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Sustainable Livelihood

The focus and involvement on rural livelihood by T.R.E.E. Initiative is based on available statistics that a sizeable fraction of global population is resident in rural areas. There is a huge rural population, and by this we refer to people living in rural areas. These rural areas have low population density; the environment in most rural areas is sparsely populated with scattered or unplanned houses and less infrastructures compared to cities and urban areas. It is estimated that almost a fifth of the world's population living in rural areas derives their livelihood from peasant farming. The large number of rural people and their involvement in peasant agriculture and other activities makes planning for rural people, peasants, and their livelihoods important for many reasons.

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According to the World Bank, and as outlined in its Forest Strategy paper, forests resources are valued from a variety of perspectives and for a variety of purposes. Over 90% of the 1.2 billion people living in extreme poverty depend on forests for some part of their livelihoods. Indirectly, forests support the natural environment that nourishes agriculture and the food supplies of nearly half the population of the developing world. In addition to contributing to food security, forest resources also provides commercial opportunities and employment.


The capabilities, assets and activities that rural people require for a means of living are termed as rural livelihood. Globally, about 500 million families are said to depend on earnings from their farms for survival.


Our sustainable livelihood activities include:


For both the urban and rural poor, charcoal and firewood from trees like the Shea Tree provides an affordable alternative source of energy for cooking. As the production of charcoal from Shea Trees in particular to meet both local and international demand escalates, Nigeria’s forest resources is being depleted daily with dangerous consequences including soil degradation, deforestation, desertification, hunger and rural poverty.


Nigeria is ranked as the largest producer of Shea Butter globally. The Shea Tree grows in about 22 States across Nigeria including Niger, Kwara, Kogi, Kebbi, Ogun and Oyo States with production by rural women.


The growth in the Shea Butter market presents an opportunity to provide rural women with a sustainable source of income and a route to financial independence. There is an estimated half a million rural women currently engaged in the Shea butter business in Nigeria alone and their means of livelihood is now under serious threat.


While Government's focus has been on developing a strong Shea butter sector for national economic development by sensitizing players in the industry, little is being done in terms of advocacy to stop the indiscriminate cutting down and replacement of Shea Trees used for firewood and the production of charcoal which is now largely exported.


In 2018, T.R.E.E. Initiative in collaboration with a Foundation, the National Orientation Agency (NOA) in Kwara State, Kwara State Ministries of Information, Agriculture & Natural Resources, Nigeria Immigration Service among others kick started the "Save-The-Shea" campaign to sensitize the public on the environmental, health, and economic consequences of cutting down Shea Trees to promote the booming charcoal business.


The Save-The-Shea campaign flaged off in Ilorin, Kwara State is the first leg of a series of social advocacy that T.R.E.E. Initiative will be executing across the Shea Belt in Nigeria over the next 10 years. The Save-The-Shea has given impetus to the National Shea Tree Restoration Advocacy Program (NASTREP: 2019-2025) which aims to meet the immediate goal of planting about 2 million improved Shea Tree Seedlings across the Shea Belt by engaging small holder women farmers in clusters. Seedlings will be given to these women to plant and nurture under this comprehensive national plan.


T.R.E.E. Initiative will continue to mobilize Nigerians against the indiscriminate logging of Shea Trees and other tree species for firewood and Charcoal for export.

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