To achieve optimal food production in Africa, the continent’s leaders have been urged to support organic farming with the right policies and the right funding to meet the eternal challenges of environmental degradation.
This was the position of experts and stakeholders, drawn from the agricultural industry and academia across the continent, during a workshop on the project âMultiplier mapping for the acquisition and dissemination of knowledge within the Knowledge Center for Organic Agriculture (KCOA) project, organized by the Association of Organic Agriculture Practitioners of Nigeria (NOAN) in Ibadan, Oyo State.
The workshop was supposed to serve as a game-changing development multiplier project for participants to end the training for the benefit of local farmers.
The KCOA project, which aims to bridge the knowledge gap in organic farming in Africa, is an innovative concept for the promotion of organic farming. Regional knowledge centers have been implemented jointly within the framework of actors from West, East, North and Southern Africa. The West Africa pole is located in Senegal.
Acting Head of Soil Science Department at Uyo University, Akwa Ibom State and KCOA National Coordinator, representing NOAN in the project, Dr Jude Obi, said the problems food scarcity and environmental degradation will be solved by organic farming, stating if African leaders have decided that organic farming should lead the way, they should boldly step out and support organic farming practices to both in politics and economics.
Obi said: âAfrica’s biggest problem is its inability to use available resources effectively. Thus, this project will bring these resources together and make them available. Once these resources are made available, we will use them. Then the problems of food shortage and environmental degradation will be resolved. The problems are related, because the use of inorganic materials to produce and transform our crops affects our environment.
âSo the more we are able to switch to an environmentally friendly system, crop production and agriculture, the better for us. Thus, this particular system would gradually shift to an environmentally friendly practice for organic farming.
âOrganic farming has arrived in Africa by decision of the President of the African Union (AU). They decided that organic farming is the main thing in Africa because most of the environments in Africa are very sensitive. Africa is dominated by sub-Saharan areas where the soil is weak, the environment is very sensitive and it has been affected by climate change.
âThe main solution is organic farming. Mainly, organic farming consists of practicing agriculture in a very friendly and conducive way without using foreign materials which will deteriorate the environment.
For his part, NOAN President Prof. Victor Olowe expressed concern that governments are not doing enough to encourage organic farming.
Professor Olowe said: âOrganic farming takes good care of the health of the whole system. The government has not done enough in organic farming. But it is difficult for governments to satisfy all facets of the sector. We will continue to work in partnership with the government as an association.
KCOA-FENAB project manager Mouhamed SEEK said knowledge centers were being introduced as an innovative strategy to promote organic farming with stakeholders from African regions. He identified three types of multipliers in the project, all of which aim to disseminate knowledge about organic farming.
In addition, Nandiaye Ndiaye, who is part of the FENAB platform, representing West Africa’s KCOA, said the project, which targets multipliers, will bridge the knowledge gap in organic farming.