The International Organization for Good Agricultural Leadership and Development (IOGLAD) is set to empower farmers in 15 African countries, including Nigeria, on the program of practicing and cultivating organic agriculture.
IOGLAD is a non-governmental organization.
Presenting the program to a panel of experts led by the Director of Special Functions of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Ms Lawal Fausat, President of IOGLAD, Chief Martin Ihesie, said that one million ‘organic farmers in 22 states will be empowered in Nigeria on 10 different commodities.
According to Ihesie, the NGO focuses on the agricultural development agenda with an emphasis on the development of organic agriculture in 15 African member countries of the African Development Fund.
“One of the main cardinal programs of IOGLAD is to promote the economy of nations through organic agriculture by encouraging farmers to engage in the mass production of organic food crops that can be consumed on the continent and exported, thus guaranteeing a balanced exchange and payment system.
“We intend to ensure that every African nation is able to produce enough organic food crops, rich in natural vitamins and minerals capable of improving the health and well-being of their people”, said- he declared.
In Nigeria, Ihesie said registration for the pilot phase in 22 states will commence from June 6 to July 6, 2022, after which registered farmers will be empowered according to the program signed by the farmers.
He said the program targets one million farmers in 22 states in 10 commodities at a ratio of 5,000 farmers per commodity.
He said the organization works with the federal government through the Ministry of Agriculture, the Guarantee Trust Bank (GTB) and the Agriculture Bank.
“We will disburse the sum of 400 million naira to the Agriculture Bank as matching funds which will be disbursed to the collaborating bank for farmers to access on an interest free loan basis.
“Each registered farmer will be issued an ATM card with a certificate of joining the Organic Farmer Pilot Scheme upon payment of N2,000 per farmer at the point of registration.
“Then the farmers will be trained and there will be periodic visits by the extension staff to each farmer’s farm to check on the level of development and help if needed.
“Each farmer in the commodity group will be attached to an agricultural development insurance broker, who will take the farmers’ crop, while organic farmers seeking a loan for inputs will need to apply individually through their state office agent which will be forwarded to IOGLAD bank officer who will quantify the monetary value of inputs and labor cost,” he said.
The President said the payment system is flexible, as farmers will choose to either pay 100% of the agricultural input loan, repayable with 50% agricultural produce and 50% cash value at the end of the harvest, or pay a 50% deposit for reimbursable agricultural inputs. with post-harvest farm produce or reimbursable with a 50% post-harvest cash payment, among other options.
He said the Ministry of Agriculture will be required to provide extension officers from each state of operation who will receive a stipend from the organization for effective monitoring of farmers.
Speaking on behalf of the committee, Ms. Lawal said the committee will submit its report to the permanent secretary for appropriate actions and decisions.