TOWARDS A SUCCESSFUL ORGANISATION OF THE 6TH WEST AFRICAN ORGANIC CONFERENCE IN BURKINA FASO

TOWARDS A SUCCESSFUL ORGANISATION OF THE 6TH WEST AFRICAN ORGANIC CONFERENCE IN BURKINA FASO

In preparation for the upcoming 2021 West African Organic Conference (WAOC) in Burkina Faso, top management of the ECOWAS-led Regional Planning Committee (RPC) and the Burkina Faso Local Organising Committee (LOC) met virtually with Mr Alain SY TRAORE, Director, Agriculture and Rural Development of the ECOWAS Commission on Thursday May 20, 2021.

It was an opportunity for the Director to have a first-hand interaction with the combined team of the representatives of the RPC and LOC of the 6th West African Organic Conference.

The virtual meeting was chaired by Mr Alain SY TRAORE. Professor Davo Vodouhe Simplice, ably stood in for Mr Ernest Aubee who was unavoidably absent due to official assignment. The meeting had in attendance nine (9) strategic members. The participants discussed among other issues; historical perspective of the West African Organic Conference (WAOC), feedback from the Burkina Faso LOC, funding alternatives and way-forward in respect to the Burkina Faso 6th WAOC.

In his welcome address, Mr Alain SY TRAORE welcomed everyone to the virtual meeting. He thanked and congratulated everyone whom through their various organizations are working for the success of the Conference and prayed for a healthier and stronger ecological and organic agriculture activities in the region. He laid emphasis on the keen interest of the ECOWAS Commission in the success of the 6th WAOC because of the importance of the event in the development of agriculture and improvement of livelihoods in West Africa. Mr. Traoré on behalf of the ECOWAS Commission promised the support of the Commission towards the conference and encouraged organizers to put in their best for a fruitful event.

At the end of the virtual meeting, Mr Alain SY TRAORE appreciated the participants at the meeting for attending the event, despite the short notice. The Vice-Chair of the Ecological Organic Agriculture Initiative in West Africa, Professor Davo Vodouhe Simplice also appreciated Mr Traoré and the ECOWAS Commission for the quality leadership and support for the development of organic and ecological agriculture in West Africa.

The Association Meets In Ibadan

The Association Meets In Ibadan

The Association Meets In Ibadan

This year’s Annual General Meeting took place at First Bank Building of Faculty of Agriculture, University of Ibadan as against the agreed Abuja venue on March 23 and 24, 2021. It was a two day event and a hybrid of physical and virtual participation. The event had in discussion the road to the amendment of the long awaited proposed Association’s Constitution, with the addition of expanded Constitution Review committee members coming from representatives of each State Chapters. The meeting was chaired by Dr Sansi Jolaade, the Chairman, Oyo State Chapter of the Association, during her welcome address, she welcomed all from far and near and enjoined participants to enjoy Oyo State and Ibadan environment. Participants represented states such as Lagos, Abuja, Anambra, Ibadan, Delta, Akwa Ibom, Taraba, Kwara, Ebonyi, Osun, Ogun from both virtual and physical attendances.

Prof. V. I Olowe, in his Presidential address gave an overview of the of the 10 points agenda, the progress reports and the efforts made in ensuring mandates are fulfilled. He added that there is a new project (KCOA) sponsored by GIZ the Association is anchoring. There were series of suggestions and opinions harvested at both media (virtual and physical). The following decisions were taken at the event:

  1. The supposed electoral process was put on hold as a result of the need to perfect the contents of the present Constitution, they are to help pilot the course of the amendment before handing over to new hands, there is need for a working document as the election is hinged on it.
  2. Present members of the Executive Committee were agreed to proceed with their tenure for a period of one year pending the amendment of the Constitution, Mrs Oluyinka Odukoya, the General Secretary stepped down, making Dr. Jude C. Obi the nee General Secretary .
  3. The Constitution Review Committee is to be enlarged and this will contain representatives from each State Chapter, the ultimatum given was a month and in six from the time of the decision was given, the Association’s Constitution ought to have been in good shape afterwards.
  4. It was agreed that all State Chapters remit the proceeds from membership registration to the national, the National Finance officer will then do the proper remittance in the appropriate sharing formula.
  5. It was also debated and agreed that membership annual due for the student membership category be reviewed, #1000 levy was suggested and agreed.
  6. On the need to intensify advocacy on organic agriculture, it was agreed that Radio as a media platform be used in this course, as massive advocacy is needed.
  7. On IJOARD, the committee was dissolved, the new members of the committee will be constituted in due course.
  8. A motion to take the presentation of organic certification back to the review committee to work on was adopted.
  9. It was agreed that the next Annual General Meetings will hold at Abuja and Anambra State, par adventure Abuja is not able to host, Anambra will be the next point of call but both States are to follow that sequence.

