Forests do not only provide a habitat for wild animals or exist to scare us in horror movies, they do more for us than we realize. One of the most widely accepted definitions of a forest is by the FAO. The organization explains forests as land spanning more than 0.5 hectares with trees higher than 5 meters and a canopy cover of more than 10%.
Forests cover about 31% of the world’s land surface (which is just over 4 billion hectares where one hectare equals 2.47 acres). A better way to visualize this is by telling you that one hectare is about the size of an European football field. Therefore, 4 billion hectares is a lot of football fields.
Now that we know just how much of the earth is covered by forests, here are some more facts about them you probably didn’t know:
1. Forests Are Big Employers Of Labor: The United Nations estimates that about 10 million people are directly employed in forest management and conservation. The World Bank also states that the formal timber sector employs more than 13 million people.
These records cover only the formal sector. What about the undocumented forest workers? Forest business is largely informal and therefore many contributions and workers are largely unreported and the figures could amount to a lot more than we imagine.
Forests creates jobs which ranges from wood production to transportation, charcoal production and so much more.
2. They Serve As Habitat To Many: Forests serve as habitat to many animals such as deer, tigers, bears, and other wildlife. They also house plants and trees like oak, magnolia, moss, and many others. However, you would be surprised to find out that many people live in forests, 300 million people to be exact.
Therefore, forest destruction not only ruins habitats for plants and animals, but also renders some humans homeless and takes away their source of survival.
3. Forests Affect Our Everyday Lives: Almost everything you’ve done today can be traced back to forests. If you’ve eaten today or taken the bus, or even written something down on a piece of paper, then forests have paid an important role in your activities.
The manufacturing of products such as paper, fruits, wood, and even ingredients for detergents, medicine, and cosmetics, can be trailed back to the forest.
The importance of forests, especially in our daily lives, cannot be overemphasized.
4. They Give Us Oxygen: Did you know that one tree provides about 260 pounds of oxygen yearly? That means two mature trees can provide enough oxygen for a family of four. How much more a forest?
Forests make oxygen by absorbing carbon dioxide and converting it to oxygen. Without this process, we would not survive. Forests also clean up the air by absorbing harmful gases such as carbon monoxide and sulfur dioxide to release oxygen.
Apart from making the air clean for us, they also cool the air. The evaporation from a single tree can create the cooling effect of 10 room size air conditioners operating 20 hours a day. If one tree can do that, what can a whole forest do?
5. Forests Attract Tourism: Nature is beautiful, and a lot of people are willing to pay good money to experience nature. Forests can be a good way to drive agritourism and enhance the economy. When tourists pay to see forests and their reserves, this contributes to the economy of the community where the forest is found.
Also, the visual aesthetics and cooling effects they have can boost creativity and serve as a source of inspiration.
Are we missing an important point in this post? Let us know in the comment section below.
These Agricultural Businesses Do Not Involve Farming
Agriculture is one of those vocations that has received a lot of buzz lately. Not only are Millennials increasingly becoming aware of the fact that a career in agriculture can be rewarding both socially and otherwise, but there are also a lot of resources that are becoming available to people about agriculture and its diverse branches. Here are five careers in agriculture that you can get involved in. It is important to know that these don’t require getting your hands dirty with any farming at all. Depending on you live in, some of these careers may be more lucrative than others, but here are some ideas:
With so many platforms such as Quora, WordPress, Medium, and varying social media platforms, writing has become a necessary skill, especially in the information age. Although it takes a long time to make money from a blog, an agricultural company that genuinely wants to get its message across to the world needs a good copywriter, someone who can document the beauty of agriculture in all of its glory. If you already work for an ag-based business, consider asking for more earning power by honing your writing skills even if you haven’t learned the art. If you can prove yourself as a talented writer in the agriculture industry, there are numerous opportunities out there to make money.
Landscaping does take a lot of time and hard work. Although it is not the most idyllic form of agriculture, it is possible to make a lucrative living from mowing lawns, for example. Although not many people enjoy the art of mowing lawns, if you get proficient at it and have the right equipment, it is possible to minimize expenses and grow from there. If you’re looking for a place to specialize, there might be potential there. This is another one where you can start very small, and with some hard work and with creative marketing, you can scale into a real business!
Pest Control Specialist.
Farmers find that among the most nagging issues that they face is the infestation of pests on heir farmland. Many large-scale farmers are more than happy to pay pest control specialists to assist them with taking care of the pests that may plague their farms. Perhaps you have a specific pest problem in your area that you can help solve for local landowners. It may be very well worth the effort.
There is a vast demand for workers with knowledge specific to Urban Agriculture. Many farmers offer tours as a way to supplement their income; however, few of them provide education on how to grow. Everyone is looking for something to do on evenings and weekends. If you can put together an exciting presentation to show people how they can grow at home — they will buy equipment, nutrients, and replacement parts from you. You could also take it one extra step further and sell rooted plants and seeds as well.
