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Harmonisation Of W/Africa Organic Agriculture Standards Will Enhance Regional Trade – Experts

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Joel Ajayi 
Organic Agriculture practice experts say harmonisation of its standards among the 15 ECOWAS members will enhance quality trade in certified produce and products in the region.


They gave the assurance at the closing day of the 6th West African Conference on Organic Agriculture with the Theme, ‘Feeding the World Without Poisoning’ at Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.


The hybrid 4-day event monitored had participants from across the world rubbing minds over how to ensure healthy, sustainable agriculture practices.


They assured participants that the harmonisation of the standards is for the good of the health of the people of the member states and their environment.


Mr Ernest Aubee, Head of Agriculture, ECOWAS Commission, Abuja, and Chairman of Ecological Organic Agriculture (EOA) Regional Steering Committee, said that the standards documents would be submitted to ECOWAS for ratification and approval.


“In West Africa, we have different standards in different countries, while some countries do not have any at all, so this harmonisation will protect the interests of both those who have and those who do not have”.


Aubee said that organic Agriculture is developing fast at the global level, however, the pace is still slow in West Africa compared to Eastern Africa, Europe and Australia.


“This harmonisation will accelerate organic agriculture development, regional growth of food, and security integration.
“We want to achieve food security and safety, so that our people do not only have enough to eat, but eat quality and nutritious food.


“Therefore, I encourage stakeholders to appreciate and key into these harmonised standards when approved, in the interest of the region”.


Mr Rene Emmenegger, Project Manager, of International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movement (IFOAM) stressed the importance of organic agriculture standards.


He said that the standardisation will not only improve development of organic agriculture in West Africa but also encourage export business.


He said that IFOAM offers a platform for organic standards setters to discuss standards and create synergies for standard development and harmonisation to also ease trade.


 “Agriculture and certified organic farming without viable trade is not sustainable.
“It will bring diversity of produce, simplicity of the process, empowerment of farmers, and easy access to standardised produce and products in the region.


“It will also promote and increase supply of organic produce and products and stimulate the growth of the organic sector of the region”.


Dr Olugbenga AdeOluwa, Secretary, West Africa Ecological Organic Agriculture (EOA) cluster noted that political and financial support is needed for proper formulation and implementation of the standards.
AdeOluwa suggested an enactment of  stand-alone EOA policies, strategies and frameworks that support the regional standard.


“These policies should give clear guidelines and full support to the production of organic inputs and products. 
“The policies should have proper institutionalisation and inclusivity of all stakeholders and public-private partnerships. 


“It must include a bottom-up approach in the policy implementation which offers farmers good opportunities to contribute to the process and ensure its success”.

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Agriculture

Organic Market Value To hits $150bn In 5 Years Globally If…… NEPC

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… As Organic Agriculture Business Summit kick off in Abuja

Joel Ajayi

Executive Director of National Export Promotion Council NEPC, Olusegun Arowolo has said the global value of organic market will hit $150 billion in the next five year, if necessary attention, awareness is given to Ecological Organic Agriculture. 

Arowolo who was represented by Mr Williams Ezeagu stated this on Tuesday, in Abuja at the National Organic Agriculture Business Summit NOABS 2021.

He expressed that organic certified foods will reduce the negative impact of inorganic on both human animal.

According to him, recently the action plan under the world food summit identifies the importance of organic input technologies farming techniques and other sustainable methods in organic farming. 

“With the negative effect of covid – 19 Pandemic, increasing awareness of healthy food consumption and living, global value of organic market could leap to 150 billion within th e next 5 years. 

“With proper organic certification in place, there is huge potential to earn substantial forign exchange which could translate into higher income for our farmers, exportters and other value chain operators. 

“The aims of organic agriculture essentially is to produce safe agricultural products for humam consumption and to reduce the negative impact of organic materials on human animal health.

“The need for organic certified foods for both humam and animal is to reduce the negatibe impact of inorganic fertilizer on soil and ecology with a view to reducing th e impact on environment thus reduction in global warnming and climate change.”

He added: “With more awareness and sensitization on the importance of organic and other certification in the export value chain, the acceptance of Nigerian products in the International Market will increase and more importantly, our export would be more competitive.

“He urged all Stakeholders to double their efforts to ensure that Nigerian MSME and producers key into certification in the production and processing systems.

In his Keynote Address the Minister, Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment Otunba Niyi Adebayo,  who was represented by the Director of Commodity Export Department Suleiman Adebayo promised that the government under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari will leave no stone to ensure it provide enabling environment for organic agriculture to drive in the country.

While giving overview of the submit, Country Coordinator Of Ecological Organic Agriculture Dr Olugbenga Adeoluwa said the aim of the summit is to ensure wide spread of benefits of organic agriculture to all stakeholders of organic agriculture sector in the country as well as to catalyze development of organic agriculture business in Nigeria.

He equally stated that the summit will provide a national platform for organic agriculture stakeholders in the country and sustaining the drive for sustainable organic agriculture development in the country.

“The need to improve capacity of strategic stakeholders in the organic agricultural sector of Nigeria; food security, income generation, employment, systems resilience, among others.

“Thus, the annual National Organic Agriculture Business Summit (NOABS) is one of the ways of addressing challenges of organic agriculture development in the country.”

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