The Association of Organic Agriculture Practitioners of Nigeria says the involvement of youths in organic agriculture will boost agricultural production in the country.
The association said this in a communiqué issued at the end of the 2017 National Organic Agriculture Business Summit in Awka.
In the communiqué read by Dr Olugbenga Adeoluwa, the Country Director of Ecological Organic Agriculture (EOA) Initiative in Nigeria, the association said that the potential of youth involvement in organic agriculture business should be exploited.
“The potential of organic agriculture business in the economic empowerment of the youths and the nation in general should be exploited. There is the need to develop and implement appropriate policies to support the organic agriculture sector of the Nigerian economy. The Nigerian youths have significant roles to play in organic agriculture; efforts should be made to create job opportunities for the youth to enable them to contribute more meaningfully to sustainable national development”, the statement said.
“Engaging youths in organic agriculture can also help address food insecurity and contribute to efforts to improve the livelihoods of the stakeholders in the organic agriculture value chain.’’
The association called for the commitment of the Federal Government in engaging Nigerian youths in organic agricultural business as a means of job creation.
It underscored the need for appropriate training of the youth in demand-driven in agricultural production, with a focus on organic agriculture.
It also emphasised the need to exploit the direct and indirect impact of organic agriculture on food sovereignty, safe food production, healthy environment and cultivation of different agricultural varieties for domestic and export markets.
It, however, warned that Nigeria should avoid agricultural inputs and practices that could work against produce exports from the country with the adoption of stringent quality assurance procedures.
The association said that all tiers of government in Nigeria should mainstream organic agriculture into all their agricultural activities, urging development partners and donors in the country to increase their support for organic agriculture.
It called on all stakeholders in the agricultural sector to support the ongoing development of the Nigeria Organic Agriculture Bill to promote the development of organic agriculture in the country.
The association commended the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development as well as Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investments for supporting the growth of organic agricultural business in the country.
It also lauded the National Universities Commission (NUC), the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) and the Agriculture Research Council of Nigeria for incorporating organic agriculture in the educational curricula of tertiary and research institutions.
More than 120 participants from Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, Uganda and Tanzania attended the summit, which had “Global Organic Agriculture Development: Unbundling Abundant Entrepreneurial Opportunities for Nigerian Youths’’ as its theme.