Sterling Bank has concluded plans to collaborate with the Federal Government to carry out tree planting exercises in three northern states in the country.
This, Business Post learnt, is part of the Bank’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), which focuses on the environment and helps in tackling desertification in the region.
The initiative which the bank is carrying out in conjunction with the government, is also in line with the United Nation’s Sustainable Developmental Goals for environmental preservation, and a way of challenging other private institutions to support the initiative.
Experts have described desertification as the degradation of drylands. It involves the loss of biological or economic productivity and complexity in croplands, pastures, and woodlands. It is due mainly to climate variability and unsustainable human activities.
The most commonly cited forms of unsustainable land use are over-cultivation, overgrazing, deforestation, and poor irrigation practices
According to a statement from Sterling Bank, the Executive Governors of the three flag-off states; Plateau, Bauchi and Gombe have confirmed participation at the events and the novel occasion will hold on Tuesday August 23, 2016 in Jos and Wednesday August 24, 2016 in Bauchi respectively.
The Bank in a statement signed by its Group Head, Strategy and Communications, Mr Shina Atilola, emphasized the need for the private sector to support the government at all levels to checkmate the rising challenges posed by desertification in the country.
According to him, statistics have shown that a quarter of the earth’s surface is threatened by desertification and out of the 909,890 km2 of the country’s land area, about 580,841 km2 accounting for 63.83 per cent is impinged on by desertification.
He added that extensive cultivation, deforestation, overgrazing, cultivation of marginal land and bush burning were the major causes of desertification.
He also spoke on the effects of desertification. “Desertification has done a lot of damage to the local communities as it has made farming impossible in the affected areas leading to food shortage and rising cost of food items. Without food and water, it becomes harder for people to thrive.
The Sterling Bank Chief Strategist who disclosed that research has shown that tree planting is the most viable solution to stemming the tide of desertification, reiterated the need to increase awareness on the scourge at local, national and global levels especially as, “the challenge remains a significant global ecological and environmental problem that must be checkmated.”