By Daniel Tyokua
The Federal Capital Territory Administration through the Agriculture and Rural Development Secretariat (ARD) has sensitized farmers and extension agents across the territory on the best approach to organic agriculture and curbing of post harvest losses.
During the sensitization workshop on Thursday in Abuja, the Acting Secretary FCT Agriculture and Rural Development Secretariat, Malam Ishaq Sadeeq said the exercise was part of measures to ensure the safety of food that is consumed.
He explained that with proper sensitization of farmers and extension agents in the nation’s capital, Abuja on the adoption of organic agriculture, it will integrate organic products that meet up with the required standards in their various agricultural vocations.
Sadeeq said the Secretariat will continue to explore all available opportunities to reach out to various stakeholders such as cooperative groups, women in agriculture, youth as well as other relevant organisation towards not only promoting the practice but enhancing their access to organic products.
The secretary explained that organic agriculture is a practice which involves the use of natural materials which are of plant and animal origins for the production of food that are safe for consumption.
According to him, going forward, the Secretariat will intensify measures to increase awareness, provide technical support through extension agents, develop market infrastructure to enhance access to organic agricultural products.
He also added ARDS will strengthen existing synergy between producers, consumers marketers, exporters and NGO’s, increase the conduct of multi-dimensional trials on soil, crops organic fertilisers, pesticides and herbicides as well as increase access of registered organic farmers to subsidised inputs
On post-harvest losses, the deputy director FCTA-ARDS, Onwumere Fortune advised farmers to use crop varieties which are resistant to storage insect pests as well as pre-harvest pests.
He said, “Resistant/tolerant varieties will generally delay the increase of infestation and grain damage thereby prolonging grain damages. Cleaning and drying to be done as thoroughly as possible, especially when grain is to be stored for a long period”.
In her remarks, the Director, Agric Services, Mrs. Ihekandu Francisca, said the FCT has joined the league of organic agricultural destinations, which many states in the federation have adopted for their farmers.
She reiterated that the organic agriculture is a healthy alternative to conventional farming with higher nutritional value, longer life and high value for money.