Mr Ernest Aubee, the Chairman Ecological Organic Agriculture (EOA) Regional Steering Committee, ECOWAS Commission, on Thursday said that Organic Agriculture is generating lots of resources globally.
Aubee said this in Abuja during 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,” the chairman said.
He said that 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.
Aubee said that most people were used to conventional agriculture, as such it would take a long time to convince them on Organic Agriculture which he said was one of the major challenges experienced in the practice.
He said that Organic Agriculture is a specilised way of farming which requires 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,” Aubee said.
He said that for Organic Agriculture to thrive in the region, the emphasis should be on the 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 the small farmers,” Aubee said.
The Executive Secretary, Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria (ARCN) Prof. Garba Sharabutu, while welcoming participants, said the council is in the vanguard of promoting Organic Agriculture in Nigeria.
Sharabutu was represented by the Director, Plant Resources Department, ARCN, Dr Oluwafemi Salako.
He said that the stakeholders meeting was to report developments of Organic Agriculture in Nigeria with a view to see 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,” Sharabutu said.
The Country Coordinator EOA Initiative in Nigeria, Dr Olugbenga Adeoluwa commended all stakeholders at the meeting for their efforts to enhance Organic Agriculture in the country.
Adeoluwa said that the Ministry of Agriculture is working effortlessly to put up the draft policy on Organic Agriculture assuring that it will 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 the Organic Agriculture business well,” he said.
Mr Salimonu Oladipo, a farmer from Oyo state applauded the practice of Organic Agriculture describing it as the best way of farming.
“Organic Agriculture is very profitable and sustainable, at least I have been practicing it for the past 10 years,” Oladipo said.
He urged the Federal Government to urgently roll out a policy supporting Organic Agriculture practices, as soon as possible.
By Ebere Agozie
The Head of the Agriculture Division of the ECOWAS Commission, Abuja, Mr. Ernest Aubee, said Nigeria was the leader in promoting organic agriculture in the African region of the 'Where is.
Aubee said this in her closing remarks at the cocktail party on the activities of the Reporting Back Achievements of Ecological Organic Agriculture (EOA) Initiative in Nigeria for the years 2014-2020 and the awards ceremony, at Abuja.
He said Nigeria's efforts in organic farming were commendable and timely as they came at a time when people were paying attention to what they were eating.
“What Nigeria is doing will benefit not only Nigeria as a country but also the 14 other ECOWAS member states, and we hope member states will monitor your progress so far," he said. .
Aubee, also Chairman of the EOA West Africa Regional Steering Committee, said EOA has been given a prominent place in the ECOWAS Commission, so she is leading the initiative. of organic farming for the benefit of the region.
“We need to look for the best way to integrate organic farming into every sector of the economy, to encourage and promote its sustainability in the region,” he said.
Aubee urged other ECOWAS member states to immediately start working on how best to ensure the integration of organic farming into their lives.
The event brought together representatives of the Ministries of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), Trade, Industry and Investments.
Also in attendance were the Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria (ARCN), the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), the National Universities Commission (NUC), the National Council for Technical Education (NBTE), NAFDAC and the partners of the EOA initiative in Nigeria.
Previously, Dr Olugbenga AdeOluwa, the National EOA Coordinator in Nigeria, reported that the Initiative had the support of African Heads of State Decision EX.CL/Dec.621 (XVII) 2020 on Agriculture biological, and that Nigeria had been part of the EOA Process since 2011.
Mr. Oyewole Gbadamosi, the project leader, while reporting on the achievements of EOA, said the goal was to integrate EOA into national agricultural production systems by 2025, with a view to improve the quality of life of African citizens.
“An organic crop and livestock research database has been produced and distributed to strategic institutional libraries in Nigeria; to fill the gaps in biological research in the country.
“It has also supported the production of the current revised version of the organic farming standards in Nigeria.
“The initiative has successfully supported one doctoral program, while support for another is ongoing.
“We also supported eight master's studies and the publication of seven research articles in an international journal.
“The curriculum for a comprehensive program on organic farming technology (OAT) in agricultural colleges has been developed.
"The material is ready to be submitted to pre-review and national validation workshops, before being absorbed by colleges, after approval by the National Council for Technical Education," he said.
The project manager also noted that intensive awareness raising on the benefits of organic farming was being promoted by the Initiative.
“We have done a lot of intensive awareness raising on the benefits of organic farming with the production of a lot of information and educational material on organic farming in English and in different indigenous languages of the country.
“We have over 27 printed publications covering different aspects of organic farming.
“We produced both print and video material on organic animal production (posted on YouTube https://youtu.be/EOrlsk4K0aE, https://youtu.be/F5IsrrbilH4 and https://youtu.be / 0LX9GXhP7Qg) to increase organic animal production in the country.
“We also produced audiovisual jingles on the benefits of organic farming in four languages; English, Yoruba, Igbo and Hausa, to educate consumers in the country, ”he said.
Gbadamosi said the capacity of more than 450 stakeholders has been strengthened to undertake inspections under the participatory guarantee system of certification and general organic farming issues.
