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Bello inaugurates planting of 3,000 hybrid shea trees in Niger

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Bello inaugurates planting of 3,000 hybrid shea trees in Niger

Gov. Abubakar Bello of Niger on Wednesday inaugurated the planting of 3,000 hybrid shea trees aimed at increasing the number of shea trees for economic transformation of the state.

Bello, while inaugurating the project at the Beji Parkland in Kodo, Bosso Local Government Area of the state, explained that the project was a pilot scheme in collaboration with the National Shea Products Association of Nigeria (NASPAN).

He explained that the global shea butter market had grown rapidly due to increased demand in making confectioneries, cosmetics and pharmaceutical products, amongst others.

Bello said that the state with the highest number of shea trees in the world would harness the comparative advantage of the economic trees and the value-chain which had potential of engaging thousands of women and youths across the state.

He said that 3,000 of the trees would be planted in phase one of the project to cover 20 hectares of land in which each hectare would accommodate 150 seedlings of the shea trees.

“The shea trees have some distinctive features such as short gestation period of five to seven years from the traditional 15 to 20 years. It also produces quality shea fruits and in more quantities.

“Therefore, this hybrid trees have the potential to turn around the economic fortunes of the state and Nigeria at large,” the governor said.

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He noted that through commercialisation of the seedling nursery, youths and women would be trained and equipped, leading to the development of shea seedlings particularly in shea communities around the Beji Shea Parkland.

Bello appealed to the host community to protect the project, saying that the law prohibiting felling of economic trees in the state had been in place to punish individual or group of people engaged in felling of economic trees.

Earlier, the Commissioner for Environment and Forestry, Dr Daniel Habila, decried the level of deforestation by some individuals, saying that the project would change the narrative.

“The shea trees will not only bring economic benefits to the state but will bring climate change mitigation benefits that will minimise the environmental impacts from carbon prints,” he said.

In his goodwill message, Alhaji Muhammad Ahmed, the National President of National Shea Products Association of Nigeria (NASPAN), said the project was initiated due to prevent indiscriminate felling of shea trees.

Ahmed noted that the project was targeted to plant 10 million shea trees in the next 10 years.

He said farmers would be allowed to farm on the Parkland while taking care of the shea trees, saying that the project would be spread across other communities in the state. 

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