Nigerian producers are seeking ways to expand the export as consumers pay more attention to health.
The organic food market is expected to reach $437.36 billion by 2026 with a compounded annual growth rate of 14 per cent.
In the last five years, African farmers, including those from Nigeria, have been making money producing organically grown crops for European markets, where demand for healthier food is growing. Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) renewed its partnership agreement with the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) – Organics International, till next year to enable smallholder farmers access international market.
More than 5,000 farmers in West Africa are exporting organically-grown produce to Europe, after gaining organic and fair-trade certification with help from FAO.
The certification focuses on all stages of production from planting and harvesting to packaging and promotion, increasing the profitability of farmers who previously struggled to afford costly chemical fertiliser.
Under the aegis of Network of Organic Agriculture Researchers in Africa (NOARA), the experts insist organic agriculture become an unavoidable trend not only to ensure health but also to protect the environment in the context that climate change is seriously affecting agricultural production.
Chairman Regional Ecological Organic Agriculture,Ernest Aubee, appealed to African governments to invest more in Organic Agriculture Research.
Aubee also called for greater collaboration between researchers, extension workers and farmers if African countries are to benefit from new organic technologies. He said: “ we must incorporate indigenous organic knowledge and practices in the design of relevant technologies for the continent.
He pointed out a number of difficulties enterprises were encountering during the process of moving towards organic production such as building trust of consumers in organic products, limited conditions for large-scale production, and the lack of synergy to further promote organic production on a larger scale.
Speaking recently, in Ibadan, Prof. Raymond Auerbach, an Organic researcher from South Africa said that the focus should be placed on developing policies to encourage enterprises to establish organic value chains together with enhancing quality control measures.
He said research findings in five African countries highlight wrong agricultural policies by the African department of agriculture and the effects on food security, nutrition and farmers as well as the populace.
According to him, political strategies and goals should be employed to support and promote organic agriculture.
“Because of Climate Change, people are realising that we need agriculture that is efficient.
“We need agriculture which produces health and is not bad for the environment,” Auerbach said.
“Organic agriculture production is a long-term process. We must persevere, there is no other way,” he stressed.
National Export Promotion Council (NEPC) has stressed the need for farmers to embark on organic agriculture for efficient food sufficiency in Nigeria.