It however evident that the Association is taking its quantum leap and also on the road to greater expansion and growth, this is as a result of the cooperative efforts of the Board of Trustee, Executive Committee, members of the Association at all categories willing to serve and members of staff of the Association at the National and State levels working in various capacities. New members are registering in their numbers and existing members paying their dues and making themselves available when their attentions are needed. A virtual participant, Dr Vide Adedayo reminded of the need to have conflicting opinions but it is only important that all see it as a road to development, Dr Jude C. Obi while taking the vote of thanks corroborate this by saying that rift should be translated into constructive argument and be seen as a way of building strength.

Workshop on The Multiplier Mapping for Skill Acquisition and Knowledge Dissemination Within KCOA Project

Workshop on The Multiplier Mapping for Skill Acquisition and Knowledge Dissemination Within KCOA Project

Association of Organic Agriculture Practitioners

Association of Organic Agriculture Practitioners of Nigeria in collaboration with National Federation For Organic Agriculture (FENAB) ,organizes a workshop on the Multiplier Mapping for Skills Acquisition and Knowledge Dissemination Within KCOA Project. The workshop was sponsored by KCOA (Knowledge Centre For Organic Agriculture in Africa) and had in attendance participants which included delegates from FENAB (National Federation For Organic Agriculture) viz: Mr. El Hadji Mandiaye Ndiaye, Mr. Abdourahmane Leye, Mr. Mouhamed Seck, the President of the Association, Pro. V.I.O. Olowe, the Country Cordinator, KCOA, Dr. Jude C. Obi, The Association’s PRO, Mr. Taiwo Oduola, trainees of the IFOAM-OI ToToT held on February 1-5, 2021. It was a day training and was bilingual (English and French Language). FENAB.

The purpose of the workshop was to develop a knowledge hub for Africa and to ensure that those trained between February 1 and 5, 2021 and other multipliers are built up to successfully disseminate relevant knowledge on organic agriculture to famers, famer associations, processors, marketers and consumers ,the multipliers were grouped into three viz: Primary Multipliers (M1): people with recognized diplomas, qualifications or training in the agricultural sector to build the capacity of other trainers and facilitators to support the dissemination and application of knowledge products for AB development. Secondary Multipliers (M2): are field practitioners trained by M1s from the KCOA project at their country level or by individuals with at least the same qualifications, NGO agents, partners or model leaders or producers and others who can appropriately support the dissemination and application of ABE knowledge products. Tertiary Multipliers: policy actors or opinion leaders who can support and sustain the project in advocacy, legislation and quality control for the dissemination and application of knowledge products along value chains in AB.

According to Mr. Mouhamed Seck, the program is also targeting youths and women as they play very important roles in the implementation of KCOA project. There were however, activities carried out in the course of the workshop which include deliberation on the Platform Profile Template where there was a discussion on the slogan, main features, the structure which bothers on the criteria for the content dissemination, the thematic focus on the KCOA website, which content do they disseminate and along which channel. The KCOA content database will be structured along FiBl categories. How the website will target users (multiplier). How the website will target users (multiplier). How the platform will build on existing knowledge (Reuse and improve) and collaborate with existing platforms? (Be collaborative ) The platform will also bridge the gap created by other platforms. KCOA will work with existing platforms, survey has been done and KCOA will fill the gap and compliment the work.

