A member of the House of Representatives, Daniel Asuquo, has harped on the need to exploit the untapped potentials in organic agriculture in Nigeria.
The lawmaker observed that the practice remains at the initial stage of development in Nigeria despite increasing awareness on its benefits at the global level.
Asuquo made these observations at the 2020 National Organic Agriculture Business Summit in Uyo, the Akwa-Ibom State capital.
The Summit, which hosted participants from Nigeria and other African countries, was held under the theme: Harnessing the Potentials of Organic Agriculture for National Development.
According to Codex Alimentarius Commission, the United Nations body that oversees the world’s food standards, organic agriculture is the holistic production management system that avoids use of synthetic fertilisers and pesticides, minimises pollution of air, soil and water and optimises the health and productivity of independent communities of life, plants, animals and people.
Speaking during the Summit, Asuquo pointed out that the lack of understanding of the principles and practices of organic agriculture was a major embargo to its growth in Nigeria.
The legislator listed other constraints to include the poor development of the value chain for organic agricultural enterprises and also lack of technical knowledge on organic production.
He further underscored that certification was a major factor limiting the expansion of the practice in the country..
“Certification in organic agriculture guides against counterfeit and poor quality products that can hinder the development of organic agriculture in our country.
“This is one area where I will use my position as a member of the House of Representatives to pursue in order to contribute to harnessing the potential of organic agriculture,” Asuquo said.
Also speaking at the Summit, the Head of Agriculture Division, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission, Ernest Aubee, noted that the ECOWAS Protocol on Free Movement of People, Goods and Services should be followed for free movement of products of organic agriculture.
On his part, the Programme Design Specialist, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, Dr Gbemenou Gnonlonfin, called for the use of agroecology.
The United States Department of Agriculture defines agroecology as an agricultural practice that often incorporates ideas about a more environmentally and socially sensitive approach to agriculture, focusing not only on production but also on the ecological sustainability of the productive system.
Buttressing his point, Gnonlonfin submitted that agroecology helps to manage interactions between plants, animals, humans and the environment for food security and nutrition.
The expert further explained that the practice was a good alternative to ensure food security in Africa.
He added that the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation has recognised the importance of farmers managing human and natural capital so as to improve food security, nutrition and rural development.
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