Nothing artificial is ever enduring. It goes with consequences, sometimes small and sometimes big, but because of the propensity of man for experimentations mostly for commercial gains, disadvantages are often overlooked.
This can best qualify the gigantic transformation by man in the agricultural sector. First, it was the chemical revolution that changed before our eyes the amount of yields per hectare which greatly gladdened the hearts of food producers.
Further in the pursuit of inventions for the sector, cross-fertilisation of plants and animals gave rise to hybrids that look beautiful to the eyes but awkward and in most cases, less strong and afflictive. Whatever the case, consumers gobbled them down with delight whether palatable or not, even when the foods are spiced with harmful preservatives.
Then, came the debates about genetically modified foods praised by innovators as healthy and side-effect free, while others saw them as lethal toxins designed to destroy humans slowly.
But overtime, scientific analysis of our agricultural production system worldwide point to a general agreement on the need to return to nature which has all our food as medicines.
We may not agree more with the federal government of Nigeria for joining other well-meaning citizens of the world against the will of industry, in her bid to gradually phase out the use of chemical fertilisers to ensure the production of healthy foods for the people.
The news which came from Mr. Audu Ogbeh, an agric scientist and the former Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, was highly pleasing
amidst worries over the increasing number of liver and kidney diseases among young people.
‘‘We are slowly going to begin to eliminate chemical fertilisers. Organic nature means that this is what nature is all about without
polluting it with salt, the chemical fertilisers are salt.
‘‘They damage the soil of all kinds and over a while, you find out that the soil is no longer good for you because they destroy the microbes which make the soil more productive. We need to make the food healthier because a lot of self-poisoning is going on in the country.
‘‘Even the machines we use to grind tomatoes in the market, metal rubbing against metal; particles of heavy metals getting into the food.
‘Suddenly, you see a young person in the hospital, like 20 years of age suffering from liver and kidney problem and you ask, do you drink alcohol, he says no, then what is happening?
‘‘We are not probing enough but we want to start in agriculture, eliminating dangerous elements from our food.
‘‘The place to begin is the farm, right from where you are planting, from the soil, from the bio-chemicals, the water, all of that has to be controlled and then you have healthy foods,’’ the minister said.
In this regard, we commend the efforts of Mr Ogbeh in collaborating with an Indian company, Contec Global Agro Limited which is already conducting an experiment to develop microbes from the soil in the laboratory and putting them back into the soil without the use of chemicals.
However, to effectively achieve this, all hands must be on deck because the process of gradual conversion to the organic fashion will require study on the existing ferlitiser plants scattered in almost all the states of the federation and which are not without costs.
It will also require the contributions of the health authorities, the Customs service, food and drug administrators and other relevant authorities.