In continued efforts to ensure safe and healthy production of food with higher nutritional value/ long shelf life, control pollution and enhancement of biodiversity as well as cultivating resistance of crops to pest, diseases, the Ecological Organic Agriculture Initiative in Nigeria, EOA, has organised a 2- Day stakeholders meeting in Abuja to achieve its outlined goals.
The meeting held was also to create a strategic plan for Organic and Agroecology, controlling soil degradation and erosion, as well as reporting achievements of the EOA Initiative projects to the National System which includes Government and National Stakeholders.
Speaking during the event, the Executive Secretary, Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria, ARCN, Prof Garba Sharabutu noted that organic agricultural was at its infancy stage and was gathering momentum and everyone involved in decision making was contributing their quota to ensure its very aim of providing quality nutrition.
The Executive Secretary ably represented by Dr Oluwafemi Salako, the Director, Farm Resources, ARCN, said that the Organic Agriculture was been carried out not just produce sufficient food but also to provide quality nutrition.
He stated that the essence of the meeting was to report achievements of ecological organic agricultural and to seek ways to improve the project.
“The essence of this meeting is to report achievements as well as challenges of ecological organic agriculture initiative in Nigeria to the government and national stakeholders also seeking a way forward to move the project from where it is now to where it should be or to achieve its purpose and this will be done by creating awareness using various and important medium and ensuring sessions with farmers across the country,” he added.
In her opening remarks, the Chairperson, EOA National Steering Committee, Department of Farm Input Support Services, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, FMARD, Mrs Igoh Janet while stating that the meeting was also to assess the sustainability of the EOA project in the country noted that it was set to unveil Organic and Agroecology Initiative in Nigeria, ORAIN.
Igoh maintained that the initiative will woo farmers and investors into Nigeria’s agricultural sector adding that “we are all here due to our passion for Organic Agriculture in Nigeria, your passion helps us to build giant strides in preaching organic in Nigeria and to teaching and wooing farmers to shift or key into organic agriculture.”
Also the Country Coordinator, EOA Initiative in Nigeria, Dr Olugbenga AdeOluwa, stated that the initiative originated from the African Union Commission, the ECOWAS Commission and now has been brought into Nigeria, and anchored by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
He said; “food sufficiency has become a major challenge that our farmers encounter, also they lack resources for optimum food production. In terms of fertilizers, pesticides, etc. But the reality there is that God has blessed us with natural alternatives for these, which most farmers don’t know. When we’re talking about organic and cultural or agroecology, we are talking about working with the nature which means first of all, put in place within your primary systems, what will prevent erosion/ soil degradation, what will prevent pests, what will prevent diseases and thereafter that you can now produce?
“One of the things we benefit in our organic farm is good health you know, people know that once they eat healthy, they will have lesser health challenges, also is better production and better patronage.”
Meanwhile Mr Ernest Aubee, Chairman, EOA Regional Steering Committee, ECOWAS Commission added that for Nigeria to achieve its goal of food sustainability, it has to explore all possible avenues of which Organic Agriculture was one in addition to Conventional Agricultural practices.