Thematic area will focus on the following viz: certification, soil health, funding and marketing. Participants were asked to filling out a form indicating the agrecological location they propose to train and how to achieve these aims, according to Mr. Mouhamed Seck, they are to enumerate the number of grassroots if and farming number of individual members (male and female), number of trainers on organic( male and female), needs for capacity build on organic agriculture. Mr. El Hadiji stated that the main objective of the project is the dissemination of indigenous and scientific knowledge and also train the trainers on indigenous and scientific knowledge. Different actors in organic agriculture,  those already in it and others in transition. After analyzing the two, we will categorize, they will then be classified into the three multipliers. These set of people (those trained in February 1-5) are the first set of people trained, they will go to train others.

Every trainer is going to train others, there is a relationship between the ToToT trainees and the workshop, in order to have a manual for the trainers, IFOAM will give the manual as they are one of the sponsors of the project, FENAB is also saddled with the responsibility of harmonizing these trainers. Mr. Abdourahmane Lere stated that before the platform, there is a process of collection, validation before putting on the platform, there is respect for intellectual properties. The information will be made accessible and will be in different languages, will be in media platforms. There will be a database for this information, afterwards there will be a KCOA interface. Though the platform belongs to FENAB, the application will be user friendly. There will be room for marketing of organic produce.

Mr. Lere thanked everyone including the President of the Association, members of the Association, the Country Coordinator and promised to continue to work with the Association.

IFOAM Partners With The Association in Training Knowledge Multipliers

IFOAM Partners With The Association in Training Knowledge Multipliers

The IFOAM –OI ToToT was organized by IFOAM

The IFOAM –OI ToToT was organized by IFOAM

The IFOAM –OI ToToT was organized by IFOAM in conjunction with Association of Organic Agriculture Practitioners of Nigeria, the training is under the sponsorship of the Knowledge Centre For organic Agriculture in Africa. The training was aimed to train team of trainers to allow proximity and wider reach to farmers at the grassroots. The shortlisted candidates for the training underwent twenty (20) levels of screening and were selected from the major geopolitical zones of Nigeria. The training took place at the Board Room of Bible Guest Hose, Samonda, Ibadan between February 1 and 5, 2021. The training was a hybrid of both virtual and physical participants in attendance with interludes of music, games, refreshments, reflections and excursion. The President of the Association, Prof. Victor Olowe, during the opening ceremony welcomed participants on behalf of the Association, he stated that the major aim is increase the capacity farmers from the grassroot, he also believes that the trainees will deliver at the end of the training and that the organisers have the tracking devices to monitor the trainees. Virtual trainers included Mr. Gupta Ashish, Francia Berger and Alexandra Joseph. Physical trainers were Dr Olugbenga AdeOluwa, Ms. Sola Sowemimo, Dr. Jude C. Obi, Dr. Olufemi Ayanfeoluwa.

Mr. Gupta in his opening remarks stated that there are three basic questions that need answers from the trainees, they are the “WHAT” which bothers on knowledge theory, “HOW”-Action skills and “WHY”- Reflection, he advised that participants should have the dream of being the first to beat the odds and that failing is part of learning.

In the course of the five days training, the trainees were grouped into five cafes, with each café engaging in group activities which included presentation on various issues in organic agriculture and business plans. Members of the café had a mock farming estate with conglomerate of support systems. These ideas generated a realistic and constructive probes from IFOAM Academy Manager, Mr. Gupta Ashish, the exercise stimulated restructuring and re-iteration of crucial organic agriculture standards ruled out. He analysed these standards and stated how realistic these projections are, he also advised that their farming practices should be done in such a way that they will be able to fit in with their counterparts globally.

The participants went on excursion to Ajibode Organic , Ibadan where they were able to see the activities, challenges including the pests control methods devised by the farmers and the need to tackle the issue of unavailability of ready markets for their perishable goods, they were also familiarized with the history of Ajibode Farm which has been in existence since 2010 but became a full-fledged organic farm in 2012.This excursion enabled them have a first-hand information on the various issues faced by the farmers.

Participants also made presentations with two persons nominated to be reflector and harvester, the reflector does a recap of the lessons learnt in the previous days of the training, harvesters on the hand documents the reflections made. The trainees will train farmers subsequently to multiply the knowledge acquired.

