Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
About 180 farmers in Benue State have benefited from the Nigeria Export Promotion Council (NEPC) farm input support scheme under the national program on organic food export and certification.
The event which held on Tuesday in Gboko was flagged off by the wife of the Paramount ruler of the Tiv Nation, Her Royal Majesty, Chief Mrs. Felicia James Ayatse.
According to NEPC’s Trade Advisor /Head, Makurdi Export Assistance Office, Mr. Anani Ben, the program was designed with the primary objective of helping small holder farmers, producers, and exporters improve on their farming practices.
He said this would enable them achieve organic certification to global recognized food safety schemes by complying with organic farming practices and standards.
“The specific objectives were to improve ease of export of Nigeria organic food items and ethical products, develop a model manual on organic farming best practices that is appropriate for Nigerian farmers as well as ensure food safety during primary production of agro commodities on compliance with global food safety management system.”
Anani disclosed that majority of the beneficiaries participated in a training program on organic agriculture organized recently by NEPC to build the capacity of farmers in the focus states of Benue and Nasarawa.
He explained further that the evaluation of the results of the training program indicated that farmers’ awareness and access to organic farm.input is poor as most of them.were used to synthetic application of inputs.
“There is need therefore for further interventions for NEPC to create more awareness and support farmers group and process with organic farm inputs in the two focus state where the project was implemented. This will improve productivity, improve smallholder family income and enhance organic certification for ease of export.
Anani said the exercise would be carried out in three other distribution centers of Agatu and Makurdi in Benue State as well as Akwanga in Nasarawa State.