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Nigeria

 

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Biodiversity Education and Resource Centre

Country: Nigeria

Year of establishment: 2014

Type of organization: Community-based association or organization

Website: http://www.bercnigeria.com.ng

Descripción

Biodiversity Education and Resource Centre (BERC) is a think tank, not-for-profit-centre. The centre houses a network of scientists with the mandate of carrying out biodiversity research, education and land rights issues in Nigeria. The Centre is on the forefront of providing empirical data for research and awareness on the sustainable utilization and conservation of the Nigerian Biological Resources.

Their work in securing the genetic resource base of indigenous plants in Nigeria A Community Plant Biodiversity “Back to the Roots Project” has over the past years helped in the promotion of the SDGs. Their work in establishing home gardens or home farms model have proven to help in this.

As nature is usually the primary and in most cases the only source of livelihood in rural communities, BERC has created a home garden system which has provided families with activities in traditional agroforestry practices vital to the reservoir of unique genetic diversity of indigenous plants. Hence, growing diverse plant species in home gardens has enhanced the use-value of the species to households as income generation, food, nutritional supplements and medicine.

In most cases, households have created versatile small and medium-sized enterprises that have ensured steady economic growth which has put no pressure to their surrounding forest environment. As a result of less pressure on the forest for livelihood, their initiatives have created some ecotourism platforms which have provided jobs for the local communities, creating new revenue streams.

In all, they have created a local base ecosystems which has greatly facilitated economic growth not only within the Umuanunu Obinze Forest Community, Imo State Nigeria but also beyond the community through trade of products from their home gardens. Due to decent packaging of their products, locals have seen sales even on the shelves of super malls in urban areas. These little initiatives have, in no small measure, facilitated economic innovation within poor or undeserved groups and creating opportunities for decent work for youth.

Elemento natural

Forests

Tipo de acción

Ecosystem protection︱Sustainable use of natural resources︱Awareness building and education︱Climate-resilient food and agriculture

Elemento de desarrollo sostenible

Jobs and livelihoods︱Food security︱Sustainable consumption and production

Objetivo(s) de Desarrollo Sostenible relacionado(s)

      

Impacto medioambiental

The Home garden system provided families with activities in traditional agroforestry practices vital to the reservoir of unique genetic diversity of indigenous plants. Hence, growing diverse plant species in home gardens enhanced the use-value of the species to households as income generation, food, nutritional supplements and medicine.

In most cases, households have created versatile small- and medium-sized enterprises that have ensured steady economic growth which has put no pressure to their surrounding forest environment. As a result of less pressure on the forest for livelihood, The initiatives have created some ecotourism platforms which have provided jobs for the local communities, creating new revenue streams as well as increased plant diversity.


CLIMATE IMPACTS

The vulnerability of these smallholder farmers to climate change has been alleviated by the diversification of agricultural production and food systems through the promotion of underutilized/indigenous species via their home gardens. A key strategy to adapt to a changing climate, is the promotion of plant species whose adaptability, plasticity and resilience to stresses provides Obinze farmers with a much needed coping plans in the face of climate change.

Impacto en el desarrollo sostenible

Developing home gardens for these plants by maximizing their potentials in rural communities as well as using approaches that combine indigenous knowledge have played an important role in securing food, increasing income and conserving the forest. With modern based science and technology, the project has created an avenue for increased food security in the community, it has also provided opportunities for women and youths to own business, thus some form of economic growth. The reduced pressure on the surrounding forest where these plants are supposed to be coming have seen increased growth in the forest. We have seen some ecotourstic development due to this. In growing these plants, a boast in the community’s health and well being has also increased with an increased intake of garden vegetables.


RESILIENCE, ADAPTABILITY, AND SELF-SUFFICIENCY

The project has strengthened the capacity of local community farmers for access to human capital (knowledge, information and education, training) while taping on their indigenous knowledge. In building self-sufficiency, farmers have been exposed to procedures for fund access to financial (market linkages, development funds, micro credits, savings, etc.) hence, we see some of their products go beyond local markets. There is also an increase in the natural capital of the area, which has provided great choices of genetic diversity and conservation of indigenous plant species while reducing great pressure on the forest ones.The management of these home gardens saw a more managed intensive and integrated production system, hence, it was not just the duty of the men, but an all-inclusive approach by all participants. The selection and maintenance of plants species in the home gardens is influenced by the farmers’ household needs for food and income and their knowledge and innovation. This is largely controlled by women, however, unique plant species and varieties, often resulting from criss-crossing efforts.


REDUCED INEQUALITIES

The management of these home gardens saw a more managed intensive and integrated production system, hence, it was not just the duty of the men, but an all-inclusive approach by all participants. The selection and maintenance of plants species in the home gardens is influenced by the farmers’ household needs for food and income and their knowledge and innovation. This is largely controlled by women, however, unique plant species and varieties, often resulting from criss-crossing efforts.


GENDER EQUALITY

In as much as women have limited access to land across Africa, they are the custodians of indigenous knowledge, which this project took into account. In bridging the gender gap, 60% of the participating farmers were women. 53% of them were older women between the ages 40-65, while about 47% were between ages 18-39. The project also acknowledges the fact that this increase in women’s participation is well supported by their husbands. This increase also saw more women take decision on the kind of dietary requirements of their families. The project was able to establish women participatory farmers’ roles in management and sharing of benefits from home gardens especially with house holds that have women as their heads.


SOCIAL INCLUSION

60% of the participating farmers were women. 53% of them were older women between the ages 40-65, while about 47% were between ages 18-39. 100 indigenous people benefited from the project. 50% of them were farmers, 20% were young school leavers looking for jobs and 10% were either working or trading. Over the years the number is younger school leavers has increased with the increase in market demand. Many local delicacies are in high demand in urban areas, hence, modern packaging methods have increased youth participation in the trade and business.

Escalabilidad

From the outset of the project implementation, we had a "train the trainer" model, where by pioneer farmers can teach others the skills acquired. Hence, the project saw a spread beyond the community, thus up-scaling good practices and germplasm within and outside the community. We have also seen products from these communities found in superstores in urban areas. At the national level, the project is collaborating with government policy makers to include indigenous food plants as key in the school feeding programs of government. We are also working with the National Assembly to make or review laws that will increase the roles of indigenous plants in national Food Security Polices. Also in talks with the CBN is the inclusion of local women farmers who grow indigenous food crops, to the Anchor Borrowers Programme for micro-credits. If these works, we might just be seeing a massive increase in small holder farmers springing up further.

Replicabilidad

Every region in Nigeria has very unique indigenous plant diversity, we have developed a manual which can help small holder women farmers replicate the solutions. The manual states the standard operating procedures as well as some form of cost implications. We are also implementing the project in the South West Region of Nigeria with farmers having Local Vegetable farms.

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