Nigeria is one of the 179 countries in the world with data on certified organic agriculture. According to the latest FiBL survey (2017), there are 5,021 ha of certified organic land with 101,261 producers, 80 processors and 80 exporters in Nigeria. 

It is no longer news to most organic agriculture practitioners that the African Heads of State and Government in 2011 at Addis Ababa, Ethiopia took a monumental decision (African Union Decision EX.CL/Dec.621 XVIII) to mainstream ecological organic agriculture into the agricultural systems of all member nations by 2020. The need to vigorously pursue the realisation of this goal was recently reiterated by stakeholders from national and international organisations during the 3rd African Organic Conference (AOC) held in October 2015 in Lagos, Nigeria.

 

Unfortunately, the organic agriculture sector is facing very complex challenges along the value chains of all agricultural commodities. Consequently, a rapid appraisal of these challenges was done among members of the Association of Organic Agriculture Practitioners of Nigeria (national movement body) and Organic Agriculture Project in Tertiary Institutions in Nigeria (OAPTIN) which is the pioneer organised organic agriculture body in Nigeria. The appraisal ranked the challenges in order of priority with a view to advising relevant scientists on the appropriate areas to direct their research efforts and thereby develop practical solutions to the identified challenges.

 

i. Organic crop production

Out of the ten challenges highlighted in the survey, sourcing organic seeds and herbicides were adjudged as the top two most critical challenges. This underscores the need for input suppliers to liaise with relevant scientists in providing requisite inputs for production. Organic fruit production was the least challenging to practitioners.                  

chart 1

 

ii. Organic post harvest handling of produce

Food quality control, processing techniques and storage of produce were the three topmost challenges in the sub-sector. The dearth of specialists in the field of Food Science and Technology should be urgently addressed and this will go a long way in solving some problems confronting the food systems in the country.

 

chart 2

 

iii. Organic livestock production

Sourcing of pure organic livestock breeds and organic feeds were adjudged as the two most critical challenges by the respondents. Livestock farmers sometimes use traditional herbs to tackle health challenges of their animals. This sub-sector deserves more attention than it is currently receiving from the various tiers of Government.

 

chart 3

 

Challenges in organic trade

Organic agriculture is at two levels (certified and non-certified) in Nigeria. The certified organic practice is mainly through Participatory Guarantee System (PGS) and the produce is for local consumption. The respondents identified certification and adhering to organic standards as their major challenges. Consequently, there is the need for massive advocacy among stakeholders to update them on the implications of certification and standards.    

 

chart 4

 

Challenges in other sub sectors of organic agriculture

Conservation of biodiversity is very germane to organic agriculture and respondents identified it as the most critical when compared with organic fish management and apiculture. It is suggested that more scientific efforts be geared towards these aspects to enable the practitioners get a better understanding of the concepts.

 

chart 5

 

Author:
Prof. Dr. Victor I. Olowe

Agronomist

Institute of Food Security, Environmental Resources and Agricultural Research (IFSERAR), Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB), P.M.B. 2240, Abeokuta, Nigeria This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. +234 803 3928 111

www.funaab.edu.ng

Board member of ISOFAR

 


Relevant links: 

www.noanigeria.net

www.eoa-africa.org

www.oaptin.net