By Fred Ojeh
The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan, Oyo State and Contec Global Agro Limited (CGAL) have entered into a win-win deal to drive food security using organic farming technology.
The collaborative agreement will be fast tracked through the provision of building facilities, technology, exchange of expertise and provision of finance.
CGAL is one of Nigeria’s foremost privately driven bio-organic facilities in Abuja with spread across the 6 geopolitical zones using microbial soil nutrients, bio solution and biotechnology for 100 percent organic farming.
Meanwhile, the Chairman and Founder of CGAL, Dr. Benoy Berry, has bagged MarketingEdge Magazine’s Visionary Founder and Icon of Nigeria’s organic agriculture 2018. The award will be conferred on him on Wednesday 26th at Balmoral event centre, Ikeja, Lagos.
On why Berry emerged winner of the award, the Publisher of the Magazine, Mr. John Ajayi, said the founder of the company, has consistently focused on driving food security without using chemical input, besides the establishments of facilities across the country which runs into billions.
Dr, Berry, Ajayi noted, is increasingly making farming ‘sexily’ attractive for Nigerian youths using ICT, biotechnology and tissue culture propagation.
According to Ajayi, Dr. Berry’s contribution to putting organic crops on the table of Nigerians, said the establishment of state-of-the-art tissue culture laboratories and bio-organic fertilizer plants across the country for employment generation is no doubt worthy of emulation.
Meanwhile, in a remark, representative of the IITA DG, based in Abuja, Dr. Gbassay Tarawali, has applauded the collaboration between IITA and Contec, adding that it will go a long way to boost food security.
He said: “Honestly I’m really impressed with the all the facilities that I saw here, I didn’t know that tissue culture laboratory exist in Abuja city. I have been hearing people talk about it how you can grow and multiply plantlets in tiny pieces and then go through the process and I have never really seen it and it happening in such a massive scale here.
Already, Contec has started converting the building into tissue culture laboratories.
As an organization, we are happy at the high level of employment this company is creating which is something that the government will be pleased with especially using biotechnology and tissue culture that is chemical free and ICT to make farming attractive to the youths.
Tarawalli, who was full of praises for the world class facility, said: “Well, I’m from IITA and I have always seen an organized laboratories, I have been to many places, but I have not seen much of this, but when came here I saw an organized system and one that looks like what we do and I said at least we can share the facilities through a win-win initiative.
“IITA is really proud of partnering with Contec Global and then I think that this company is a very progressive organization because they keep on moving further and further and today from the time when we started our discussion on tissue culture, it has expanded to screen houses, filed trials and diversification of crops and even accommodation for staff that will be working around the tissue culture lab.” He said.
On the partnership, between IITA and Contec, he admitted that it has started already, explaining, that the institute has provided the facilities at Ibadan for Contec, we have contracted the lab, we don’t have the opportunities to move it in terms of finances, but Contec being a private sector and having very qualified people can move it to the next level.
He said: “Look at the people and the level of staff here they are so many, we will continue to learn from each other and like as he said we will develop technologies which they can also promote.
While acknowledging the win-win initiative, the Managing Director of CGAL, Mr. Thomas Chackunkal, said the company has developed an agro park architectural facilities in drying organic farming that is chemical free.
He added that the company has identified 232 microbes across Nigerian soil which the company used in developing organic fertilizer for the enrichment of the soil. This he added is being pioneered by CGAL alone.