The Agricultural and Rural Management Training Institute (ARMTI) Ilorin in Kwara State is advocating for wider adoption of organic agriculture because the inputs are “cheap” and can be “easily sourced”.
The institute’s mission is to identify and analyse management needs, problems and develop appropriate interventions to improve managerial practice in the agricultural and rural sector.
The Executive Director/CEO, of the organisation, Dr Olufemi Oladunni in a media chat on Nigerian agriculture in the wake of this global pandemic said organic practice improves the soil structure and produces healthy food for human consumption.
He said as the global trade has shut down due to COVID-19 pandemic, farmers would have limited access to certain fertilisers, pesticides and other farm inputs, which are either imported or whose ingredients are mostly imported.
He urged farmers to look for and adopt other alternatives.
“First, we should commend the government for exempting agricultural practitioners and every other stakeholder in the agricultural sector from the lockdown.
“Agencies such as ARMTI, National Seed Council and other establishments that service the agricultural sector are up and running and available for farmers and other stakeholders to access for the essential services that provide.
“In addition, the government has set-up fertiliser blending plants in country to ease access to the very important farm input.
“The only aspect that requires help at this time is marketing. Farmers and stakeholders in agricultural commodity value chain need to request for help on storage from government agencies such as National Stored Products Research Institute (NSPRI).
“Moreover, now is the time for agricultural practitioners to explore the innovation that social media provides for the marketing of their produce,” Dr Oladunni said.
He advised farmers to obey the FG’s protocol on COVID-19 and take responsibility in containing this virus. He also encourages actors in the nation’s agricultural commodity value chain by consuming locally produced agricultural products.
“Agricultural activities must not stop. Pandemic or not, feeding goes on and agriculture is that sector that if fully exploited, has the capacity not only to feed the nation but, also become the mainstay of its economy” he said.