Scholars and other stakeholders in the agric sector have called on farmers to embrace organic agriculture to save the environment and also for healthy living.
While speaking during the General Assembly and inauguration of the National Steering Committees (NSC) of the Knowledge Cluster On Organic Agriculture (KCOA) in Ibadan, Oyo State, they maintained that organic agriculture practice prevents soil depletion, increases the income of farmers, and also capable of taking farmers out of penury.
Dr. Jude Obi of the Department of Soil Science, University of Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, assured that organic agriculture would ensure the safety of farmers and consumers, stimulate bumper harvest, protect the environment and create opportunities for farmers.
Obi said: “What we are doing today is to inaugurate the Steering Committee and empower them to do their work. There are different components that are concerned. The most important now is safety, because most of the things we consume using the conventional process don’t give us the safety we require.
“So, if we want to live healthy, if we want to have good lives and enjoy the good taste in our food, have a food product that doesn’t deteriorate fast after harvest, then we must go organic. If we must go organic we must convince the farmers to go organic. What we are telling farmers now is to embrace organic agriculture. It is for safety for farmers and consumers and bumper harvest, protect our environment. It eradicates poverty.”
On her part, a Professor of Food and Nutrition Security, Faculty of Agriculture, Nnamdi Azikwe University, Akwa, Anambra State, Mrs. Theresa Meludu believed that organic agriculture is safer than conventional farming. “It has high premium and it is what the international community is looking for now because they understand the health implications of the use of synthetic and chemicals.
That is why we are encouraging our farmers to embrace organic agriculture.”
Prof. Wumi Ipinmoroti of Osun State University, College of Agriculture, who represented the Association of Organic Agriculture Practitioners of Nigeria
NOAN President, Prof. Victor Olowe said: “The purpose of organic agriculture is to get safe food to eat and distribute to consumers so that they can be healthy and have a premium price for what they produce. It is heartbreaking that farmers don’t get more income because they don’t quantify their labour. Everything goes middlemen. The off-takers just come and make the money. Organic agriculture eliminates that gap by encouraging premium pricing.”
On his part, Dr. Umar Umar Abdullahi of Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria, Abuja said: “If you look at the current situation in the country, the people gaining from agriculture are the off-takers. Organic agriculture will provide a good income for smallholder farmers. Ninety per cent of farmers are smallholders. Organic agriculture can give them a way out.”