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Agroecology Training Addresses Food and Climate Crises in Nigeria

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Agroecology Training Addresses Food and Climate Crises in Nigeria

By Oke-Oghene Orogun

Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF), in collaboration with the GMO-Free Nigeria Alliance and Be the Help Foundation (BHF), organised a pivotal training on practical agroecology for civil society leaders and trainers. The training aimed to address the dual challenges of food insecurity and climate change exacerbated by industrial agriculture and the introduction of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in Nigeria.

The two-day workshop, which took place on May 17-18, 2024, was held at the BHF Agroforestry Farm in Kwali, Abuja, had 15 prominent members from various farmer groups participated. The training focused on the detrimental effects of GMOs, the importance of creating organic farm inputs, and agroforestry principles. The attendees are now prepared to disseminate this knowledge within their communities, promoting agroecology as a viable and sustainable alternative to current agricultural practices.

Key observations from the workshop highlighted the negative impact of chemical overuse and improper farming techniques on soil health, the ecological imbalance caused by agricultural industrialization, and the misconceptions surrounding biotechnology in Nigeria. Concerns were raised about the disruption of local crops, seed dependency, threats to biodiversity, and potential health risks associated with GMOs.

The benefits of agroecology were underscored, including cost reduction, yield increase, and support for natural pest and weed control, all of which contribute to healthier ecosystems. The approach also empowers farmers by giving them control over their seeds and land, thus reducing dependence on corporations.

Recommendations from the workshop call for enhanced government monitoring of seeds and agricultural chemicals, a thorough and unbiased investigation into GMO approvals by the House of Representatives, improved land access and tenure systems for farmers, and increased government support in infrastructure.

The government was urged to adopt agroecology to ensure sustainable farming, food security, and resilience against climate change. Additionally, establishing community-based agroecology farms through partnerships with HOMEF and BHF was deemed essential for nationwide knowledge and practice expansion.

The workshop concluded with a call for public discourse to critically examine the narratives surrounding local seed varieties and the necessity of modern agricultural biotechnology, emphasizing the importance of sustainable solutions for Nigeria’s future.

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