A Review on Achieving Food Security at the Expense of the Environment: an Advocacy for Organic Agriculture Practices in Nigeria
*1Ajayi A. J. and 2Bifarin J.O.
1Department of Crop Production Technology, 2Department of Agricultural Extension and Management, Federal College of Agriculture, Akure.
Accepted on June 18, 2014
The ever increasing world population and the need to feed the entire populace resulted in pressure on land resources due to increasing land area under cultivation and intensification of production per unit land area. Massive use of external inputs that increases the cost of production became the order of the day in last few decades due to neglect in management of land resources required to sustain productivity. However, no respite has come to us in the food production sector with the practice of high input and high energy based production technology. This is evident in the increasing level of food imported into our Nation. The immediate effects of the impact of conventional agricultural practices reflect as low yield from farmers plot below the genetic potential of the crops, soil depletion and land degradation, deforestation due to expanding land area in order to cope with food demand, climate change and environmental pollution from the use of pesticides and other agrochemicals. The use of agro-chemicals and inorganic inputs also compromises human health through the toxic residues that enter the food chain through agricultural practices. The fact that the bulk of our nationally produced agricultural commodities come from peasant or small scale farmers is a pointer that the solution to our food security is not in massive land area cultivation but in intensive production with little external inputs. This is achievable with organic agricultural practices. Organic agriculture ensures sustainable production without jeopardizing the environment with the use of eco-friendly agricultural practices, recycling of farm resources in order to prevent use of synthetic external inputs and thereby reducing the negative environmental impact associated with conventional agriculture. In addition to these, farmers’ livelihoods will be enhanced through better income obtainable from their produce that can be offered at premium price. One of the cardinal principles of organic agriculture centres on health of man, crops and animal and environment. The exclusion of the use of hazardous pesticides and other external inputs guarantees the safety of human and our environment.