Association wants capacity building in organic agriculture

The Association of Organic Agriculture Practitioners of Nigeria (AOAPN) says capacity building in organic agriculture will facilitate ongoing efforts to diversify the national economy.

Prof. Victor Olowe, President made this known in Abuja.

“Capacity building in organic agriculture farming will wean the nation away from its overdependence on oil revenue, especially in view of the volatility in global oil prices.

“We must unlock Nigeria’s agricultural potential and diversify our economy through foreign and domestic investments and exports.

“And to successfully accomplish this, agricultural stakeholders should consider it expedient to produce agribusiness and investment opportunities to facilitate the unlocking of business and investment opportunities in the organic agriculture value chain,’’ he said.

Olowe said that the association had been involved in several workshops and summits that were aimed at disseminating knowledge on the techniques involved in organic agriculture practices.

“We want farmers to maximise their opportunities to acquire the necessary prerequisites for the harnessing of organic agriculture produce, business and opportunities.

“This will help to encourage and reposition Nigeria to attain food security and economic diversification, while creating jobs, improving livelihoods, ensuring self-sufficiency and enhancing foreign exchange earnings.

“It will also ensure that Nigerian farmers step up production and encourage the private sector to establish medium and large-scale processing facilities.

“This would reduce waste, enhance value addition for better pricing and establish marketing and distribution outfits, as well as create jobs and wealth, as contained in the association’s roadmap,’’ he said.

Olowe said that organic farming was a production system that sustained the health of the soils, the ecosystem, biodiversity and the people.

“It relies on ecological processes and nutrients cycle that are adapted to local conditions, rather than the use of external inputs which often have adverse effects.

“It combines traditional knowledge, innovation and modern science to benefit the shared environment, while promoting fair relationships and good quality of life for all involved in organic agriculture practices.

“It does not use synthetic fertilisers, pesticides, herbicides, growth regulators, antibiotics, hormone stimulants and livestock feed additives to grow crops and raise animals.

“But by using natural foodstuffs and having particular concern for animal welfare, organic farmers use the environment’s own systems to produce healthy livestock and put waste back into the soil,’’ he added.