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NGO warns against monoculture plantation, illegal logging in C/River

An environmental Non Governmental Organisation, Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria, has warned multinational companies to desist from the practice of monoculture in other to save the biodiversity.

Dr Godwin Ojo, Executive Director of the organisation, gave the warning on Monday in Akampka local government area of the state during an event held to mark the 2020 International “no to monoculture” day.

Ojo explained that Sept. 21st was observed globally every year to draw attention to the impacts of monoculture plantations on the environment, conservation and livelihoods concerns of rural communities.

He, who was represented by Dr Matthew Olory, the volunteer coordinator of Community Forest Watch, said that “monoculture tree plantation is bad because of the high level chemical inputs such as herbicides and pesticides which put the world food system at great risk”.

He added that monoculture was also displacing small scale local farmers growing crops such as yam, cassava and plantain.

“The Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria and its allies stand in solidarity with social movements, networks and communities to raise our voices of resistance against monoculture expansion that is increasing on a daily basis.

“No matter what, trees of similar species cannot make a forest. Therefore, the rich biodiversity associated with natural forests is lost in the case of monoculture such as oil palm plantations.

“The expansion is also endangering biodiversity such as butterflies and bees.

“Also, the pandrillus monkeys and chimpanzees in Cross River and the slaters guenon and elephants in Okomu forest reserve in Edo have come under severe threat due to palm oil plantations.

“We also raise our voices of resistance against the increasing illegal logging of trees.

“The appropriation of community lands by government to make way for monoculture agro commodities that serves the interest of big agribusiness multinational companies and to the detriment of the impacted communities,” he said.

He urged government at all levels and multinational companies to put “people first” rather than profit.

Speaking, a Director from the state Forestry Commission, Dr Ekpeyong Ita, said the issue of monoculture has been a major threat of biodiversity in the state.

Ita stressed that if monoculture is allowed to go on, it would destroy the biodiversity and make the state lose its virgin forests.

He called for a concerted effort from all individuals and stakeholders in protecting the forests.

The Controller of National Park in Cross River, Mrs Caroline Olory, said that the state has the largest of the remaining rainforest in Nigeria.

Olory, who maintained that forest preservation should be collective, called for the sustainability in the fight against deforestation in the state.

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