World Biodiversity Day: Expert stresses need for Nigeria to engage more in Agroforestry

By Chidinma Ewunonu-Aluko, Ibadan

As the world observes Biodiversity Day, a Conservationist, Gene Bank Curator, at National Horticultural Research Institute (NIHORT), Ibadan, Dr Olagorite Adetula, has stressed the need for Nigeria to engage more in Agroforestry to restore biodiversity.

Adetula made the remark on Monday while presenting a keynote address at the World Biodiversity Day celebration organised by Initiative For Biodiversity Conservation In Sub-Saharan Africa (IBCSSA), held in Ibadan.

The programme was organised for some Secondary School students and Adetula spoke on the theme "From Agreement To Action; Build Back Biodiversity".

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that biodiversity can be refered to varieties of plants and animals on earth.

The Gene Bank Curator called on all including students to join the government and imbibe the culture of planting trees and plants to build back biodiversity.

She remarked that the trees which people cut without replacing helped to save wind break and played many significant roles in the environment.

Adetula noted that restoring degraded habitats and initiatives such as reforestation and wet land restoration were essential for biodiversity conservation.

Adetula also emphasises the need to involve the young ones to understand the importance of going into agriculture so that there would be young hands to restore the country's biodiversity.

She also urged the government to work more on cocoa plantation for industrial purposes to avoid it going into extinction.

She highlighted the factors to build back biodiversity to include: protection of land, ocean and forests.

She however urged the students to be advocates of biodiversity conservation and enlightenment by planting gardens even at their homes.

In her welcome address, the Initiator Of IBCSSA, Prof. Funmilola Ajani, says biological diversity resources are the pillars upon which we build civilization while over 80 per cent of the human diet is provided by plants.

Ajani said biodiversity loss could expand zoonoses- diseases transmitted from animals to humans while on the other hand, it offers excellent tools to fight against pandemics such as those caused by coronaviruses, if well kept intact.

"While there is a growing recognition that biological diversity is a global asset of tremendous value to future generations, the number of species is being significantly reduced by certain human activities.

"Given the importance of public education and awareness about this issue, the UN decided to celebrate the International Day for Biological Diversity annually.

"Today, we have gained more knowledge of the theme, biodiversity is the air we breathe, the food we eat, the water we drink and so much more,"  Ajani said.

The highlights of the event were quiz competition among the students on biodiversity, video/play on biodiversity conservation and creation of Young Biodiversity Conservation club among the students. (NAN)

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