The Ogun State Government, France based In-Vivo Foundation and the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority, have signed a Letter of Intent, officialising the kick off of the "Ile Dotun" project implementation.
Aimed towards land revival, it is expected to restore the 108,000 hectares of degraded lands, belonging to the forest and game reserves of Imeko and Aworo in Ogun State.
The signing of the Letter of Intent, at the State House, Abuja, was part of highlights of the state visit of Mr. Emmanuel Macron, president of France, to Nigeria, yesterday.
Ogun State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, on behalf of the state, signed the letter for the partnership, the first structured initiative in Nigeria, towards concretising its engagement to achieve the Land Degradation Neutrality as an integral part of its Sustainable Development Goals 2015-2030 and in compliance with its engagement, contracted under the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification.
It is the first site among 13 identified as priorities to convert degraded lands into havens for nature, while producing food in a sustainable manner and creating attractive jobs and green economic growth.
Under the project, land will be allocated to restore natural forest ecosystems in order to protect water catchments and establish biological corridors as well as secured grazing areas for transhumant shepherds alongside all rivers.
Land will also be allocated to local communities, comprising 3000 small farms that will receive assistance for long-term land lease as well as financial and technical support to establish climate smart intensive agriculture and agroforestry systems, from the state government.
Private farmers groups and enterprises, seeking means to develop agroforestry and forestry activities, are also to benefit.
It is expected that more partnerships will follow in the coming months, to secure the financial and technical inputs, needed for the successful implementation of Ile Dotun, as a new agricultural development paradigm.
French entities are said to be involved in the project, while more are expected to join this important innovative initiative, paving the way to reconcile production, job creation and nature restoration.