The head of the Agriculture Department of the ECOWAS Commission, Abuja, Ernest Aubee, has said that the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is supporting smallholder farmers in the region with organic farming technologies.

Speaking at a national stakeholder meeting on eco-organic farming, Aubee said organic farming requires standards and regulations, and ECOWAS is helping member states develop those standards.

“The ECOWAS commission promotes organic farming in West Africa, because organic farming is the right way to improve the health of the people in West Africa, protect the environment and also improve livelihoods, as it uses many resources worldwide.

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Organic farming is a specialized way of farming and it requires certain standards, regulations and laws and some of our countries in the ECOWAS region are working very hard to have those laws, regulations and standards, and the ECOWAS commission helps them to developing those standards.

“In order for organic farming to thrive, the focus must be on smallholder farmers, and in this regard, from the perspective of the ECOWAS Commission, we have projects in all 15 Member States to support organic farming.

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“We support various research activities so that the technologies being developed for organic farming meet the demands of smallholder farmers,” he said.

Also, the country coordinator of the Ecological Organic Farming (EOA) initiative in Nigeria, Olugbenga Adeoluwa, said EOA’s focus is on mainstreaming organic farming into government policies.

He said the adoption of organic farming would increase Nigeria’s chances of joining food-exporting countries, generating revenue for the country and improving the lives of rural farmers.

“The focus of this initiative is how to mainstream organic farming into government policy. We are grateful to the Government of Nigeria and the Federal Ministry of Agriculture that the Organic Farming Act stakeholder meeting was able to take place.

“We hope that if Nigeria can push through the policy document of the Organic Farming Initiative, it will help tremendously in doing business properly in the field of Organic Farming.

“It will provide a stimulating environment, especially quality assurance and ease of making organic farming activities in the country,” he noted.

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Chief Salimono Oladipo, an organic farmer, said organic farming is sustainable and very possible. He said he has been practicing organic farming for the past 10 years.

“The government should roll out policies to support organic farming practice so that all these troubling chemicals are reduced and organic pesticides can be put into use,” he said.

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