By Ebere Agozie
Abuja – Stakeholders in the Organic Agriculture Sector say the practice of organic farming will be the saviour of health and environment sectors of the country.
The stakeholders made the assertion at the opening ceremony of the Train the Trainers programme, northern segment organised by the Association of Organic Agriculture Practitioners of Nigeria on Monday in Abuja.
Dr Olugbenga Adeoluwa, the Country Coordinator, Ecological Organic Agriculture (EOA) said the one week programme was to train participants on the principles and practices of organic agriculture in an entrepreneurial way to enable train others.
“The training will bring organic agriculture home with the principles of organic agriculture practice which sustains the health of soils, ecosystems, biodiversity and people.’’
He said that organic agriculture relied on ecological processes and nutrient cycles adapted to local conditions rather than the use of external inputs with adverse effects.
“Organic agriculture combines traditional knowledge, innovation and modern science to benefit the shared environment and promote fair relationships and a good quality of life for all involved as defined by International Federation of Organic Movement (IFOAM, 2004).
“Studies have revealed that organic agriculture increased yields in Africa by over 100 per cent and rganic agriculture has higher yields under conditions of climatic extremes.
“In recent times, organic agriculture is developing rapidly and is now practiced in more than 160 countries of the world.”
Alhaji Muhammad Arabi, the Managing Director, Abuja Enterprise Agency (AEA) promised the assistance of the agency to the best participants of the training in terms of business advice and financial support to start-ups.
Arabi said that the agency’s mandate was to develop and promote SMEs in the FCT.
“The trainees progress will be monitored and evaluated based on the set standards.
“You must work for it: as a youth, you have no business to be idle but be proactive.
“Ensure you follow your passion to a successful end, don’t waste your time just learning but make use of the knowledge you acquired.
“Challenge yourself, be dedicated and make yourself a better person, make your family and the country a better place.”
Mrs Saidat Shonoiki, the Abuja Interim Chapter Coordinator, Association of Organic Agriculture Practitioners of Nigeria said that organic farming would be beneficial to families and the country at large.
Shonoiki encouraged the participants to learn and go back to the public and scale down the principles and benefits of organic farming.
Mr Audu Ogbe, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, represented by Mrs Heather Akanni, Technical Adviser, Quality Control and Standardisation said he was “very much’’ in organic agriculture.
He however promised to sponsor two participants to the train the trainers programme.
The training programme is designed to take place in different parts of the country such as South-East, South-South, South-West and northern zone.