 

Organic Agriculture Stakeholders Converges in Akwa Ibom

Organic Agriculture Stakeholders Converges in Akwa Ibom

 Group photograph of participants at the 2020 NOABS held @Ibom hall, Uyo Akwa Ibom

Group photograph of participants at the 2020 NOABS held @Ibom hall, Uyo Akwa Ibom

The 2020 edition of the annual National Organic Agriculture Business Summit was successfully held at Ibom Hall, Uyo, Akwa Ibom  and had in attendance both virtual and physical participants The event was phenomenal and impactful and the precautionary measures against the COVID 19 pandemic was not ruled out. It included various activities such as plenary presentations, business fora, colloquium, and of course a cultural dance group welcomed all with their unique melody and dance moves.

The event was attended by  stakeholders in various area of organic agriculture , presenters both virtual and physical were Prof. Raymond Auerbach, University of West Cape Town South Africa, Dr. karfa Diallo, Enda Pronat, Senegal, Niemattalah Elamin, UNCTAD, Switzerland,  Dr. Benoit Gnonlonfin, FOA, United Nations, Venancia Wambua, EOA Initiative in Africa, Dr. Edna Akpan, Akwa Ibom State University, Uyo, Ms. Louise Luttikholt, IFOAM Organic International, Bonn, Mr Ernest Aubee, ECOWAS Commission, Abuja, Chief Daniel Asuquo, Member, Federal House of Assembly, Abuja.

Notable guests of honour included the Honourable Commissioner of Agriculture, represented by Dr. Uyobong Uko, the State Director, Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, Dr. AdeOluwa O.O, Country Coordinator, EOA Initiative, Nigeria, Chairmen, National Steering Committee, North, Southwest and South Eastern Region, Prince Peter Bakare, Alh. Luqman Oladapo and Prof. Nkiru T. Meludu respectively, representatives of the Project Implementing Partners were equally represented.

The President of Association of Organic Agriculture Practitioners of Nigeria, Prof. V.I.O. Olowe, who was inevitably absent physically joined in virtually, in his opening remarks, he welcomed participants on behalf of the Association and wished them a successful outing. Dr. Uyobong Uko, the State Director, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in his goodwill message stated that he is a lover of agriculture and organic agriculture, there is need for a paradigm shift from the subsistent level to the commercial and exportation level, with the inclusion of labeling, branding and premium price placement.

Dr. AdeOluwa, the Country Coordinator, EOA Initiative welcomed all participants, he informed that the focus of the EOA is to mainstream organic agriculture into the national system, he made mention of the deceased stakeholders who were Mr. Adeolu Adewoyin and  Jordan Gama, he added that their efforts in organic agriculture movement will be greatly remembered.

This year’s annual summit covered major issues on organic agriculture with one or two lessons learnt through the strata of program lined up for each day. At the colloquium session, Ms Niematallah during her virtual presentation pointed out UNCTAD approach to Voluntary Sustainability Standard (VSS) ,  which among others include land use planning, the environmental impacts of production, community relations, she hinted that developing countries experience capacity gaps in capturing the potentials of VSS to catalyse sustainable development through trade. She added that UNCTAD has developed an approach to help stakeholders, especially smallholder producers and MSMEs in producing countries, create a policy environment capable of maximizing the benefits of VSS adoption.

Mr. Oyewole Gbadamosi, the Project Manager, EOA Initiative in Nigeria took participants through export requirements for organic agricultural commodities. He stated that there are rules and agreement guiding movements of produce for exports the WTO-SPS set standards for food security, animal health and also protect countries from damage caused by entry, establishment or spread of pests, and from risks arising from additives, contaminants etc.

Dr Edna Akpan, a member of the Association and a presenter at the event stated that bringing women and young people into organic agriculture opens up new horizon and that it is important to include women, youths and the vulnerable as they have a lot to offer in terms of organic agriculture.

The communiqué of urged all appreciate the efforts of the umbrella body for Organic Agriculture, Association of Organic Agriculture Practitioners of Nigeria and all private stakeholders in the sector should be encouraged to join the Organic Association in order to ensure proper grassroots development and appropriate coordination of the sector.

