Organic agriculture summer school to support capacity building in Nigeria

Organic agriculture summer school to support capacity building in Nigeria
Research news

Wednesday 04 July 2012

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Nigerian scientists, farmers and business professionals with a keen interest in organic agriculture are to be upskilled via the expertise of the Director of Coventry University's Centre for Agroecology and Food Security (CAFS).

Professor Phil Harris is flying out to Nigeria for a two-week organic agriculture summer school at the University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, organised by the Organic Agriculture Project in Tertiary Institutions in Nigeria (OAPTIN).

OAPTIN was founded in 2004 in response to the global quest for the development of a sustainable agriculture production system. Its focus is on capacity building, skill and technology in organic agriculture in West Africa, and this summer school is the latest in a series of initiatives to support the education of professionals, as well as graduates and postgraduate students from relevant backgrounds.

Professor Harris, a specialist in the field of plant science and tropical plant development, will deliver a module on policy issues, certification and trade opportunities. The Director of the University's Grand Challenge Initiative in Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security has worked around the world advising on issues of sustainable agriculture and forestry, and is also the author of 15 books on related subjects.

This summer school will provide basic knowledge on the principles and practices of organic agriculture, hands-on experience in organic crop, livestock and fish production, and strategies and skills in the marketing of organic produce," Professor Harris said. "The module I am delivering is one of 13, alongside experts from the University of Agriculture
in Abeokuta, and the programme will include seven days extensive fieldwork and a stakeholders' workshop, so it is extremely intense.


I am really pleased to be involved in the programme as, through our work at CAFS, we are absolutely committed to combating climate change, supporting adaptation and low carbon growth, and enhancing the environment and biodiversity to improve the quality of life for people living in developing countries and regions.

CAFS is also currently working with universities in Ghana, Benin, and Sierra Leone to develop the full potential of organic agriculture in West Africa. "This will help to embed organic agriculture into the curriculum in West African universities," Professor Harris explained. "Graduates will benefit by participating in the global organic sector, by helping to develop locally appropriate standards and technologies - and in the production and marketing of West African organic products. The beneficiaries will be the farmers whose livelihoods will ultimately improve thanks to the reduction of production costs, and increase in agricultural yields."

For more information contact Phil Smith at Communications Management on 01727 733388 or email