Evidence shows that states in Northern Nigeria are more vulnerable to climate change than those in the South. In the Sahel Savannah zones of northern Nigeria, land is being lost to wind erosion and desert encroachment, increasing the risk of damaging food systems that are already vulnerable. If nothing is done food security will be affected and millions of farmers and their families impacted.
To start the process of protecting and restoring degraded lands in Northern Nigeria, the LINKS programme is piloting a Regenerative Agriculture (RegenAg) project. RegenAg is a system of farming principles and practices that increase biodiversity and enrich soils. RegenAg provides timely and location-specific solutions that enable farmers to adapt to a changing climate, while also restoring their lands and the ecosystem. RegenAg is driven by six core principles: understanding the context of farm operations, minimizing soil disturbance, maximizing crop diversity, providing soil cover, maintaining living roots all year round and integrating livestock.
RegenAg pilots are currently underway in Jigawa and Kano states. The pilots begun with training for 50 onboarding agents that took place in October 2021. The agents then onboarded 11,000 farmers onto an online platform driven by artificial intelligence. The platform will be used to analyse farms and provide tailored support and advice on implementing Regen Ag practices as well as responding to queries via short messaging services (SMS). The selected farmers currently produce sesame, hibiscus, and groundnuts mainly for export. In early 2022, an additional 20,000 farmers will be on-boarded and the crops expanded to include millet and sorghum to support food security.
The onboarding tool is available in English and Hausa. The tool is downloaded to the mobile phone of the onboarding agent who uses it to map farms and collect data on livelihoods.
Accessing Carbon Finance
The change in farming practices will be monitored and quantified for carbon gains and greenhouse emissions with the aim of generating the data necessary to implement a high-quality carbon project. This will provide the potential for raising significant financial resources through sales of carbon bonds which could finance additional investment to expand the area of land to be regenerated.