Taiwo Oluwadare, Ibadan
The Ecological Organic Agriculture (EOA) has raised concerns over Nigeria’s miniscule share in the $100 billion global organic farming industry.
EOA’s Nigerian Coordinator Dr OlaOluwa Olugbenga revealed this on Thursday at this year’s National Organic Agriculture Business Summit organised by the EOA.
Speaking at the 3-day summit held in Ikeja, Lagos, OlaOluwa noted that the country’s paltry share in the global organic farming industry is because organic agriculture is just developing in Nigeria.
According to him, the summit aims at enlightening Nigerians on the economic opportunities in organic farming, including its health benefits, saying that most organic exports from Nigeria are undertaken by foreign nationals, essentially amounting to capital flight.
AdeOluwa noted that a lot of locally produced foods are not exportable as they are considered poisonous for human consumption in international markets.
According to him: “We have done the drafting of organic agriculture bill but still in pending to be submitted to the national assembly.
“Our expectations, if the bill is passed into law and implemented, is that Nigeria’s share in global organic market opportunities will increase and operators and stakeholders will have legal backing…
“It will impact on economic development because every export we make will improve on country’s GDP and so many unemployed youths and women will get jobs, and other areas like good health will be positively impacted.
“And above all, this will attract foreign investors knowing fully well that they will be protected by policies of the government,” the said.
Corroborating him, the Lagos State Commissioner for health, Prof. Akin Abayomi said everyday population demography increases, especially in Lagos, but foods available for them are toxic for consumption.
He said growing perfectly organic foods are difficult, saying despite sensitisation and bans on inorganic and toxic substances by the NAFDAC, toxic products still proliferate which stay long in human systems and their accumulation leads to breakdown of health.
“Presently in Lagos, we are looking at health holistically to solve myriads of challenges against human health. As a result, we are working with other ministries like Agriculture, Environment and even Ministry of Justice, to address the legal framework to enhance good health to ensure people stay healthy,” Abayomi said.