The Market Systems Development Advisor for Mercy Corps, Dr. Joseph Ubek, has said the international NGO is rounding up arrangement with Contec Global Agro Limited (CGAL) to support Nigerian rural farmers with bio organic fertilizer and inputs for organic farming.
Meanwhile, the pioneer and former Vice Chancellor, Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti, Ekiti State, Prof. Sidi Osho and Ubek, have described the state-of-the-art laboratories as mind blowing the organic agro facilities established by the Founder and Chairman, Dr. Benoy Berry, for the production of organic farming and export.
Osho and Ubek, made the disclosure in a separate chat week end after undertaking a facility tour of the company’s tissue culture laboratory and bio fertilizer plant accompanied by the company’s Managing Director, Mr. Thomas Chackunkal.
On her impression, Prof. Osho, said: “I had worked at the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan, Oyo State, and I thought that was international standard only for agriculture in Nigeria and Africa.
“But I must say that this facility that I have seen is mind blowing in this company has the latest ISO compliance. It is international standards, a 21st century agricultural potential for productivity and when you start looking at organic farming this is where to come.”
However, Prof. Osho, advised CGAL, to open training centres across the 6 geopolitical zones for farmers where they farmers will be trained on how to use and apply the developed technologies and end products so that people will really know more about organic farming.
“I’m aware that this company has signed a lot of MOUs with state and federal governments and other private sector Initiatives, I think that a lot of people really need to know more on what they are doing here. If they have training facilities and it can be attached to each geopolitical zones so that people can start talking about organic farming which is the best thing in terms of eating healthy and better food crops and having better productivity and export potentials.
“For me it is not just for the government officials to visit, but the practice is important. The farmers and potential users in the value chain need this information and so when you get to back to your base you call the ministries of agriculture, the ADPs and let them know what is available in terms of organic fertilizers and organic herbicides to improve productivity and the other services rendered to improve productivity.
“I also saw here different varieties of improved banana, potatoes, tomatoes and pineapples etc. People are looking for improved varieties in an organic environment like this.” She said.
According to her, state governments should open up through letting their commissioners and even local government heads in charge of agriculture be part of CGAL’s agro revolution.
Let agricultural institute under the federal ministry of agriculture take one day or two days seminar to work with them because they are responsible to several farmers within their space and they will be able to share their knowledge, she said.
On training, she acknowledged that IITA has gained a lot of ground in reaching farmers, adding that it will afford CGAL an opportunity just as they are already partnering with IITA to reach more farmers.
Also on the private sector investing in agriculture and government’s support, she explained that agro business can be better driven with the private sector, adding: “I don’t believe that government is better positioned to drive the economy of any country.
Now they are a private sector. What the government needs to do is to partner with them and the private operators need to partner with themselves so that they can grow as I see them grow even beyond Nigeria.
Also speaking, Dr. Ubek, said Mercy Corps, explained that Mercy Corps is an international NGO that has been carrying out developmental and humanitarian works in Nigeria especially in the North-east with plans to expand to other parts of the country.
According to him, Mercy Corps has been working to support small- holders farmers, stressing: we are interested in working with the private sector just to ensure that there is that sustainability after which we as NGO pull out from that engagement.
On his impression at the facilities, Ubek said: “The work going on here is totally amazing, if don’t come in here you wouldn’t know that something good is happening here.
“But for us this is something that makes a lot of sense and we think that this need to be scaled up so that people need to know what is happening and especially small farmers can reap the dividend of what is happening here.”
Going forward, Mercy Corps, he averred is looking at collaboration with Contec Global Agro limited (CGAL), particularly on how to support the company in the distribution of their products across to farmers at the grass root.
Ubek said: “We therefore think that CGAL is a viable partner brand to work with and going forward is to get the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed, we can wrap this up because the planting season is fast approaching and we are looking a couple of months to do the signing because time is critical. We are looking at one or two months.