpazange, Ogbakoko, and Keji-Ukwu – the benefitting four out of the 16 communities that make up the Becheve Clan in Obanliku LGA were assisted with livelihood support of livestock and cassava processing machines.

The three-day exercise kicked off on Monday 5th of June, a day marked to celebrate World Environment Day, the NGO also inspected 10,000 seedlings of various indigenous species to be planted as well as already planted 65,000 trees in the four communities to rejuvenate the extinct forests.

The organization educated community members on the need to protect and preserve their rich forests. Thus, a few community members of all ages were drafted in as members of the Forest Management Committee (FMC) to help monitor indiscriminate farming, fire-tracing deforestation, hunting, and others.

The 100,000 Tree Planting Project

The organization which has existed on the hills of Obanliku for about 20 years (2004) in this project, is poised to plant over one hundred thousand (100,000) indigenous trees in the communities.

The Project Administrator of ARADIN, Mrs. Mary Undebe said the project titled: ‘Promoting Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Livelihood in Obudu Plateau said there need to plant over 100,000 trees to recover the ranch forests which are soon losing their glory.

With 30 families empowered with two goats each and three communities with cassava processing machines, she said it is to make dwellers shy away from the forest and have other means of livelihood.

Mrs. Mary urged the beneficiaries to hold dearly what they have been given.

She said: ” It is for them to sustain this activity. We will be very happy to see the cassava engine running and may be able to buy other ones to add because the population is actually huge and we want to have one in each of the communities instead of the centralized one. We have trained some of them and we even want to train more and retrain,” she advised.

Also speaking, ARADIN’s Project Coordinator, Mr. Lawrence Osong said the quest to restore the degrading Ranch forests is what spurred the NGO to embark on the tree planting project.

“That shows the temperature is increasing; the Ranch runs a temperature of 9 to 23 degrees centigrade as the highest but now it can rise to 25-26, meaning climate change is really entering because of deforestation. We came in to see how we can restore the degrading forest estate and alongside improve the livelihood of the people.”

He said the first regeneration area in Ogbakoko is about 9.27 hectares wide while the second area is 2.3 kilometers wide all in Mete and Waterfall forests.

“At the Ranch, we have regeneration site 1, with 27.3 hectares coverage, Okpazange with 8.9 hectares, Kigol site 1, has 9.16, and Kigol site 2, has 33 hectares coverage. All these places we intend to plant indigenous trees and also put them in full-time restoration,” he added.

A Happy Moment For The Communities

The smiles that greeted the faces of the people of Kigol, Okpazange, Ogbakoko, and Keji-Ukwu – the benefitting four communities were as beautiful as the weather that graced the official commissioning and handing over of the cassava processing machines and goats.

Kigol, Okpazange, and Kiju-Ukwu are dominant farmers who are faced with the challenge of processing their cassava and often travel about 14 kilometers to Ugbakoko to process cassava.

Shortly after commissioning the cassava processing facility, the Chief of the Ranch and Clan Head of Becheve, HRH Chief Sunday Ichile thanked ARADIN for the kind gesture.

Chief Sunday said apart from the machines provided, the organization has helped them to recover their lost forests through conservation and tree planting.

“In the Ranch, about three communities find it very difficult in terms of farming. We farm far away from the Ranch because we want to maintain the forests. We used to go all the way to Ogbakoko to process our cassava but today, they have provided our own processing machines here. It is counted as one of the happiest days for the people of the Ranch. Today it is commissioned and we are happy,” he expressed.

Agnes Kachu, Women Leader of Okpazange said the tree planting and the machines will help women in her community process cassava easily and quickly. Adding that they will save their huge transport fares for something else.

Napoleon Imbush, Forest Management Committee Chairman of Kigol Community said they will continue to apply what they have been thought by the NGO about tree planting, acknowledging that they fell trees in time past without knowing the ripple effect.

The project is funded by One Tree Planted through the Afri100 Trerra Match Fund, in partnership with World Resources Institute and Realize Impact.

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