Self-sufficiency of food in rural Nigeria has remained elusive in spite of the high potential for increasing food production by the expansion of areas under cultivation and improving productivity from existing cropped area. Over the years, Nigeria has had to resort to massive food importation evidenced by the rising food import bills. This is because; the level of food production no longer keeps pace with demand. Unfortunately, many conventional crops have failed and these failures will continue to increase as environmental conditions change (Climate change issues). There is therefore a need to strengthen the resilience of the rural poor in Nigeria to help them cope with the threats to food security thus eliminating hunger even in the midst of a changing climate.
Plants currently identified as “Indigenous”, “Neglected” and in most cases “Wild” can contribute significantly to improved health, nutrition, livelihood, food security and ecological sustainability. Very little is known about many of these species, the full development of their potentials is hampered by lack of awareness of the society, lack of relevant capacity with the research community as well as increased threats by global and local pressure due to over exploitation. Since they are unknown, they are most venerable to extinction. These Indigenous plant species are very popular and widely used in many local Nigerian dishes. Hence the high demand for these plants will lead to continuous exploitation of the forests in an unsustainable manner, which can be a major threat to food security in Nigeria
Our project hopes to secure the genetic resource base of Indigenous plants in Nigeria: A Community Plant Biodiversity “Back to the Roots Project” which will promote the SDGs especially Goal 2. Our work in establishing Home gardens or home farms model is a sure alternative to achieving this. As Nature is usually the primary and in most cases the only source of livelihood in rural communities, we hope to create home garden systems which will provide families with activities in traditional agroforestry practices vital to the reservoir of unique genetic diversity of indigenous plants. Hence Growing diverse plant species in home gardens will enhanced the use-value of the species to households as income generation, food, nutritional supplements and medicine.
In most cases, Households will created versatile small- and medium-sized enterprises that have ensured steady economic growth which has put no pressure to their surrounding forest environment. As a result of less pressure on the forest for livelihood, our initiatives will also create some ecotourism platforms which have provided jobs for the local communities creating new revenue streams.
In all, we will created a local base ecosystems which has greatly facilitated economic growth not only within the rural community but also beyond through trade of products from their home gardens. Due to decent packaging of their products, locals will see sales even on the shelves of super malls in urban areas. These little initiatives will in no small measure facilitate economic innovation within poor or undeserved groups, reducing and in most cases eliminate hunger and create opportunities for decent work for youth.
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