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A non-governmental organisation, Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF), has urged the Federal Government of Nigeria to ensure that foods distributed in the country are safe for human consumption.
The organisation stressed on the need to decolonise food systems in the country by reviving the culture of agro ecology.
The Executive Director of HOMEF, Mr. Nnimmo Bassey, made the call during a media training on food sovereignty that was held in Port Harcourt, capital of Rivers State.
Bassey stressed that industrialised agriculture is very dangerous and has contributed largely to the challenge of climate change, but noted the need to decolonise Nigeria’s agriculture for variety of crops produce.
He said that “without doubt, the decolonisation of agriculture is the way towards the preservation of crop and animal varieties, rebuilding our food systems, thereby, recovering our culture.
“A decolonised agriculture invests on support systems for farmers, including by providing extension services and providing/upgrading rural infrastructure. It also means preserving local varieties, ensuring that farmers have access to land and, funding research institutions to build a knowledge base on healthy soils and resilient indigenous crops.
“It would again mean placing a moratorium on all types of agricultural modern biotechnology as this is a key means of eroding species varieties besides threatening outright extinctions.
“A decolonised food system uncovers the falsehood of genetically engineered crops presented as climate smart agriculture whereas, if anything, they are truly climate stupid.
“Food and culture are inseparable. Food is at the centre of our festivals and ceremonies. Food sovereignty is achievable only in a decolonised food system. In such system, we know where and how our foods are produced and our farmers are true knowledge holders and cannot be deceived to plant varieties they don’t know or want.
“It is our duty to demand safe food, support our farmers, reject monoculture, and decolonize our foods and minds,” Bassey added.
In his presentation titled “Transitioning to Agroecology – the Opportunity and Challenges,” the Project Coordinator of Alliance for Action on Pesticide, Mr. Donald Ofoegbu, explained that agroecology builds resilience against climate change and market shocks while empowering big and small producers.
Ofoegbu revealed that farmers are becoming poorer with the soil constantly reducing in terms of nutrient and carbon.
He advised that federal government to encourage agroecology, saying that it has 100 percent pesticide free food.