The Ecological Organic Agriculture (EOA) initiative in Nigeria has urged the Federal Government to include Organic Agriculture in its investment plans in Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).
This is contained in a communiqué signed by Dr Olugbenga AdeOluwa, Country Coordinator, Ecological Organic Agriculture (EOA) Initiative in Nigeria and Mrs Edeme Ndonya, Chairperson, NOABS Local Organising Committee.
The issues raised in the communiqué were reached at the just concluded 2020 National Organic Agriculture Business Summit (NOABS) held at Akwa-Ibom with the theme `Harnessing the Potential of Organic Agriculture for National Development’.
The initiative, which appreciated government investment in organic agriculture related issues in the country, maintained that the level of investment was still low in relation to the size of the country.
The stakeholders resolved that the level of understanding of business based organic agriculture principles and practices and trade (domestic and export) were low in Nigeria.
“The activities of Organic Agriculture within relevant governmental MDAs for policy formulation and implementation are still at the low level.
“There is a huge technical knowledge gap on organic agriculture production system for export in the country and extension services to facilitate it, needs to be in place.
“The understanding of the required procedures for certification of organic produce and products for both domestic and export trade is still low and extremely limited, enabling environment for organic agriculture business development in the country should be encouraged.
“Also, that there is the need for a holistic engagement of youths and women in organic agriculture for meaningful economic participation,’’ it noted.
EOA stressed the need to encourage increase in organic market shares in terms of produce, products and services from Nigeria at the global market.
“There should be proper funding of the annual National Organic Agriculture Business Summit in order to extend its benefits to more stakeholders; thereby contributing to national development.
“Efforts should be made to mainstream organic agriculture into existing curricula for agricultural training at higher educational institutions in Nigeria, especially, the university system’’.
It recalled that Nigeria subscribed to the Sustainable Development Goals; specifically on Zero Hunger, Good Health and Well-being, Gender Equality and Responsible Consumption and Production being goals two, three, five and 12 respectively.
It noted that the Sustainable Development Goals were relevant to Organic Agriculture.
The initiative wondered why the export value in Organic Agriculture in Nigeria was much lower, compared to its neighbouring countries that are smaller in land size and population.
It frowned at the paucity of scientific evidences to support Organic Agriculture in Nigeria, especially for exportable produce and products.
It also urged all tiers of government in Nigeria to fully explore opportunities in the African Heads of States and Governments’ Decision on Organic Farming 2010.
“The apex educational bodies in Nigeria, National Universities Commission (NUC) and National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) should urgently mainstream Organic Agriculture into academic curricula and support the process of Organic farming development in the country.
“Private initiative in the country like Nigeria Go Organic Project and others providing training in Organic Agriculture should also intensify efforts to train more stakeholders in the sector.
“Appropriate government agencies should urgently mainstream organic farming into their activities and provide sustainable solutions to development of locally adaptable appropriate Organic Agriculture inputs.
`These include, fertilisers, insecticides, herbicides, growth promoters, feeds, drugs, machinery, etc. that can enhance productivity of organic farming in the country at competitive costs’’.
It called for Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TetFund), Industrial Training Fund (ITF), Central Bank of Nigeria, Bank of Agriculture (BoA), Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL Plc.), the Bank of Industry and other private financial institutions to give priority to Organic farming.
“Ministries of Agriculture and Rural Development, Trade, Industry and Investments, Health, Environment as well as parastatals like Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), National Orientation Agency (NOA), etc. should mainstream Organic farming into their operations and activities.
“Also, all private stakeholders should be encouraged to join the Organic Association in order to ensure proper grassroots development and appropriate coordination of the sector.
“Agricultural enterprises by relevant governmental and private stakeholders are required to uphold the integrity of the Organic Agriculture sector of the country’’.
Reports that about 90 participants gathered both physically and virtually for the 5th edition of the summit, representing organic agriculture stakeholders from across the world.
The participants were from the six geo-political zones of Nigeria, Senegal, Togo, Kenya and South Africa, Switzerland and Germany.
The attendance represented circle of enthusiasts in Organic Agricultural input supply, crop production, processing, packaging and consumers.
Also represented were government organisations related to agriculture, education (research and higher educational institutions) as well as trade.