Harnessing benefits for climate change mitigation through irrigation-free indigenous tree establishment: sharing knowledge and building capacity

A photograph of a parched field in Nigeria with three farmers stood in the distance.

Dryland Northern Nigeria is subject to land degradation, driven by climate change and unsustainable land use. Poverty in the region is high, with land degradation exacerbated by migration, conflict and low recognition of the rights of women, who are disproportionately impacted by poverty and land degradation and engage largely in unskilled, labour intensive agricultural work, lacking access to finance, training and decision-making. The Nigerian government prioritises uptake of farmer managed natural regeneration of vegetation and non-irrigated indigenous tree establishment to mitigate climate change and deliver livelihood and poverty reduction benefits to smallholder farming communities.

This international collaboration between Bayero University Kano (BUK), Nigeria, and Universities of Leeds and York, UK is funded by the UK PACT Green Recovery Challenge Fund and aims to develop innovative training to support cost-effective non-irrigated indigenous tree establishment within smallholder farms in northern Nigeria, accelerating emissions reductions and helping Nigeria progress towards its Nationally Determined Contributions and the Sustainable Development Goals, working with stakeholders at all levels.

The success of achieving international commitments that are linked to land, food production and climate change mitigation, depends on strategies that directly involve local participation. We will engage stakeholders and build capacity in Kano and Jigawa States through six activities:

  1. Stakeholder mapping;
  2. Production of training and capacity building materials on non-irrigated indigenous tree species establishment;
  3. Establishing demonstration sites and holding training workshops;
  4. Informing policy changes improving uptake of best practices;
  5. Producing media outputs and art exhibitions to raise regional awareness about benefits from indigenous tree species, focusing on gender perspectives and implementation;
  6. Delivering capacity building workshops for policymakers and NGOs.

Our collaboration will generate the following impacts:

  • Improve awareness across beneficiary groups (smallholder farmers, agricultural extension workers, policy and decision makers, NGOs and general public) on the potential of indigenous trees to contribute to development, recovery and climate change mitigation;
  • Accelerated climate change mitigation due to increased indigenous tree species cover and wider uptake, facilitating access to finance;
  • Livelihood diversification and improved gender equality, contributing to a green recovery via enhanced value chains and employment.


UK PACT (Partnering for Accelerated Climate Transitions) is a £60m flagship programme under the International Climate Finance (ICF) portfolio. It is part of the UK’s £5.8bn commitment to International Climate Finance by 2021 to tackle climate change. The programme is funded by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), with funding currently in place until 2022.