By Babajide Okeowo
An agriculture expert, Mr Ismail Olawale, has called on local farmers to expand on organic farming, to aid its benefits for human and soil health.
Olawale, a fellow at the National Agricultural Extension and Research Liaison Services (NAERLS), made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday, in Lagos.
The expert noted that organic farming practice was possible at scale, if the country’s farming systems were properly restructured.
“To encourage more farmers in the practice of organic farming, we need to restructure our farming systems and prioritize crop cultivation that is beneficial to human health as well as the farmers’ pockets.
“The basic argument of inorganic farming practices and the excessive use of fertilizers in crop cultivation is centred on the quest by farmers to increase productivity.
“For farmers who are all out for profits alone, the systematic requirements of organic farming will not work for them. Hence the need to encourage and sensitise more farmers on non-artificial and natural farming practices,” the expert said.
Olawale, however, noted that the practice of organic farming required shifting cultivation systems to boost crop productivity.
According to him, the issue of erosion was one major challenge local farmers may encounter in the practice of organic farming.
“In order to increase productivity, through organic farming, the farmer must be willing to practice shifting cultivation in crop cultivation.
“Giving the farm land rest every other year makes it more productive in organic farming practice. The cultivation of legumes and vegetal crops that cover the farm land surface is also beneficial to productivity.
“One major problem affecting organic farming is the problem of erosion. When erosion wipes away the surface level of the farmland, the most organically cultivated crops are washed off.
“The root systems of crops cultivated organically like legumes and vegetables are not deep into the soil, hence they will easily wash off when erosion happens.“This trend has also discouraged so many farmers from embarking on organic farming despite its inherent benefits to human health,” Olawale said.