Pro-organic agriculture experts and other stakeholders at a recently concluded summit in Abuja have unanimously appointed Dr. (Mrs.) Sarah Jubril, who was Special Assistant to former President Goodluck Jonathan on Ethics and Values, to lead ten others in drafting a well-articulated bill on organic agriculture to be presented to the National Assembly for passage.
The Chairman, National Ecological Organic Agriculture (EOA) Steering Committee, Isah Adamu, disclosed that the proposed bill becomes important in order to ensure a properly regulated system for organic agriculture practice in Nigeria in the face of adulteration of farm inputs where traceability and certification are very vital.
Adamu wondered why the government and others have not focused on organic agriculture when organic foods have been proven over the years to be very nutritious, tasty and attracts premium price, among other benefits.
The major stakeholders from the public and private sector called on the government to ensure a proactive policy that would drive organic agriculture especially with the numerous sanctions placed on Nigerian agricultural produce in U.K. and other countries.
Speaking at the summit organized by National Organic Agriculture Practitioners of Nigeria (NOAN) and other partners, the Executive Secretary of Federation of Agricultural Commodity Associations of Nigeria (FACAN), Alhaji Dogodaji, raised serious concerns about the rate of agricultural produce export returns from abroad especially cowpea.
“We cannot fold our hands allowing our members to continue to be culprits due to unacceptability of commodities,” he noted.
An organic farmer, Hajiya Fatimah Kachalla Shitu, attributed the neglect of organic agriculture by the farmers and others to lack of awareness and extension services, among other factors.
“Awareness must be created among the farmers and other stakeholders to achieve results. No extension workers in the country and Train the Trainer training programmes are not taken seriously,” she said.