The breakout sessions of the event, grouped into four, the curriculum development group gathered to discuss on the modalities for the incorporation of the curriculum of organic agriculture into the 2021/2022 academic year in colleges of agriculture across Nigeria the meeting had in attendance Mr. Nsan Nsan Tiku, a representative of National Board of Technical Education. The business and trade forum  discussed issues of export and trade in organic produce, participants were informed that in export business , the international buyers bid for the best of the produce, organic produce are on high demands in international markets ,  and that it is advisable that farmers produce for both domestic and export purpose to enable a favourable return on investment (ROI), organic preservation methods, factors that affect exports and trade of organic produce. At the farmers forum, the challenges faced by farmers in areas of funding, inputs, sales and produce that are  demand driven were discussed and the way forward were discussed.

Awards were presented to the governor of Akwa Ibom State, Mrs. Udeme Udonya, Mrs. Ebere Agozie for the governor of the year, organic farmer of the year and media personality of the year respectively. The next annual summit was scheduled to hold in Abuja (2021) and Oyo State (2022).

Organic Produce Consumption, The New Normal in Nigerian Homes

Organic Produce Consumption, The New Normal in Nigerian Homes

 

A cross section of Sellers and Buyers at the Organic Market Day

A cross section of Sellers and Buyers at the Organic Market Day

Organic foods could offer more health benefits than conventionally delivered products according to scientists form the UK, Poland, Norway, Italy, Denmark, Switzerland, Greece and Turkey. This is because conventional produce contain nutrients and chemicals that are injurious to human health and wellbeing. Organic meat and milk are cases in point, they provide 50% more of the omega-3 fatty acids that are important in human nutrition. People choose organic foods for three main reasons: improved animal welfare, the positive impacts of organic farming and the perceived health benefits. There are however compositional differences between organic and conventional foods. The switch to organic fruit, vegetables, meat and dairy products would provide significantly higher amounts of dietary antioxidants and omega-3 acids.

A visit to the traditional market day which usually holds on Thursdays of every week at  the University of Ibadan Teaching and Research  Farm affirms  the acceptance of organic agriculture and healthy foods in Nigeria.  The market is comprised of products such as snails, palm oil, greens, garden egg, maize, green peas, waterleaf, pumpkin leaves, yam, neem oil, plantain, okro etc.

Various stakeholders at different levels of the value chain were questioned, the random interview pointed out the essence of the purchase of organic produce. Adebayo Owolabi, a marketing officer at the market stated that  organic agriculture inculcated a farming culture which allows fairness to customers and producers and the environment alike. Mrs. Oyetoun Alonge, one of the co-coordinators of Teaching and Research Farm also stated that her venture into organic agriculture was due to her passion for provision of safe and healthy  food for the family and the general public.

Mr. Ebenezer Oguntimehin an organic farmer who was also an organic farmer at the market made it known that organic produce are non-chemical and is market driven, he added that organic farming , though tedious but the return on investment is considerably high.

Consumers of these produce were not left out, Mrs. Onyebuchi Salako pointed out that she prefers to shop for organic produce as result of the new trends in area of prevention of diseases associated with foods grown using chemicals and to maintain a healthy lifestyle. According to Mrs. Onyebuchi, these products are more expensive than other inorganic produce but it is wiser to purchase them.

Prof. Mrs. Adeyeye Adebola also claimed that organic produce are healthier, tastier than others with terrible chemical in them, she added that the shelf lives of these produce are longer. She advised all consumers to patronize organic produce to avoid diseases in the future. She also stated that organic produce will be generally accepted in the near future as it this has a long term effect.

Various challenges faced at every level of the value chain include: poor and level of awareness on organic produce, organic produce not readily available, low level of acceptance by organic consumers, scarcity of organic seedling, lack of funds for grass root farmers. Expectations from organic agriculture organizations were as well listed out and these are in areas of provision of subsidy on organic inputs, encouragement of organic farmers by giving necessary supports in areas of packaging and value addition, provision of grants to farmers , increasing the level of awareness  on organic agriculture, creation of platforms for farmers to showcase their produce/products(farmers’ hub), assist in increasing the market share.