Consulting and designing systems for restaurants and commercial businesses. Firms that agric-focused have been a lucrative form of income for a few years. Most of these businesses usually involve selling a shipping container that is pre-configured to grow. It is a complicated feat, but not an impossible one to start. A more challenging route, on the other hand, would be to design and install systems for residential use.
Agriculture shouldn’t be restricted to the soil only. There are many ways to get involved with Agriculture either as a side gig or a full-time hobby. In fact, many people retire to agriculture-based careers these days. Are you thinking of breaking into the agricultural sector? Which track would you follow? Leave your comments in the comment section below!
By: Sughnen Yongo/farmcrowdy
Farmcrowdy Now In Niger State with 1000 Farmers
Farmcrowdy began with a goal to empower rural farmers across Africa and we are doing so one Nigerian state at a time. We have currently empowered rural farmers in 15 states, with Niger state being the latest addition in our operations. Here are some noteworthy facts about Niger state:
- Niger state is the largest state in Nigeria, bigger than ten states combined. Mashegu LGA in Niger state is bigger than Lagos and Anambra state combined.
- It is located in the middle belt region of the country with a population of over 4 million.
- Niger state consists of two major ethnic groups; the Gbagyi and Nupe.
- Niger state is Known as the Power State because it houses two of Nigeria’s hydroelectric dam, Kainji Dam (the largest electricity generating dam) and Shiroro dam.
- One of the longest rivers in Africa, River Niger, is located in this state.
Another interesting fact to note about Niger state is that the major occupation of the people is farming and fishing.
We are going to empower 1000 rural farmers of Niger state through our rice farm project. This farm, will however be different from other farms as we will be adopting the dry season farming approach for this particular project.
One of the best ways to improve food security in a nation is to ensure the availability of food all year round. However, factors such as limited rainfall lead to poor crop yield and food shortage. Therefore, one of the best ways to meet food demand with supply in spite of the unpredictability of rain, is by changing strategy and adopting this new approach.
This simply means that our rice farms will not be dependent on rain as a source of water. Therefore, in instances when it doesn’t rain or it doesn’t rain enough, the rice farms will still be catered for. Dry season farming is not limited to dry season alone. It can also be adapted in cases where a farmer doesn’t want to be dependent on rain for irrigation.
We are determined to increase food production and security in Nigeria and expanding to a new state with dry season farming brings us a step closer. It ensures food availability and better pricing all year long. The dry season farming method will enable our farmers plant rice all year long, thus increasing rice production and reducing rice importation.
The farmers we are working with in Niger state will also be provided adequate funding and training to get the highest yield by harvest time.
Click here to start sponsoring our rice farms. When you sponsor a farm, you will receive updates during the farm cycle and returns after harvest on your sponsorship. You will also be empowering rural farmers to receive adequate input, support, and training needed to cultivate crops and make money to support themselves.
You will ultimately be contributing to the agricultural landscape in Nigeria.
Malawi: The African Development Bank approves $13.2 million for sustainable fisheries, aquaculture development and watershed management
The African Development Bank Group has approved a $13.2 million financing package from the African Development Fund for a fisheries and aquaculture development project in Malawi. The Sustainable Fisheries, Aquaculture Development, and Watershed Management project will provide infrastructure for increased fisheries productivity and market access. Board approval for the project was granted on 2 October 2019. The project is expected to contribute to nutritious diets, boost employment along the fish value chain, and build climate resilience along major watersheds.
The project’s estimated cost is $14.57 million, comprising an ADF loan of $8.98 million, a grant of $4.21 million. The Malawi government will contribute $1.38 million.
The project is expected to directly benefit 20,000 residents around the surrounding lakeshore and inland areas, as well as 250,000 fish processors, vendors, retailers, and interns, many of whom are youth and women along the value chain.
The project interventions will cover 11 lakeshore and three non-lakeshore districts, including the entire basins of Lake Malawi and Chilwa, part of the Shire River system, and selected upland areas using an ecosystem approach. Seventy-five percent of transboundary watersheds are in Malawi and they are critical fish breeding and nursery grounds.
Other expected benefits include sustained income from fisheries; increased recovery of Chambo stocks and higher incomes from value addition (processing, storage and related marketing activities). The increased access to fish protein consumption at the household level will improve nutrition in the region.
“The Bank is committed to supporting our regional member countries to make use of their living fisheries resources. This is crucial for building healthy diets and local consumption, facilitating regional trade and improving on the quality of life – especially for youth and women along the fish value chain,” said the Bank’s Blue Economy Flagship Coordinator, Dr. Ahmed Khan.
The approved resources will promote Malawi’s national development as outlined in its Malawi National Fisheries and Aquaculture Policy, its Growth and Development Strategy (MGDS III) and Malawi’s Vision 2020.
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