By Dwelleth Morountodun
The pioneer and former Vice Chancellor VC, Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekite in Ekiti State, Prof. Sidi Osho,
has commended the Founder and Chairman of Contec Global Agro Limited (CGAL), Dr. Benoy Berry, for setting up a 21st century state-of-the-art organic agro facilities in Abuja for organic crops farming and for export of Nigeria’s farm crops.
While underscoring the import of the facilities, she admits: “But, I must say that this facility that I have seen here today is mind blowing. It has the ISO compliance certificate. It is international standards, a 21st century agricultural potential for agricultural productivity and when you start looking at organic farming this is where to come.”
Prof Osho, while sharing her experience with Journalists after the tour of the company’s tissue culture laboratory and organic fertilizer plant by the Managing Director, Mr. Thomas Chackunkal, explained that even though, she had worked at the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA), I thought that was international standard only for agriculture in Nigeria and Africa.
She, advised the company’s management on the need to establish more organic farming training centres across the 6 geopolitical zones where farmers will come in and be trained on how to use the developed technologies, end products and how to apply them so that people will really know more about organic farming, adding that she would want to key into the training programme for the benefit of the rural farmers.
The agro expert, said: “I’m aware that the company has signed a lot of MOus with research institutes, state 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 a training facilities and they can attach it in the geopolitical zones so that they can come 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 for global export.
On support from government, Osho, stressed: “For me it is not just for the government officials to visit, 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 every stakeholders to 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.”
She commended the company for the improved banana, potatoes, tomatoes and pineapples crops, saying that people are looking for improved varieties in an organic environment like this.
My advice is that state governments should open up and when they visit and let commissioners and even local government heads that are responsible for agriculture be part of the revolution that CGAL is advocating, she said.
“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.
“I can tell you IITA has gained a lot of ground in reaching farmers and this is another opportunity and I’m happy that they are partnering with IITA so that they can reach a lot of farmers.” She averred.
On the private sector investing in agriculture and government’s support, she reaffirmed that government has not much role to play in driving the economy, advising that the private sector is better positioned to drive the economy of any country.
She said: “CGAL is a private sector led company, government should partner with them and other private operators in the agro sector so that they can grow even beyond Nigeria.
In a brief remark, Chackunkal, said the company is strategically committed to be a global leading agro organization bringing in best class practices to manufacturing bio-products and mass production of plants tissue culture that meet and surpass the expectation of stakeholders.
On the ISO 9001 certification, he said: “We are primed to continually deliver quality products to our end users, there is a need to establish a standard quality management system : ISO 9001 provides a set of consistent comprehensive best practice guidance for developing and maintaining quality our organization.”