Association calls for adequate agriculture research funding in Nigeria
Prof. Victor Olowe, President of the Association of Organic Agriculture Practitioners of Nigeria (AOAPN) says proper and adequate agriculture research funding will improve organic farming technique and knowledge of healthy farming.
Olowe made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Abuja.
“Agriculture Research Council and other related agencies of the country should include funding of organic agriculture research in their activities.
“They should also establish Organic Materials Review Institute of Nigeria to coordinate and support organic integrity by developing clear information and guidance about agriculture materials.
“This will help producers to know which products are appropriate for organic operations just like the Organic Materials Review Institute of USA,’’ he said.
He said that the Agriculture Research Institute of Nigeria (ARCN) should partner with the AOAPN to identify and address major research priorities.
“This will go a long way to make organic agriculture more productive, profitable and sustainable.
“It will also support healthy and productive food and agriculture systems as well as stepping up their efforts to sensitise the society about the multiple benefits of organic agriculture.
Olowe said the association was making progress in providing leadership for the development of organic farming practices in the country.
“We are showcasing the great potential of organic farming, principles and practices in Nigeria by addressing challenges such as the ban of some agricultural crops from Nigeria to Europe.
“The development and implementation of appropriate policies to support development of the organic agriculture sub-sector of the Nigerian economy will promote healthy farming.
He said that the Ministry of Education should include training in organic agriculture and ecology in the curricula of agricultural subjects at all levels.
“Even the primary and secondary schools should be encouraged to establish Organic Agriculture Clubs and as well encourage the use of locally produced organic food in school feeding,’’Olowe said.
According to him, all these will go a long way to fast-track the development of healthy farming in the country.
He said that the association would meet in Anambra in July for the next National Organic Agriculture Business Summit, to further drive the development of organic agriculture business in the country.
NAN reports that organic farming is a technique, which involves cultivation of plants and rearing of animals in natural ways.
This process involves the use of biological materials, avoiding synthetic substances to maintain soil fertility and ecological balance thereby minimizing pollution and wastage.
It relies on ecologically balanced agricultural principles like crop rotation, green manure, organic waste, biological pest control, mineral and rock additives.
Organic farming makes use of pesticides and fertilizers if they are considered natural and avoids the use of various petrochemical fertilizers and pesticides.
Organically grown food items and agricultural produce promote better nutrition as compared to a longer time conventionally grown food.
Organic food is much richer in nutrients while organic farming enhances the nutrients of the soil which is passed on to the plants and animals.