The much anticipated 14th Organic Conference organised by Organic Agriculture Projects in Tertiary institutions in Nigeria (OAPTIN) themed “Organic Agriculture: Food Security, Improved Nutrition and Sustainable Agriculture” which was held on 26th to 29th November, 2018 at Kola Adebisi Building, Abeokuta had in attendance practitioners and stakeholders from far and near wanting to delve into organic agriculture. Renown organic agriculture practitioners such as prof. V.I Olowe, the National President, Association of Organic Agriculture Practitioners of Nigeria who is also the Chairman, Local Organising Committee of the event, Dr Olugbenga O. AdeOluwa, Vice President, Association of Organic Agriculture Practitioners of Nigeria and key note speaker of the day, Barr. Olusola Sowemimo, a member of the Association and a guest speaker, the Vice Chancellor, Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB), represented by prof. M.O Atayese, Dr Mrs Florence Olowokere, Prof. I.O.O Aiyelagbe, Pioneer NCS, (OAPTIN) graced the occasion. In his welcome address, the National Coordinator, OAPTIN and the Vice Chancellor, Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta commended the efforts of the National Executive members of OAPTIN for consistently organising annual conferences right from inception of the project in 2004 to date and the courage of participants who have travelled from far and near to attend this year’s conference. He pointed out that organic agriculture as a production system has gained prominence as a global movement in the last two decades which has risen from 63.8billion US dollars in 2012 to almost 100billion US dollars in 2017. But organic agriculture is still a very minute niche in terms of its global farmland which is less than 1% relative to the global farmland despite the high value of money being spent on organic products. This induces the need for all the stakeholders in organic agriculture to harness all efforts and scale up prove success stories in order to meet the rapidly increasing demand for organic products. He charged the participants to do justice to the theme of the conference which is ‘”Organic Agriculture: Food Security improved Nutrition and Sustainable Agriculture”.
In addition, Dr AdeOluwa in his keynote address stated that there has been exponential development in global organic agriculture sector since 1999. Global organic agriculture sector was valued at 82 billion USD with total organic area of 57.8 million producers as at 2016 and that development of organic agriculture enterprise in Nigeria is still very low, Nigeria is yet to tap into this great opportunity. He added that organic agriculture is a force to reckon with and it proffers solutions by getting quality and safe foods on the table. He stressed the need for farmers and other food processors to incorporate organic agriculture into food production. It was also pointed out that pathogens, GMOs and other factors are affecting food security. Organically produced food has higher nutrient content than conventionally produced foods, vegetables and fruits for example have high level of phosphorus and vitamin C than conventional produce.
At the technical session which took place on 27th Nov, 2018, participants from all facets of academics were in attendance, in the course of paper presentations, various participants gave low down of how certain seeds were planted organically, the period , seeds like Okro, Soursop, Tigernut to mention a few. Issues were brought up and critiques such as Prof. V.I.O Olowe pointed out that detailed component analysis should be made for clearer and thorough reports, integrated nutrient management which is prohibited in organic agriculture. Standard nitrogen content for organic fertilizers must not be more than 5% , Prof. Chris Adejuyigbe of the Department of Soil Science and Land Management, Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta also pointed out that organic agriculture practice follows procedures, he added that organic manure is prepared and ready during a period of two weeks to stimulate microbial activities which generates heat and if not given time may damage the seedlings, he added that composts get ready after two weeks through the help of trychoderma and that organic standards varies across the world but there is basic standard which cannot be ruled out. Prof. Olowe appreciated everyone present and implored participants to join the Association of Organic Agriculture Practitioners of Nigeria as OAPTIN has a strong tie with the Association.