By Lanre Omotoso

Desertification and drought must be tackled to prevent the desertification of fertile lands in the country.

A lecturer in the Department of Soil Science and Land Resources Management, Federal University Oye-Ekiti, Professor Olubunmi Shittu gave the advice in Ado Ekiti to commemorate the day. 

Professor Shittu identified deforestation, overgrazing, and inappropriate farming systems as factors responsible for desertification.

While attributing drought to a shortage of rainfall, occasioned by climate change, the soil scientist stressed the need to plant more trees so as to reduce the negative effects of desertification and drought on the ecosystem.

He emphasized the effects of desertification and drought including dry vegetation, and low water levels of rivers and lakes, which would translate to food shortages, if not properly tackled.

Professor Shittu noted that most of the agricultural machinery was not adapted to the country’s loose soil, hence the need to modify them to suit the soil content of the nation, to reduce erosion.

Since 1994, June 17 had been the World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought to draw public attention that 23 percent of the land globally is no longer productive, while 75 percent has been transformed from its natural state. 

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