Politics

ECOWAS supporting smallholder farmers in Nigeria, others with technologies for organic farming, says official

The head of Agriculture Division at the ECOWAS commission, Abuja, Ernest Aubee, has said that the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is supporting smallholder farmers in the region with technologies on organic farming.

Aubee, who said this at a national stakeholders meeting on ecological organic agriculture, said organic agriculture requires standards and regulations, and the ECOWAS is assisting member states to develop those standards.

“ECOWAS commission is promoting organic agriculture in West Africa because organic agriculture is the right way to go in terms of improving the health of the people of West Africa, in terms of protecting the environment and also in terms of enhancing livelihood, because it is generating lots of resources globally.

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“Organic agriculture is a specialised way of farming, and it requires certain standards, regulations, and laws and a number of our countries in the ECOWAS region are working very hard to have those laws, regulations, and standards, and the ECOWAS Commission is assisting them in developing those standards.

“For organic agriculture to thrive, the emphasis should be on smallholder farmers, and in this regard, from the ECOWAS commission perspective, we have projects in all the 15 member states to support organic agriculture.

“We are supporting various research activities so that the technologies that are developed for organic agriculture meet the requirements of the smallholder farmers,” he said.

Also, the country coordinator of the ecological organic agriculture (EOA) initiative in Nigeria, Olugbenga Adeoluwa, said the focus of EOA is how to mainstream organic agriculture into the policy of the government.

He said the adoption of organic farming would enhance Nigeria’s opportunity in joining food-exporting countries, thereby generating revenue for the country and improving the lives of rural farmers.

“The focus of this initiative is how to mainstream organic agriculture into the policy of the government. We are thankful to the government of Nigeria and the federal ministry of agriculture that enabled the stakeholders meeting on the organic agriculture bill to take place.

“We hope that if Nigeria can push through the policy document of the organic agriculture initiative, it will greatly assist in doing neat business as far as organic agriculture is concerned.

“It will provide an enabling environment, especially quality guarantee and the ease of making organic agriculture business in the country,” he noted.

An organic agriculture farmer, Chief Salimono Oladipo said organic agriculture is sustainable and it is very much feasible. He said he has been practicing organic farming for the past 10 years.

“The government should roll out policies supporting organic agriculture practice so that all these disturbing chemicals will be reduced and allow organic pesticides to be put into use,” he said. 

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