Home Agriculture HOMEF Supports Farmers to Embrace Natural Farming Methods

HOMEF Supports Farmers to Embrace Natural Farming Methods


HOMEF Supports Farmers to Embrace Natural Farming Methods

By Stella Peters

Health of Mother Earth Foundation in collaboration with other alliances held a practical training on Agroecology
for farmers in Enugu State, Nigeria. The training focused on addressing the issues of hunger and climate change which are compounded by the existence of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) and Highly Hazardous Pesticides (HHPs) in the agriculture system.

It was noted that GMOs and inorganic pesticides which are promoted in Nigeria and other parts of Africa are based on the false premise that they would ensure food security. However, in almost a decade since the introduction
of GMOs in Nigeria, Nigeria still struggles with food insecurity. People are not hungry for lack
of food but for lack of means to get the food.

One key question that was addressed by the farmers was: the possibility for Nigeria to improve and sustain agricultural productivity based on agroecological principles – excluding GMOs and inorganic chemicals?” About 90% of the farmers maintained that it was possible stating that what is primarily required is a change of mindset and for us to revisit the age-long practices of mixed cropping, use of cover crops, crop rotation, biological pest management, etc which ensure optimum production of healthy and nutritious foods. However, it was agreed that Agroecology can be practiced on a large scale. Farmers can either produce organic fertilisers and pesticides on their own using locally available materials or work in cooperatives to do so.

One of the participants during the session, Mrs Asogwa Juliet noted that GMOs may look to have some advantages but they also had serious disadvantages – adding that from experience, the crops performed poorly after the first planting season.

In a statement signed by the Media and Communications Lead of HOMEF, Kome Odhomor, it was stated that Farmers and Federal extension workers across the state participated in the training which equipped them with the knowledge on agroecology to enable them to meet the responsibility of producing safe, nutritious, and culturally appropriate food in the face of the climate crises while sustaining their livelihood.

At the end of the training, farmers gained knowledge on how to produce pesticides from the Neem plant, garlic, and chilli pepper; as well as how to produce the Jeevramruth fertiliser using various locally sourced materials including cow dung and urine, bananas, cowpea flour, etc. Farmers also gained knowledge of agroforestry and how to promote biodiversity, soil, and plant health on their farms. There was a lot of emphasis on mixed cropping including by adding flowers and trees on the farm as this increases productivity, and reduces the growth of weeds, as well as the use of chemicals on the farm.

At the end of the training, HOMEF charged the Federal Government of Nigeria to ban the use of GMOs and
ensure the preservation of local/natural seed varieties. Increased support for farmers through timely
provision of needed infrastructure, access to credit, and access to land especially for women. The Ministry of Agriculture should support and promote agreocology including by ensuring access to organic fertilisers
and pesticides and quality seeds.

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