Food security: Group harps on organic agricultural practices in Nigeria

Abuja, May 14, 2024 (NAN) The Ecological Organic Agriculture (EOA) initiative has stressed the need to adopt organic agricultural practices to enhance food security in the country.

The Chairperson, EOA initiative National Steering Committee, Mrs Janet Igoh, said this at a 2-day sensitisation workshop on National Diploma Organic Agricultural Technology in Abuja on Tuesday.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the workshop was organised by the Association of Organic Agriculture Practitioners of Nigeria and Ecological Organic Agriculture (EOA) Initiative in Nigeria in collaboration with the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE).

Igoh urged stakeholders to portray agriculture in the right perspective so that it would be appealing to the youths.

She said the lack of interest in agriculture by the youths was because farmers are always looking tattered in pictures.

‘That is not the prospect of agriculture, organic agriculture prep course that we are launching today will create employment.

re is always a saying that says, grow what you eat, use your crops or produce as medicine, not medicine as food.

‘Our young men and women can become farm managers, we can advocate for most of them to form cooperative and also help them seek funds’, she said.

Dr Jude Obi, National president, Association of Organic Agriculture Practitioners of Nigeria (NOAN), said efforts by the association to bring organic agriculture into mainstream agriculture in Nigeria had been difficult.

‘We have developed a curriculum for teaching organic agriculture and getting a National Diploma degree through the support of the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE).

‘Organic agriculture can feed us if everybody tries to produce minimally what he or she consumes, this is why the association is in the forefront of this.

‘We hope that the Colleges of Agriculture and Polytechnics will process these curricula and follow it up,’ he said.

Obi said the association was also raising awareness on participatory guarantee scheme for
organic agriculture.

‘We plead with those that want to implement this to register as members of the association so that we can work together to achieve this’, he said.

Also speaking, NBTE Executive Secretary, Prof. Idris Bugaje, represented by Dr. Rufai Ibrahim, said the board had come up with a curriculum.

Bugaje said that the institutions have been granted approvals to commence the implementation.

He assured that the board hopes to see to it that the Higher Diploma level commences in a few years, since the curriculum had been tailored toward encouraging the adoption of organic farming.

Dr Umar Abdullahi, Technical Advisor to the Executive Secretary, Agriculture Research Council of Nigeria (ARCN), said organic agriculture was a production that sustained the health of the soil, ecosystem and people.

‘Organic agriculture relies on the political processes, biodiversity and cycles adapted to local conditions rather than use of inputs.

‘The inputs we are talking about are fertilizers, chemicals; organic ag
riculture combines tradition, innovation, and science.

‘It is a system that relies on ecosystem management rather than external agricultural inputs,’ he said.

Abdullahi said there was the need to take care of the environment by adopting appropriate products in protecting the environment.

‘Organic agriculture method will cleanse the soil of forbidding use of synthetic pesticides and herbicides.

‘Ecological nature of organic culture is capturing carbon dioxide from the soil thereby improving the environment, conserves energy and save money’, he said.

Mr Gbadamosi Oyewole, Coordinator, EOA initiative, West Africa said organic agriculture was a system which has all the components of ecosystem working together.

This, he said would sustained the health of individuals, communities, soil, plants and animals.

‘There are a lot of misconceptions about organic agriculture; some equate it to the use of organic fertilizers.

‘When we try to develop organic farming in the country, we have to bring experts from outsid
e the country to manage the farm.

‘To work with a farm manager, you have to use expert training to do that. That is our goal,’ he said.

Oyewole said that farmers and processors needed training and development to adopt organic practices and improve their productivity.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria