Ikore Conservation and Restoration Model (ICARM) Project
The Tree Planting and Market Linkage Initiative, also known as iCARM - Ikore Conservation and Restoration Model, addresses the pressing problem of land degradation and limited market opportunities for Non-Forest Timber Products (NFTPs) in communities surrounding sanctuaries located in the North-Eastern part of Nigeria. The degradation of land caused by deforestation, unsustainable agricultural practices, and the impacts of climate change significantly impact the livelihoods of the local population, particularly women and youth who rely on subsistence agriculture for their sustenance. Moreover, these communities currently lack adequate avenues for market linkages to sell their NFTPs, further exacerbating their economic challenges.
To tackle these issues, the project aims to achieve multiple objectives. Firstly, it focuses on reforestation and the restoration of degraded land in the communities surrounding the sanctuaries. Through large-scale tree planting efforts, the project seeks to enhance biodiversity and mitigate the adverse effects of climate change in the region. Simultaneously, the project endeavours to create market linkages for smallholder farmers engaged in the Moringa and Castor value chain, specifically targeting NFTPs. By establishing these market connections, the project aims to improve the economic resilience and quality of life for the primary beneficiaries, namely women and youth.
To realize its objectives, the project proposes a series of activities. It begins by conducting baseline assessments to gain a comprehensive understanding of the extent of land degradation, biodiversity loss, and market opportunities for NFTPs in the target communities. Subsequently, the project develops and implements a Community-Led Landscape Conservation and Restoration Model specifically designed for heavily impacted areas. This model integrates reforestation efforts, sustainable land management practices, and conservation of the community sanctuaries. It also includes the establishment of nurseries and engages community members in tree planting campaigns, with a focus on indigenous tree species.
Furthermore, the project emphasizes the importance of capacity building and knowledge transfer. It provides training to community members, particularly women and youth, on sustainable agricultural practices, agroforestry techniques, and value addition for NFTPs. By equipping the beneficiaries with the necessary skills and knowledge, the project aims to empower them to actively participate in creating a safer and greener environment.
In terms of market development, the project aims to facilitate market linkages for smallholder farmers engaged in the Moringa and Castor value chain. It achieves this by connecting them with potential buyers, ensuring fair and sustainable trade practices. These market linkages provide the beneficiaries with increased income and livelihood opportunities, promoting economic growth and stability within the communities.
The proposed outcomes of the project are multi-fold. Through its reforestation and land restoration efforts, the project seeks to restore and regenerate landscapes in the communities surrounding the sanctuaries. This, in turn, will lead to improved biodiversity and enhanced ecosystem services in the region. By establishing market linkages for NFTPs, the project intends to create income and livelihood opportunities for women and youth, ultimately improving their economic conditions. Additionally, the project aims to enhance the knowledge and capacity of community members in sustainable land management and agricultural practices, ensuring the long-term viability of the initiatives. Moreover, the project strives to increase the resilience of the communities to the impacts of climate change through the adoption of sustainable practices. By actively involving the beneficiaries and promoting their participation, the project aims to empower the communities to take ownership of conservation and restoration efforts, contributing to poverty reduction, improved well-being, and the development of self-sustaining, self-reliant, poverty-free, well-informed, and environmentally conscious communities.