Understanding Of Organic Agriculture Principles, Practices Low In Nigeria – Stakeholders
Stakeholders in organic Agriculture have said that a lot of advocacies and awareness campaigns are needed for farmers to understand the benefits of organic agriculture’s principles and practice for increased harvests
The stakeholders said this in a communiqué released on Friday in Abuja, at the end of the 2019 National Organic Agriculture Business Summit held in Lagos with the theme: Organic export opportunities for national development.
The communiqué was jointly signed by Dr Olugbenga AdeOluwa, the Country Coordinator, Ecological Organic Agriculture (EOA) and Prof. Victor Olowe, the President, Association of Organic Agriculture Practitioners of Nigeria.
The stakeholders in the communiqué said “the activities of Organic Agriculture platforms in Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) for policy formulation and implementation were at low ebb compared to the size of the country.
They said that the understanding of possible business opportunities from organic agriculture was poor among potential stakeholders, saying there was also a huge technical knowledge gap of organic agriculture production system in the country.
The stakeholders observed that extension services to facilitate organic agriculture in the country were almost nonexistent while sourcing of organic inputs in the country was still very challenging.
They said that organic agriculture farmers in Nigeria had a poor awareness of the required procedures for certification of organic produce and products for both domestic and export trade.
According to them, there is a very limited enabling environment for organic agriculture business development in the country and that there is, therefore, the need for a holistic engagement of youths and women in organic agriculture for “meaningful economic participation’’.
The stakeholders called for increased Nigerian organic market share in terms of produce, products, and services in the global market, noting that Nigeria was yet to achieve a remarkable share in the current global organic market of over 100 billion dollars.
They said there was need for more science-based evidence and facts through research to promote organic agriculture with appropriate funding to support the efforts of organic agriculture entrepreneurs in Nigeria.
“We have to mainstream organic agriculture into existing curricula for agricultural training at Higher Educational Institutions (HEIs) in Nigeria,“ they said.
They, however, urged all tiers of government to fully explore opportunities in the African Heads of States and Governments’ Decision on Organic Farming (EX.CL/Dec.621 (XVII), 2010.
“To achieve this, relevant national organisations and international partners must provide entrepreneurial education on organic agriculture for all stakeholders in the agriculture value chain.”
The communiqué said “stakeholders should mainstream organic agriculture into the academic curricula of the HEIs in Nigeria for the development of technically sound faculty and workforce in the sector.”
They equally suggested that Agricultural Development Programmes and other extension service arms in the country should properly train their personnel to be able to assist farmers in overcoming challenges associated with organic agriculture production.
They called on public and private organisations with a mandate for organic agriculture to consistently train producers on certification and export procedures in organic agriculture.
The stakeholders called for appropriate policies to be put in place to provide an enabling environment for organic agriculture business development in the country, especially the Nigerian Organic Agriculture Bill that had been drafted since 2016.
“This bill could be pushed through the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development as an Executive Bill,’’ they advised.
According to the communiqué, 90 participants representing organic agriculture stakeholders from all the geo-political zones of Nigeria and the U.S. were in attendance.
The attendance represented a circle of investors in agricultural input supply, crop production, processing and packaging, consumers and representatives of government organizations.
Also represented were organisations related to agriculture, education (research and higher educational institutions), trade, health and environment, hotels and hospitality, supermarket operators, media practitioners, and civil rights organizations.