In the wake of the need to diversify the economy which have recently suffer setbacks due to plummeting oil price, stakeholders in the agricultural sector have emphasized the benefits of tree planting to build a virile economy.
Tree planting, they argue, could be a major source of revenue to governments if given needed attention and implementation.
Tree planting formed the theme of discussion at the one-day seminar organized by the Lagos State Parks and Gardens Agency (LASPARK) held at the Adeyemi Bero Auditorium, Ikeja recently.
The Lagos state commissioner for Environment, Dr Samuel Adejare in his keynote address said that the seminar is important at a critical time that the nation is striving hard to diversify the economy away from mono-economy, that is, dependence on oil.
“Tree planting is therefore one of the most valuable tools available to help transform unhealthy cities into healthy ones and improved agricultural productivity resulting in high yielding improved economic plants to enhance profitable sustainable agriculture.” He noted.
In their presentations, Prof. Musiliu Onilude of the Department of agriculture, University of Ibadan (UI) and Dr. Julius Agboola of University of Lagos (UNILAG), both of whom consult for the state government on its tree planting project took the audience through the means, benefits, challenges and solutions to tree planting in Nigeria.
Prof. Musiliu posited that trees deserve to be at the heart of policies in the country because of their numerous benefits.
“Tree planting has so many benefits to our environment. It counters climatic change and severe weather; it moderates temperature, reduces pollution and also reduces wind and soil erosion.
“On the economic part, it can create business and employment through; timber business, tourism, animal husbandry, medicinal uses among other benefits.”
He emphasized that government at all levels should take a deliberate effort at incorporating tree planting into their core policies.
“The government should take the following steps; tree planting campaign, implementing tree planting programmes into school curriculum, research development, relaxation of land tenure system, establishment of more national parks and game reserves and establishment of tree nurseries at every local government areas.”
On his part, Dr. Julius proposed that tree planting should be made compulsory for houses and streets in Lagos state and other parts of the country.
He said “the future of Lagos state and its people are highly dependent on the environment. We should state as law that any street or property owner should plant a tree at least.”
He enjoined the populace to avoid planting near electric poles as it could disrupt power supply and charged the state government to embark on rapid urban forestation.
Earlier, the General Manager of LASPARK, Mrs Abimbola Jijoho-Ogun has stated that the major objective of the seminar is to improve the working relationship between the state government, the organized private sector and all stakeholders.