The Katsina State Government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with a Malaysia-based firm, Bionas, under which 199 million dollars would be spent to battle desertification in the state.
Speaking at the signing of the MoU on Tuesday in Katsina, Governor Aminu Masari said the money would be used to fight desert encroachment in 11 frontline Local Government Areas (LGAs) and mitigate the negative effects of climate change.
According to him, the project is focused on the implementation of Jatropha Agropolitan clean energy business clusters in the Nigeria Great Wall Africa project in the state.
He said that the project was the first of its kind in Nigeria and would help greatly in actualising the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Number 13.
According to Mr Masari, SDG Number 13 is climate action to mitigate the impact of climate change, especially areas with drought, erratic rainfall and desert encroachment.
“The main benefit of planting and investing in the project is to ensure there is a secure society to mitigate the effect of climate change.
“The result of the successful implementation of the project will launch the state into an enviable height among states in the country.
“Katsina State will also be the pride of the nation since it is the first time such a project is happening on the African soil,” he said.
According to the governor, the plant is usually used for demarcation of cattle routes in the past, adding that the plant will help in tackling climate change.
He said with the use of technology, planting and harvesting would take up to six months and the plant could survive for 35 years.
Signing the documents on behalf of the state government, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Agriculture, Abba Abdullahi, said the project would be implemented in 11 desertification-prone LGAs.
He listed the LGAs to include Batsari, Baure, Daura, Dutsinma, Jibiya, Kaita, Katsina, Mai’adua, Mashi, Zango and Sandamu. He added that the project has two components, pointing out that the state government would only provide the land for the project.
Mr Abdullahi expressed the hope that the project, which was initiated four years ago, would be replicated in other parts of the country after its successful implementation in the Katsina State.
Signing on behalf of his company, Cherry Mohammed, commended the state government for going for the project.
He assured the government that Bionas would execute the project, as agreed.