Land Degradation In Nigeria And Possible Solutions

Land Degradation In Nigeria And Possible Solutions
Land Degradation In Nigeria And Possible Solutions

One of the major challenges or problem facing agriculture in Nigeria is land degradation. Flooding, erosion, bush burning, over grazing and other natural disasters are all causes of land degradation.

It has made many people lose interest in farming, due to loss of investment as well as lives and properties. It is however a challenge that can be overcome with time and healthy practices.

Land degradation is the loss and destruction of soil, water and other nutrients as a result of various factors ranging from natural to man made. Many agricultural activities can also contribute to land degradation and the need to cover them up further deepens the effects.

Natural factors such as climate change, wild fires, flooding, earthquakes, etc. also causes land degradation. They are inevitable but the lands can be redeemable sometimes. The effects of nature can be devastating more than man made.

Land Degradation in Nigeria and Possible Solutions
Land Degradation In Nigeria and Possible Solutions

The after effect of land degradation is loss of farmland, poor productivity when the lands are cultivated without treatment as well as loss of investment, and the lives of animals and man. From the deserts, to water logged soils and washed farmlands, land degradation is a huge challenge to Agriculture in Nigeria.

Land Degradation

When there is a continuous decline in the soil quality, water and biodiversity, it can be said the land is degrading. Erosion is the washing away of the top soil and is also a cause of land degradation. Land degradation is one of the reasons why there is reduced crop yield as the soil has lost its nutrients.

Extreme weather changes caused by greenhouse gases is another subtle cause of land degradation. These gases cause extreme weather changes, acidic rains, unprecedented floods etc.

Nigeria is fast loosing many of her healthy lands with potential increase in loss of income, farmable lands, and properties and putting millions at risk of diseases and infections. The lands are fast becoming infertile, and can result in deserts as well.

Causes of Land Degradation

From over-grazing, deforestation, urbanization to excessive cultivation, land degradation causes are quite many. It affects in varying degree and some causes are unavoidable but manageable. Land degradation is not peculiar to Nigeria but is a world challenge. Africa as a continent has a great share.

Agricultural Activities

The excess usage of pesticides, fertilizers, herbicides, bush burning and other agricultural activities can also contribute to land degradation. The soil lose their nutrients, gets weakened and are easily washed away during excessive rains.

Industrial Activities

Manufacturing industries and other industries also contribute to land degradation. Activities such as waste disposal, construction all contribute to soil losing nutrients and becoming loose. Industrialization can also mean cutting off trees (deforestation) for construction of industry, or civilization.

Land Degradation in Nigeria and Possible Solutions
Industrialization Increasing Greenhouse Gases


The rural- urban migration and the increase in population have caused more trees to be felled for housing estates, cities and others. Deforestation makes the soil easily washed away and trigger sinkholes. Logging for charcoal and timber also contributes their own quota.

Natural Activities

Nature is one thing we try to understand but haven’t got a total grip on. Earthquakes, landslides, tsunamis, wildfires are natural causes of land degradation. Although some man-made activities can trigger them, yet, nature can decide to play a smart one.

Effects of Land Degradation

The impacts of land degradation cannot be overemphasized. The cause of land degradation determines how huge the effect will be on land, animals, man and properties. Some effects of land degradation include but are not limited to:

Deserts Expansion And Drought

This occurs mainly in the north and few occurrences in other places. This is the total decline of soils to yield crops or suitable for farming activities. In deserts, it is not just about land unsuitable for agricultural activities but also non availability of water resources.

Land Degradation in Nigeria and Possible Solutions
Wildfire Causing Loss of Lives And Agricultural land

Loss Of Lives And Properties

In cases of flooding, landslides, earthquakes, and wildfires, there are losses incurred of both lives of man and animals as well as properties. People are rendered homeless, become displaced as a result of these events.

Loss Of Agricultural Lands

Degraded lands do not yield crops. Planted crops become burned when they have no access to nutrients and water in the soil.

Food Scarcity And Famine

When the land available for farming is reduced, it invariably causes food shortage. This can be detrimental and cause an increase in poverty rate of rural communities. Water scarcity can also occur and an increase in the risk of diseases and infections.

Land Degradation in Nigeria and Possible Solutions
Low Crop Yield

Greenhouse Gases

Land degradation also causes release of carbon stored underground. This can result in emission of greenhouse gases.

Land Restoration

Land degradation can be reversed through intentional activities and cautions. If allowed to continue, land degradation can wipe off half of the country as can be seen in the expansion of the Sahara desert.

Restoration activities encouraged to change the narrative of land degradation include afforestation, improved grazing management and caution in the usage of agrochemicals.


This is the planting of trees. It is an activity that should be carried out whenever a tree is fell, such that two is planted in replacement. It has the capacity of boosting the water retaining capacity of the soil and limit the emission of underground carbon.

Improved Grazing Management

Pasture crops should be planted for animals to graze on with the immediate planting of fresh ones. The land should not be left without proper crop rotation and treatment.

Provision Of Dams And Irrigation Services

Some degraded land do not have any moisture content in them. The provision of water dams, irrigation systems for crops is a way of improving yield. Planting of some resistant crop varieties also help to retain water including legumes.

Land Degradation in Nigeria and Possible Solutions
Irrigation, a means of land restoration.

Use Of Agrochemicals

Farmers should be cautioned on the excessive uses of agrochemicals such as pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers. Adequate measure should be administer based on the soil and crop requirement.

Agricultural Activities

Bush burning should be discouraged where necessary and crop rotation encouraged and practiced. Other agricultural activities that impede soil nutrition should be discouraged. Growing a single crop year in, year out encourages the emission of greenhouse gases associated with food production.


Land degradation is caused by man and nature. It is the result of agricultural activities, civilization, and industrialization among others. The effects are enormous and caution should be taken before it gets out of hand.

Land degradation is a leading contributor to food scarcity and emission of greenhouse gases associated with food production. It contributes to loss of lives (man and animals) and properties as well as agricultural investments. The need to save water and soil cannot emphasized for the overall benefit of flora and fauna.

Land Degradation In Nigeria And Possible Solutions
Land Degradation In Nigeria And Possible Solutions

Crop rotation, planting of trees, mini water dams, and planting of resistant crops are ways of restoring degraded lands and boost crop yield.

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