The strike embarked upon by the Academic Staff of University nationwide and the internal bureaucracy of the current administration have affected the activity, especially the research components of Ecological Organic Agriculture (EOA) activities.
Speaking on the challenge of EOA in Nigeria while presenting a report of the state of EOA with a topic the Ecological Organic Agriculture (EOA) Initiative Implementation in Nigeria in Abuja, the Country Coordinator of EOA, Dr. Olugbenga O. AdeOluwa, said the size of EOA market in Nigeria is still small but innovative.
He said further that the demand for organic produce is greater than the supply since most farmers involved are small holders and that there is a need for scaling up production.
“The myths of organic agriculture are many. Majority of the researcher and policy makers equate organic agriculture with organic fertilizer, while volume of organic produce available per season cannot sustain the markets established. Issues of weed control, pest management, absence to farm machinery / inputs and continuous dependent on rain fed agriculture has limited production.
“Mainstreaming of EOA into national agricultural policy in Nigeria is gradually coming to reality. At least eight MDAs have assigned desk officers within their organization for EOA related issues namely: Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD); Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment (FMITI); Federal Ministry of Education, Federal Ministry of Finance, Federal Ministry of Health; Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria (ARCN); Raw Materials Research and Development council; Nigerian Export Promotion Council Research (NEPC) and National Orientation Agency Conclusion contd.
“The National Organic Agriculture Business Summit (NOABS); an annual event principally used for pushing the EOA agenda in the country, has 20 MDAs and over 24 other organizations in the planning committee and implementation of NOABS 2021 held in NEPC headquarters, Abuja from 2 – 4 November. Two new sales outlets were established in the last two months. (Jaja Clinic of the University of Ibadan and Oyo State Secretariat in collaboration with the Ministry of Agric. in the state).
On funding, he said the Initiative only got seed fund as support from Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation through Biovision Africa Trust, saying there is the need to fund raise to support the activities of the Initiative in the country.
On achievement, AdeOluwa, said a database of organic agriculture research on crop and livestock were produced and distributed in strategic institutional libraries in Nigeria; in bridging organic research gaps in the country.
Adding that the initiative has successfully supported one PhD degree programme while the support of the other one is ongoing and that the programme has also supported eight Master studies and publication of seven research articles in an international journal.
“The draft curriculum for a full programme on Organic Agriculture Technology (OAT) in the Colleges of Agriculture has been produced. The material is ready to be subjected to pre-critic and national validation workshops before absorption by the colleges after approval from National Board for Technical Education.
“Training of over 250 extension officers in the 35 states and Abuja on Basics of Organic Agriculture, Concept of Innovation Platforms and how it operates and the operationalization of organic agriculture innovation platforms for driving organic agriculture markets in Nigeria. Facilitated the creation of Organic Agriculture Innovation Platform at the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Welcoming the participants, the Chairperson, EOA National Steering Committee, Mrs Igoh Janets said the meeting was to report Achievement of EOA projects to the National System on the sustainability of EOA project in Nigeria and unveiling of Organic and Agroecology Initiative (ORAIN).