Participatory Guarantee System (PGS), A Quality Assurance Arm of the Association

Participatory Guarantee System (PGS), A Quality Assurance  Arm of the Association

A team of Inspectors at a member’s farm in Ogbomosho

A team of Inspectors at a member’s farm in Ogbomosho

Participatory Guarantee System is a second party Certificate scheme, an internationally approved standard and sets of guidelines for inspection of farmlands. it is a locally focused quality assurance system that certify producers based on active participation of stakeholders. They are built on these key elements which include shared vision, trust, transparency, learning process which ripples into the following:

  • Principles and Values that enhance livelihoods.
  • Norms conceived by all the stakeholders.
  • Clear, pre-defined consequences for non-compliance.
  • Documented management system and procedure.
  • Mechanisms to verify compliances, sustainability to all stakeholders in the agriculture value chain.
  • Provision of consistent seal or labels as evidence of organic status.

All these and more are very important areas of PGS, organic farming rely solely on the above as this ensures that the farming practices are streamlined to suit the collective global standard required in organic agriculture. The scheme is opened to members of Association of Organic Agriculture Practitioners of Nigeria as it is the only organization adopted as the umbrella body for organic agriculture organization in Nigeria. There are however three types of certification which are:

  1. The first party which is the individual claim by the farmer or processor, this is based on the personal obligation of the claimant of his testimony being authentic.
  2. The second party which involves the participatory guarantee system.
  3. The third party is that made by a statutory body in charge of certification.

The Association does the second party certification, here, a group of inspectors to visit the farmland of the farmer, the inspectors checks the farmland and the environment and see that the farming practice is in conformity with the laid down rules, when the farmland meets the requirements, they are certified organic but if not, will be given the rules and procedures to follow and the number of years to be given to allow for regeneration and sanitization of the farmland.

This is one of the services provided to members of the Association at relatively low cost and this is a continuous exercise as organic agriculture entails a consistent routine checks and updates needed for an unbreakable trail of quality food production.

At the online training organized by the PGS Committee of Association of Organic Agriculture Practitioners of Nigeria held on October 26-27, 2020, participants were familiarized with the standards in organic agriculture. It was pointed out that before one can benefit from organic system, evidence has to be produced, and minimal requirements have to be met. There are laws governing the process and it varies from system to system, organisations to organisations, and that there is no one omnibus standard

Having your farm certified enables increased price for products, increased marketability, satisfaction of producing a clean product with minimal environmental damage, product assurance for purchasers and complete traceable system for products from the consumer to the farm.  PGS also enable you assess yourself, and the items on the certificate are the produce you are allowed to trade, compliance with the organic agriculture process is very important, self- acclaimed organic certification is not acceptable and signing of pledges is involved.

It is worthy of note that after inspection by the PGS team, the farm, if found to be in non-compliance with the organic standard is not a one off process, conversion can be made, due process will be spelt out to the intending organic farmer, period of conversion will be communicated. The exercise is yearly and is subject to renewal.

The Association Flags Off State Chapters

The Association Flags Off State Chapters

Organic Agriculture has indeed gained ground and this is owed to the efforts of the Association of Organic Agriculture Practitioners of Nigeria in ensuring that farmers from all parts of Nigeria  share in the idea and objectives of the association.

2019 has its share of emergence of State Chapters  to ensure a larger percentage  of agricultural sector is occupied by organic farming as  against the land area  used in organic agriculture in Nigeria viz: This will enable a farmers engage in  healthy food production and sustainable agriculture. State Chapters such as Delta, Anambra, Lagos  State now Chartered with Ebonyi and Abia State in progress.

Delta state became Chartered on February 26, 2019, Anambra state 2019, Lagos State on 2020, delegates form the Association were at Ebonyi State on February 16, 2020 to launch its chapter. Oyo State , April 30,2019, Abia State chapter was launched on March 10, 2020 on the day of the Association’s Annual General Meeting.

However, there are guidelines and requirement to have State Chapters of the Association among whom are registration with the Association in any of the categories, numerical strength of at least 15 registered members of the Association, two or more meetings would have been held before the state tender its letter of intention to become chartered, written letter, a month prior to the date of inauguration.

The essence of this is to decentralize and encourage proximity to the Association, it will be a replica of the Association at the State level, chairpersons or Coordinators of the various state chapters will send report of their activities to the National President.

