The Chairman, Ecological Organic Agriculture (EOA) Regional Steering Committee, Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission, Mr. Ernest Aubee has said that organic agriculture is generating lots of resources globally. Aubee said this at a two-day national stakeholders meeting on reporting achievements of EOA in Nigeria to the government and national stakeholders. “ECOWAS Commission is promoting organic agriculture in West Africa. We, as a region, want to benefit from the high turnover in terms of resources so that our farmers can also benefit. Organic agriculture is the best way to adopt because it is promoting sound health for the people in West Africa in terms of protecting the environment and enhancing livelihoods”, the chairman said.
Aubee disclosed that most people were used to conventional agriculture and as such, it would take a long time to convince them on organic agriculture, which he said was one of the major challenges being experienced in the practice. He said that organic agriculture was a specialised way of farming, which required certain standards, regulations and laws. “A number of our countries in the ECOWAS region are working hard to have those laws, regulations and standards. The ECOWAS Commission is supporting them in the development of the standards and for organic agriculture to thrive in the region, emphasis should be on small farmers. ECOWAS has projects in all the 15-member states to support organic agriculture. We also support various research activities so that the technology that is developed meets the requirements of small farmers”, Aubee said.
The Executive Secretary, Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria (ARCN), Prof. Garba Sharabutu said his council was in the vanguard of promoting organic agriculture in Nigeria. Prof. Sharabutu, who was represented by the Director, Plant Resources Department of ARCN, Dr. Oluwafemi Salako, said that the stakeholders meeting was to report developments in organic agriculture in Nigeria with a view to seeing how it can be enhanced and enlarged to ensure food security. “We want to see how this meeting will better the life of every Nigerian”, Prof. Sharabutu said. The Country Coordinator, EOA Initiative in Nigeria, Dr. Olugbenga Adeoluwa, lauded all stakeholders for their efforts at enhancing the use of organic agriculture in the country.
Dr. Adeoluwa said that the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development was working effortlessly to put up the draft policy on organic agriculture assuring that it would be approved very soon by the executive arm of government. “We do hope that when this policy is out, Nigerians should be able to do organic agriculture business well”, he said. Mr. Salimonu Oladipo, a farmer from Oyo State, lauded the practice of organic agriculture, describing it as the best way of farming because it is very profitable and sustainable while urging the Federal Government to urgently roll out an enabling policy supporting the practice of organic agriculture.