“250 extension agents in the 36 states and in Abuja have been trained on the basics of organic farming, the concept of innovation platforms and its functioning and the operationalization of innovation platforms in organic farming to stimulate organic farming markets in Nigeria.
“We have supported the production of the first project of 'Organic farming standards in West Africa'. This material has been submitted to the West Africa Regional Secretariat for further input.
“We have hosted an Agricultural Business Summit, an annual exhibition of organic farming products, products and services in Nigeria since 2016.
"We also launched OrganiCulture, a journal of organic farming companies, to promote the development of organic farming businesses in the country and the national organic farming award," he added.
Highlights of the event included the presentation of the 2020 National Organic Business Summit Award to Ms. Ebere Agozie, of the (NAN), as the 2020 Organic Advocacy and Media Personality.
The other award winners were Ms. Udeme Udoya of Ikot Ekpene Women Food Cash Crops Multifunctional Co-operative Society, as Organic Farmer of the Year, and Akwa Ibom State, as Organic State Government of the year. (NOPE)(NAN)
Hon. Daniel Asuquo, member, House of Representatives has called on stakeholders to take appropriate steps to harness the untapped potential in organic agriculture.
Asuquo gave the advice on Wednesday at the ongoing 2020 National Organic Agriculture Business Summit in Uyo, Akwa-Ibom with the theme “Harnessing the Potential of Organic Agriculture for National Development’’.
He noted that organic agriculture in Nigeria was still at the infant stage despite increasing awareness of opportunities in the sector at the global and national levels.
The legislator enumerated some of the challenges faced by organic agriculture practitioners to include lack of understanding of its principles and practices.
“Others are poorly developed value chains for organic agricultural enterprises and poor understanding of business opportunities derivable from organic agriculture,” he said.
Asuquo said that lack of technical knowledge on organic production was another challenge.
He noted that certification was a major limitation of organic agriculture development in the country which also required legislation.
“Certification in organic agriculture guides against counterfeit and poor quality products that can hinder the development of organic agriculture in our country.
“This is one area where I will use my position as a member of the House of Representatives to pursue in order to contribute towards harnessing the potential of organic agriculture,” Asuquo said.
Mr Ernest Aubee, Head of Agriculture Division, ECOWAS Commission in his speech, said that ECOWAS Protocol on Free Movement of People, Goods and Services should be followed for free movement of organic agriculture.
Dr Gbemenou Gnonlonfin, Programmme Design Specialist, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations called for the use of Agroecology.
Gnonlonfin said Agroecology would help manage interactions between plants, animals, humans and the environment for food security and nutrition saying it was a good alternative for food security in Africa.
He said FAO recognised the importance of farmers managing human and natural capital to improve food security, nutrition, and rural development.
The summit monitored virtually by the News Agency of Nigeria , had both physical and virtual participants from Nigeria and other African countries.
Edited By: Razak Owolabi
OXFAM commends ECOWAS for commitment to gender parity
Abuja, Dec. 11, 2018 The Country Director, OXFAM, Mr Constant Tchona, has commended the ECOWAS parliament for its commitment to gender equality.
Tchona made the commendation in an address at a seminar in Abuja on Tuesday.
The seminar was jointly organised by the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), OXFAM International, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and Women in Law and Development in Africa.
The seminar was held to address gender parity in the agriculture sector through the establishment of an inter-parliamentary network.
The Country Director also praised ECOWAS for its quest to ensure that agricultural investments were of benefit to women and men in the region.
Mr Sekou Sangare, ECOWAS Commissioner for Agriculture, Environment and Water Resources, said that women and youth could not be left out in any agricultural transformation process.
“As an institution and together with our partners, our commitment to you and this network is to consistently engage and extend our technical expertise and experience and any other support within our ability to make sure the network lives up to its objectives,” he said.
The Nigeria News Agency reports that the network would address impediments to achieving sustainable agriculture in the ECOWAS sub- region.
The network by the ECOWAS Parliament would also focus on addressing gender and social inequality in agricultural investments and promote best practices to ensure inclusive local development.
In his address at the occasion, Mr Sekou Sangare, ECOWAS Commissioner for Agriculture, Environment and Water Resources, said that women and youth could not be left out in any agricultural transformation process.
Sangare, who was represented by Mr Ernest Aubee, Principal Programme Officer and ECOWAS Head of Agriculture Division, said the network was critical to realising objectives of the ECOWAS Agricultural Policy 2025.
He added that the commission had put mechanisms in place to achieve food and nutrition security in the region.
“One of such frameworks is the Regional Agricultural Investment Plan 2025 and the National Agricultural Investment plans for food and nutrition security which all the ECOWAS member states are working on.
“And we are very hopeful that by the end of this year we will be able to complete this process,” he added.
Mr Suffyan Koroma, FAO representative to Nigeria described gender inequality as a driver of poverty hunger and malnutrition adding that both men and women were key partners to addressing the challenges.
“FAO will support this initial phase of the operationalisation of the network for an amount of $99, 000 through a technical cooperation project facility with the ECOWAS Parliament,” he added.
Edited by: David Onilede/Donald Ugwu