Dr Jude Obi, a lecturer in the Department of Soil Science and Land Resources Management, University of Uyo says organic agriculture combines best traditional practices with modern farming methods for health benefits.
Obi said this during his online presentation on `Organic Agriculture to the Rescue’ organised by the Journalists Go Organic Initiative.
He said that any agriculture practice not `rooted’ grows and develops on the principles of health, ecology, fairness, and care should be jettisoned.
“These principles express the contributions and the vision that organic agriculture presents to humanity for achieving safe and egalitarian global society.
“It builds on relationships that ensure fairness with regard to the common environment and life opportunities, manages in a precautionary and responsible manner to protect the health and well-being of current and future generations and the environment.
“Any activity, process, practice that does not conform, uphold and fully abide with these principles is clearly not good for the environment and its inhabitants,’’ he stressed.
Obi, who is also the Coordinator for the Knowledge Centre for Organic Agriculture (KCOA) in Africa, also highlighted the potential of ecological agriculture.
“Ecological agriculture generates both economic value and sustainable development which should be seriously promoted to enable Africa to exploit this niche.
“The continent should adopt organic agriculture practice due to the fragile environment that pervades it; for instance, the best soils are alluvial deposits found in the major river valleys.
“Most of the soils are difficult to cultivate, although soils in the humid tropics can be quite rich due to the forest cover and the rapid decomposition of organic matter.
“However, intense rainfall leads to the leaching of most of the plant nutrients resulting in the formation latosols or ferrosols and luvisols with some undesirable characteristics.’’
According to Obi, toward the deserts, the soils are sandy and deep but low in humus and quite infertile, which give way to xerosols that are quite low in humus.
“Confronting these fragile environments is the episode of worsening land degradation.
“The summary is that these soils are inherently not resilient and management using synthetic resources and heavy equipment is not sustainable in the long run. It has caught up with us earlier than anticipated.
“These explained the failure of all large farms established in Nigeria and will continue to hunt those that will decide not to listen that organic agriculture is the answer.’’
Obi said that both researches and practical results had shown that in as much as the conventional system continually increases inputs from soil amendments to herbicides, pesticides, insecticides and finally genetically modified; organic practices increase benefits and profitability.
Enumerating the benefits of organic agriculture, Obi said “it has positive effects on the soil by improving soil condition, lower soil pollution, erosion and flooding, ground water purification, energy efficient, greater flavour and nutrition, helps pollinators and sustains biodiversity.
“Organically grown food and agricultural produce have better nutrition, helps us stay healthy, free of poison, organic foods enhance taste and longer shelf-life.
“Has antioxidant content, improves heart condition, antibiotic resistance, pesticide cutback, stronger immune system, products are poison-free, lower levels of toxic metals.’’
Obi said that with the crisis confronting humanity from strange diseases to unfriendly environment, natural disaster, communal clashes, and war, “it became obvious that the starting point is environmentally-friendly options and the organic agriculture has taken the lead.’’