HOMEF Urges Government To Train Farmers On Agroecology

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An NGO, Home of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF) has urged all tiers of government to train farmers on the science of the relationships between an organism and an environment modified by human beings (agroecology) for food production.

The Executive Director of HOMEF, Dr Nnimmo Bassey, at a workshop organised by HOMEF for journalists on Thursday in Port Harcourt, said the science would guarantee adequate food production.

The workshop with the theme, “My Food is African”, was supported by the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa.”

Bassey said that climate change challenges could largely be solved through agriculture that depended on nature and not by burning fossil fuel, release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere or killing the soil.

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He said agroecology farming would help tackle global warming, support local economies, cool the planet and also keep people healthy.

He urged government to invest more on research institutions and train young Nigerians to learn to work with nature when it comes to food production.

He also urged the government to ban genetically engineered products and organisms that would be hazardous to public health.

Bassey reiterated that the training was to remind people that an agric produce that was respectful of the agroecology system should be the right kind of produce because it does not contain toxic, poisonous inputs.

Mrs Joyce Brown, the Director of Programmes/Project Lead Hunger Politics at HOMEF, who spoke on: “Assessing Food Policies in Nigeria”, called on government to involve all stakeholders in policy formulation.

Brown said that some challenges facing the agriculture sector included inadequate research, lack of support for smallholder farmers, poor access to credit, input quality and low market.

Dr Jackie Ikeotuonye, a Country Director at Bio Integrity and Natural Foods Awareness Initiative (BINFAI), who spoke on: “Changing Diet and the Threats to Food Sovereignty”, said that some chemicals in foods consumed by people were hazardous to their health.

Ikeotuonye said that some of the modified canned foods were preserved with some contents that might be harmful to the body system.

She said that the media could change the narrative through information and education of the public on the need to grow organic foods in their areas and eat healthy diets because food and health was everybody’s business.

Mr Donald Ofoegbu, the Programme Manager, Henrich Boll Foundation (HBF), said that the world was shifting from highly hazardous pesticides to the demand for healthier food.

Ofoegbu, who also coordinates the Alliance for Action on Pesticides in Nigeria (AAPN), said that in agroecology, multiple cropping and planting of trees encouraged biodiversity restoration and guaranteed food security and sustainability.

Ofoegbu said the Federal Ministry of Agriculture’s New National Agriculture Technology Transmission Policy (NAPTP) document, which recommended agroecology and organic promotion policy, should be fast tracked to boost food production.

Lateefah Ibrahim

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