Organic farming is a method of crop and livestock production that involves much more than choosing not to use pesticides, fertilizers, genetically modified organisms, antibiotics and growth hormones.
Organic production is a holistic system designed to make use of the products and waste of diverse communities within the agro-ecosystem, including soil organisms, plants, livestock and people. The principal goal of organic production is to develop products that are sustainable and harmonious with the environment.
Unlike other African countries, Nigeria is yet to develop its potential in terms of organic farming, even though it is an agrarian country with a track record of being world leading producer of some crops at one time or the other. Although we have NGO’s and some institutions that practice organic farming like LAUTECH organic farm.
The Director(2014), Centre for Agro ecology and food security, Coventry University, United Kingdom, Professor John Charles Harris, advocated international concerted efforts towards successful application of organic agriculture for sustainable development, especially in the developing countries. The acting ViceChancellor of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH), Ogbomoso, Prof. Adeniyi Gbadegesin(2014) disclosed that “LAUTECH is the first tertiary institution in Africa that has an organic farm with the European Union Certification, by the Institute of Market Ecology (IMO), Switzerland, for the Organic Production of Ginger, Turmeric, Lemon grass and Cashew. This, according to him, opens an opportunity for international trade with Europe and other countries. The duo spoke at a public lecture on organic agriculture, organized by LAUTECH. The organic farm, under the Agricultural Services Limited of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, was adjudged the farm with the best organic agricultural practices in Nigeria.
Here’s a list of principle from the Canadian organic standard.
1 principles of organic production, from the Canadian Organic Standards (2006), include the following:
2 protect the environment, minimize soil degradation and erosion, decrease pollution, optimize biological productivity and promote a sound state of health
3 maintain long-term soil fertility by optimizing conditions for biological activity within the soil
4 maintain biological diversity within the system
5 recycle materials and resources to the greatest extent possible within the enterprise
6 provide attentive care that promotes the health and meets the behavioural needs of livestock
7 prepare organic products, emphasizing careful processing, and handling methods in order to maintain the organic integrity and vital qualities of the products at all stages of production
8 rely on renewable resources in locally organized agricultural systems
Why buy organic?
Organically grown foods are generally recognized as being superior in the nutrition they provide. These beneficial nutrients include antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, enzymes and amino acids.
Why farm organically?
The main reasons farmers state for wanting to farm organically are their concerns for the environment and about working with agricultural chemicals in conventional farming systems. Organic farming also encourages recycling eg manures and compost. Organic farmers find their method of farming to be profitable and personally rewarding.
Organic farming is easy and can be practiced even as a small backyard farming, with the recession in Nigeria now what better way than farm within your environs and enjoy the products of your hand.
NB: various pictures you see here are courtesy the mini organic farm we run in my family. We get products like plantain(dodo,plantain flour) okro,cassava(garri,fufu,lafun) tomatoes, chicken, eggs,ewedu, ugwu to mention a few.