Agric expert calls for paradigm shift in agriculture to embrace organic farming

Dr Olugbenga Adeoluwa, the Country Coordinator, Ecological Organic Agriculture (EOA) initiative in Nigeria has called for a paradigm shift in agriculture to embrace organic farming for the health of humans, animals and the environment.

Adeoluwa made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Abuja.

He said that there was a need for the adoption of organic living, which comprises consumption of organic food and products, and would consider overall wellbeing of the environment.

“There is a need to explore alternatives to pesticides, herbicides, fertilisers and other non-ecofriendly agricultural inputs through the use of organic methods.”
Adeoluwa also called for quality assurance for organic produce and products through appropriate certification such as Participatory Guarantee System (PGS) for domestic producers and third-party certification for the export products.

According to him, it is necessary for the Federal Government to strengthen the quality assurance processes and work for a holistic engagement of youths and women in organic agriculture for job creation.

NAN reports that Nigeria is a part to the Sustainable Development Goals, specifically Goal 2 (Zero Hunger), Goal 3 (Good Health and Well-being), Goal 5 (Gender Equality) and Goal 12 (Responsible Consumption and Production.

“The Federal Government should pursue the promised 700,000 jobs in the agro-allied sector under the “Strategic Framework and Implementation Plan for Job Creation and Youth Employment and adequately involve the organic agriculture sub-sector.

“We also want increased organic market share in the global market for Nigerian produce, products and services as well as explore international exhibitions like the BioFach.

“The global organic trade is worth over 90 billion dollars but it is most unfortunate that with her huge potential, Nigeria is yet to have a share of it.

“We want stakeholders in the organic agriculture sub-sector in Nigeria to take advantage of several international market opportunities for organic produce and products.’’

The coordinator said that organic agriculture research was poorly funded and the agricultural funding policies had not given adequate attention to the organic agriculture sub-sector.

“The yearly budget of agricultural, health, industry, trade and investment and environment ministries, financial institutions and parastatals should address appropriate organic agriculture issues in Nigeria.

“Research should be properly funded for scientifically based evidence to promote organic agriculture and appropriate funding to support the efforts of organic agriculture entrepreneurs.

“The need for funding of the annual National Organic Agriculture Business Summit in order to extent the benefits to more stakeholders for national development is ever growing.

“International partners like UNIDO, UNCTAD, FAO, UNEP, UNDP, UNESCO, IFAD and other programmes under embassies in Nigeria should support organic agriculture activities.”

Adeoluwa called on the Federal Government to mainstream organic agriculture into existing curricula for agricultural training at tertiary educational institutions in the country.

“Organic agriculture is not reflected in the existing curricula for agricultural training at tertiary institutions in the country.

“The Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria, Agricultural research institutes and universities should prioritise organic agriculture research in their activities.

“The National Universities Commission (NUC) and National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) should drive the mainstreaming of organic agriculture into existing curricula in tertiary educational institutions in Nigeria,” he advised.

Adeoluwa advised overseers of the school feeding programmes and care givers to adopt organic produce and products for improved health.

He called on the media to create more awareness on the benefits of organic living through appropriate media activities. (NAN)