Nigerian United Methodists plant 20,000 trees



Mary Jonathan plants an orange tree at a United Methodist orphanage in Jalingo, Nigeria, with the anticipation that the fruit will supplement diets in the future. Photo by Sharon Adamu Bambuka, UMNS.  

Mary Jonathan plants an orange tree at a United Methodist orphanage in Jalingo, Nigeria, with the anticipation that the fruit will supplement diets in the future. Photo by Sharon Adamu Bambuka, UMNS.

In Nigeria, where the high rate of deforestation is leading to habitat loss, species extinction and soil degradation, United Methodists are hoping that 20,000 trees will make a difference.

So far, the church has planted trees in five communities in the Southern Nigeria Conference. The acacia, eucalyptus, guava, iroko, mahogany, mango, orange and papaya trees are expected to protect degraded environments, safeguard habitats and enhance rural livelihoods.

Climate change starts a cycle of extreme heat, endangering human health and killing livestock. Local streams disappear. As the duration of dry and rainy seasons changes, traditional planting times become less reliable and crop yields suffer.

Charity Aweh lives in Bakin Dutse, a village in which 5,000 trees were planted. Expressing gratitude, she said The United Methodist Church would benefit “if they continue to take good care of the young trees,” adding that “at the end, they will be the ones to enjoy the fruits.”

“Forest covers one-third of the earth’s landmass,” noted Nelson Andrew, an active United Methodist and government agricultural technology officer. He pointed out that indigenous people depend on forests for food, shelter, livelihood, medicine and tools.

Tanko Labuje, a well-digger, said everyone witnesses the consequences when all across Taraba state, the water level drops and wells became dry.

Trees furnish humanity with two of life’s essentials, food and oxygen. They reduce desertification and other forms of climate change. Healthy trees beautify surroundings, conserve energy, create economic opportunities, prevent soil erosion and purify the air.


David Villapah, director of the Agricultural Development Project, plants a eucalyptus tree during a tree-planting campaign at the Mayo-Dassa settlement in  Jalingo, Nigeria. This project will preserve soil, improve air and support wildlife. Photo by Sharon Adamu Bambuka, UMNS. 

David Villapah, director of the Agricultural Development Project, plants a eucalyptus tree during a tree-planting campaign at the Mayo-Dassa settlement in  Jalingo, Nigeria. This project will preserve soil, improve air and support wildlife. Photo by Sharon Adamu Bambuka, UMNS.

David Villapah directs the conference’s Agricultural Development Project, supported by gifts through the church’s Advance and by the German United Methodist World Mission. He cautioned Nigerians to be aware of the reality of climate change occasioned by massive cutting of trees for domestic and commercial purposes.

“We must discourage the cutting down of trees without replacement,” said United Methodist and government agricultural consultant Daniel Bulus. People must not only plant trees, he explained. They also must protect them.

Adamu Bambuka is director of communications for the Southern Nigeria Annual Conference. News media contact: Vicki Brown, news editor, newsdesk@umcom.org or 615-742-5469. To read more United Methodist news, subscribe to the free Daily or Weekly Digests.

Sign up for our newsletter!

SUBSCRIBE

Latest News

Poverty
Bishop Joaquina F. Nhanala of Mozambique and agricultural missionary Innocent Afful listen to The United Methodist Church’s plans for existing land in Africa during an agricultural summit held Jan. 13-16 in Johannesburg. Photo by Eveline Chikwanah.

African bishops ready to transform agriculture

United Methodist leaders pledge to move from the current subsistence farming to commercial ventures that can financially support the church.
Central Conferences
The Rev. Alan Masimba Gurupira, Zimbabwe Episcopal Area, talks about The United Methodist Church’s plans for existing land in Africa during an agricultural summit held Jan. 13-16 in Johannesburg. Photo by Eveline Chikwanah.

African agriculture summit sparks new ideas, plans

Gathering draws together people of different perspectives and backgrounds to discuss how The United Methodist Church could make better use of the land.
General Church
Sierra Leone Bishop John K. Yambasu speaks during the United Methodist Africa agricultural summit Jan. 13-16 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Photo by Eveline Chikwanah, UMNS.

Agriculture a ‘game changer’ for church in Africa

The church has the potential of becoming self-sustaining if it develops its vast land into viable commercial enterprises, said Sierra Leone Bishop John K. Yambasu.