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In response to the global crackdown on unsustainable agricultural practices, the Propcom+ initiative, backed by The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), is poised to revolutionize Nigeria’s landscape, saying Nigeria grapples with an alarming deforestation rate of 3.7%, primarily propelled by unsustainable agricultural practices.

The programme aims to uplift 4 million individuals from poverty, safeguard forests, and empower women entrepreneurs, set to begin early this year 2024.

During a recent high-profile workshop in Abuja, Edo State Governor Godwin Obaseki represented by the Commissioner for Environment, Joshua Omokhodion, and Kevin Uwaibi the Managing Director of the Edo State Investment Promotion Office (ESIPO), disclosed this to newsmen.

Uwaibi who outlined the pivotal priorities for this transformative initiative, said Edo state is celebrated for its strides in sustainable oil palm and forest preservation.

He added that the state has strategically identified three critical sectors for Propcom+ support: namely, forests, agriculture, and entrepreneurship.

“Edo’s strategic plan involves utilizing Propcom+ resources to fortify its invaluable forests, recognized as linchpins for environmental stability and economic growth. Additionally, the program will empower smallholder farmers through climate-smart practices and enhanced market access, bolstering productivity and resilience within the agricultural sector. A key focal point lies in elevating women entrepreneurs in agribusiness, fostering inclusive growth and unlocking their untapped potential. 

“Edo’s proactive stance underscores the urgency embedded within PropCom+’s mission. Nigeria grapples with an alarming deforestation rate of 3.7%, primarily propelled by unsustainable agricultural practices.

He noted that The Propcom+ initiative aims to reverse this harrowing trend, steering the narrative toward sustainable land use and climate-resilient agricultural methods.

“Further, unlock $210 million of financing from the African Development Bank Group (AfDB) for participating Nigerian states for the development of critical infrastructure and related activities under the Special Agro-industrial Processing Zones (SAPZ) programme.

“Beyond Edo’s pioneering efforts, Propcom+ extends its reach across an initial six states, targeting 4 million beneficiaries, with an equitable focus on women. Supported by a substantial £55 million commitment from the UK government, this audacious program aspires to preserve and rejuvenate forests; enhance smallholder productivity and food security; develop resilient agricultural systems adapted to climate challenges and empower women entrepreneurs to drive economic growth.

“This new Propcom+ initiative emerges as a pivotal opportunity for Nigeria to confront its multifaceted environmental and economic challenges head-on. Edo’s resolute leadership serves as a beacon for collaboration and collective action.

“As Propcom+ gears up for implementation, all stakeholders must converge, aligning their efforts to ensure the program’s triumphant success. This collective endeavour paves the path toward a greener, more prosperous future for Nigeria.”

According to him, The Propcom+ initiative underlines a transformative journey that demands united efforts to secure a sustainable and thriving future for Nigeria and its populace.”

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