It is however noteworthy that before the advent of the above mentioned Chapters, Oyo State and Abuja have been full-fledged State Chapters.  And it is believed that more States join the train.

The 4th Ecological Organic Agriculture’ Regional Steering Committee Meeting

 

 

The Ecological Organic Agriculture Initiative’ (EOA-I) Regional Secretariat of West Africa under the able leadership of Mr Ernest Aubee of the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) Commission organised the 4th Regional Steering Committee (RSC) virtual meeting to review the activities of EOA in West Africa on Wednesday 29 and Thursday 30 April, 2020. The online meeting took place despite the Covid-19 pandemic causing lockdown of activities in many countries.
In attendance at the meeting were the Regional Steering Committee members of Ecological Organic Agriculture in West Africa, joined some strategic stakeholders of Organic Agriculture from Burkina Faso, Senegal and Ghana.
The virtual meeting was an opportunity to discuss critical issues in the region related to organic and ecological agriculture, such as; update on the West Africa EOA Regional Secretariat’ activities, update on EOA project implementation in Benin, Mali, Nigeria and Senegal, opportunities for extending EOA to other countries of West Africa, update on Organic Agriculture Knowledge Hub in West Africa, review of the 5th West African Organic Conference (WAOC) in Accra, Ghana, and update on 2021 Burkina Faso 6th West African Organic Conference (WAOC), etc.
In his welcome address, the EOA West Africa Regional Steering Committee Chairman, Mr Ernest Aubee welcomed the participants at the meeting. He expressed warm greetings from the ECOWAS’ Honourable Commissioner for Agriculture, Environment and Water Resources, Mr Sékou Sangaré. He laid emphasis on the need for a strong Ecological Organic Agriculture sector which he believes will enable the region to overcome the issue of food insecurity, environmental challenges and provide reliable alternatives to the current situation. He also addressed the Covid-19 pandemic issue which is seriously affecting the world in general and Africa in particular. He prayed that COVID 19 will soon be contained and brought under control. The Chairman of the occasion appreciated the Regional Secretariat for the efforts put in place and encouraged the implementing countries for their resilience in upholding organic agriculture in the region. He also thanked the participants of the virtual meeting and wished the Regional Steering Committee fruitful deliberations.
At the end of the two-day meeting, the participants at the 4th Regional Steering Committee meeting of the Ecological Organic Agriculture Initiative had fruitful discussions which led to strong resolutions and recommendations.

The Association Meets in Umudike, Abia State

The Association of Organic Agriculture Practitioners of Nigeria held its meeting at the Alumni Hall of Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, Abia State on March 10, 2020. The success of this year’s meeting was owed to the efforts of members of the Association, The Local Organising Committee, chaired by Prof. Ike Nwachukwu, members of the Executive Committee, and members of staff of the Association.
Speaking at the meeting, the President of the Association welcomed participants and added that the meeting was the second to be held outside Ibadan, Oyo State. He also appreciated the efforts of the Local Organising Committee of the AGM. Prof. Ike Nwachukwu likewise added that it is a pleasure to have participants in Abia State, he also requested that the President of the Association breaks the Kola as this is the tradition in the East of Nigeria. Participants included those from Akwa Ibom, Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Ibadan, Kwara, Lagos, Osun State.
Issues discussed in this year’s Annual General Meeting includes Participatory Guarantee System and certification, the modality and the cost implication and categories were also discussed, proposal of strategies for membership drive and value addition, generation of harmonized letterhead for State Chapters , and many more.
Motions were also moved and resolutions made, the outcome and other performances will be discussed at the next AGM. Members unanimously agreed that the Executive Committee members should continue with their respective offices till the next AGM following their performances during their previous tenures.
The constitution of the Association was read at the meeting and this was an interactive session, contributions and suggestions by members were agreed to be added to be submitted to the Chairman of the Constitution Review Committee (Dr. Olugbenga AdeOluwa),the revised constitution will then be presented at the next AGM. The next Annual General Meeting was agreed to be in Abuja in 2021. The 2019 Annual General Meeting also includes the launching of Abia State Chapter of the Association, the President of the Association handed over the constitution of the association to the Chairman of the State Chapter, Prof Ike Nwachukwu.