By Patience Omoha and Ugochi Ugochukwu
Dr Olugbenga Ade-Oluwa, National Coordinator, Ecological Organic Agriculture (EOA) Initiative in Nigeria says the country is among the least countries practising organic agriculture in African.
Ade-Oluwa said this during the inauguration of the 2021 annual National Organic Agriculture Business Summit (NOABS) Local Organising Committee (LOC) on Thursday in Abuja.
He said that one of the essences of the summit is to scale up Nigeria’s level of participation in organic farming and improve its development.
“The summit will create awareness on the benefits of organic farming and improve on the marketing of the product within and outside Nigeria.
“It is also one of the ways of addressing the challenges of organic agriculture development in the country,’’ he said.
The coordinator emphasised the need for capacity building of practitioners in the organic agriculture sector to contribute to food security, income generation, employment and systems resilience among other benefits.
“It will create job opportunities, improve the livelihood of stakeholders and ensure a wider spread of benefits of organic agriculture to all stakeholders.
“It will also improve local development of export business in organic agriculture, provide a platform for producers and business people in the value chain to network.’’
The summit, he said, is expected to also mainstream organic agriculture into regular activities of relevant ministries, departments and agencies.
The Executive Director of the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) and Chairman of the LOC, Olusegun Awolowo, said that global organic product sales might move from $100 billion to $150 billion within the next five years.
Awolowo, who was represented by Mr Salami Akinshola, the Deputy Director, Product Development Department said `it is an opportunity to develop Nigeria’s organic food sector with the high demand for organic product both locally and internationally’’.
According to him, many Nigeria agro products such as ginger, hibiscus, moringa, tiger-nuts, sesame seed, turmeric, soybeans, can be grown organically.
He said that it took over 15 years for global organic product sales to reach $50 billion in 2008, adding that it surpassed the $100 billion mark in 2018.
“With COVID-19 changing the way we shop and eat, the next leap to $150 billion could be within the next five years,’’ Awolowo said.
He said that the value of organic food demand has risen significantly due to global awareness on the essence of food safety concern and focus on organically produced crops.
NAN reports that the Organic Agriculture Business Summit, scheduled for September, will focus on improving the quality of organic produce from Nigeria.
It will also address the incidence of Nigerian produce being rejected in the world market. (NAN)