Minister of agriculture and rural development has said about seventy percent of Nigerian farmers are yet to practice organic agriculture.
Dr Abubakar said true organics remain a certified production method that is yet to be widely understood by Nigerian farmers, adding that its practice in an organised manner was still new in the country.
The minister who stated this during the national organic agriculture policy dialogue with stakeholders in Abuja, added that the obvious absence of the country’s agricultural products in the international market will soon be a thing of the past.
Dr Abubakar who was represented by the director , federal department of land resources, Shehu Bello, said with a vast landmass, conducive climate, and large population of over 200 million, Nigeria is well-suited to excel in organic agriculture as the major natural inputs needed are readily available locally.
The minister added that federal government is desire to sustain the country’s agricultural sector including the provision of zero-interest inputs loans to smallholder farmers and strengthen the Zero Reject Programme of the ministry to bring to an end the problem of Nigerian produce rejection in the international market by introducing organic agriculture practice into the agricultural system.
According to him, “The increasing consumer demand for organic products locally is also an indication that the sector has high growth potential and with the increasing awareness and sensitization through ecological organic agriculture initiatives and advocacy at various levels, development of standards for certification, and the transitioning of some conventional farms to organic production, organic agriculture in Nigeria is beginning to witness a rapid growth.
This forms the ministry’s resolve to develop a national organic agriculture policy for Nigeria which encompass all segment of organic agricultural business and practices, including production; marketing; processing; export and import; quality control; raw material; training, research, and innovation; and government and institutions”.
In his remarks, the director , farm inputs support services department, Engr. Tunde Bello with the full implementation of the National Fertiliser Quality Control (NFQC) Act 2019 and the regulation, the Ministry will aggressively begin to sanitise the industry to rid it of adulterators after issuing permits and certificates of registration to the fertiliser manufacturers, blenders, distributors, exporters and importers.
Bello said said the ministry is presently registering the fertiliser players for both organic and inorganic.
He urged all players in the organic fertiliser industry to register and obtain the permits for their enterprises to avoid prosecution.
He said the increased clarion calls from stakeholders for the development of an appropriate policy to guide and regulate organic agriculture operations in Nigeria has received the necessary attention.
Earlier, the Secretary to the government of the federation , Boss Mustapha noted that Nigeria’s agricultural sector has witnessed a remarkable policy change aimed at increasing agricultural production and ensuring food and nutritional security for the citizens.
Mustapha, who was represented by the director , public affairs in the office of the SGF, Agugu Veronica noted that organic not only results in an economic benefit to the small-scale farmer but also reduces pollution due to reduced nutrient run off especially excess nitrogen.