The International Food Policy Research Institute said on Monday in Abuja that land degradation costs the world 2.3 trillion dollars annually.
Dr Ephraim Nkonya, a Senior Researcher in the institute, stated this in a paper he presented at a workshop on ‘’Global Assessment of Economic of Land Degradation and Policy Implications”.
He said that estimates of global cost of land degradation widely differed depending on methods used, adding that the Total Economic Value (TEV) method showed that it costs 2.3 trillion annually.
According to him, land degradation poses grievous threat to people’s food security across the world, attributing it to human activities and natural hazards.
Nkonya noted that land degradation had become a common phenomenon in both rich and poor countries in temperate and tropical regions of the world.
He suggested collaboration between the local and international communities to effectively tackle the menace.
According to him, Africa accounts for 25 per cent of land degradation in the world and contributes only two per cent to global Gross Domestic Product.
He said that the continent ought to be the future food basket of the world, given Africa’s rich agricultural potential.
The senior researcher called for more incentives for farmers to plant forest trees so as to discourage the use of fertiliser to protect land.
Nkoya stated that the world must evolve means of increasing food production without necessarily clearing forest lands.
He, therefore, recommended more enlightenment programmes for policy makers and agriculture extension workers to further educate local farmers on what to do to preserve land.
The workshop attracted dons, government officials and some international NGOs.