Organic agriculture a means to diversify the economy – Adebayo

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As the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration continues in its efforts to diversify Nigeria’s economy, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Niyi Adebayo, said the Federal Government is committed to tapping opportunities in organic agriculture to boost the economy and provide employment for teeming youths in the country.

The Minister, who was represented at the summit by Suleiman Adebayo Audu, said this at the opening ceremony of the 2021 National Organic Agriculture Business Summit in Abuja.

While stating that the critical role of Agribusiness in the quest for Nigeria’s industrialisation cannot be over emphasized, Adebayo said the Federal Government through his ministry is fully committed to providing enabling business environment that will enhance competitiveness of organic commodities produced in the country.

Assuring participants of government commitment to the development of organic agriculture in the country, he said the ministry with other ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) and development partners “have taken the responsibility to monitor the growth of the industry by interfacing with various players in the industry and appreciating their operations, identify their challenges and ensuring that Nigerian organic commodities gain strategic space in the in the global market.”

The Minister said his ministry is implementing relevant programmes focused on Nigeria agro-industry development initiatives to ensure that producers and manufacturers apply the global best practices of both domestic consumption and exports in terms of quality and standard which he said would provide a level playing ground for Nigeria’s domestic products to compete against imported products.

Organic agriculture entails production system that sustains the health of soils, ecosystems, biodiversity and people. The aim of organic agriculture essentially is to produce safe agricultural products for human consumption and to reduce the negative impact of organic materials on human and animal health.

The Executive Director of Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Olusegun Awolowo, who was represented by Williams Ezeagu, said awareness on the essence of healthy food consumption and general food safety concern raise the value of organic food demand which in the last 10 years has risen astronomically across the globe.

He said “with proper organic certification in place, there is huge potential to earn substantial foreign exchange which could translate into higher income for our farmers, exporters and other value chain operators.”

He said the Council in recent time has engaged stakeholders to promote the certification of Nigeria products for organic and other certifications, with a view to increasing the value and volume of export of our products and reduce the rate of rejection of agricultural exports.

The Country Coordinator of Ecological Organic Agriculture (EOA), Dr. Olugbenga Adeoluwa, speaking to newsmen about the summit, said the summit became imperative in order to expose stakeholders in the industry to the business opportunities in organic agriculture in Nigeria from the global perspective and develop the system in the country in order to tap from the enormous capital volumes of organic in the global level.

Adeoluwa said the summit which is in its sixth edition, has exposed stakeholders to opportunities within the sector and organic products from the country are now exported to other countries across the world.

He said although the country is improving in tapping opportunities in the sector but the improvement is still low compared to other countries in West Africa.

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