ISOFAR supports the development of organic agriculture in Africa by networking with relevant initiatives and organisations, such as “Organic Alternative for Africa”, initiated by IFOAM. (Read more about this initiative here.)

 

bladeafricannewsHigh potential for organic production

Africa is the world’s second largest continent (after Asia), with the world’s second largest population - about 1.1 billion people (15%). There are slightly more than 1.2 million hectares of certified organic agricultural land in Africa, which constitutes about 3% percent of the world’s organic agricultural land but only 0.1% of Africa’s farmland. There are more than 574’000 organic producers. Uganda has the largest organic area (231’000 hectares) and most organic producers.

 

The island state Sao Tome and Principe has the highest share of organic agricultural area; 7.2%. The majority of certified organic produce in Africa is destined for export. Key crops are coffee, olives, nuts, cocoa, oilseeds, and cotton. There is a growing recognition among policy makers that organic agriculture has a significant role to play in addressing food insecurity, land degradation, poverty, and climate change in Africa.

IFOAM initiative

IFOAM is currently working with the African organic sector, African Union, and other agencies in the framework of the “Organic Alternative for Africa” initiative, to facilitate the integration of organic agriculture into the core of African policies and the agricultural development agenda, including the Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP).

The Organic Alternative for Africa will identify, promote and nurture the uptake of organic agriculture practices, systems, markets, and policies in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication. IFOAM works with many stakeholders, both within the organic movement and outside it, to create opportunities and facilitate the growth of organic agriculture-based development throughout the continent.

African Organic Network 

A significant breakthrough was achieved in 2013 in the institutionalization of the African Organic Network (AfrONet). Its activities include strengthening and supporting regional networks, the Ecological Organic Agriculture Initiative for Africa, and organic conferences in Eastern, Western, Central and Southern Africa. Key achievements comprise a close collaboration with the African Union Commission (AUC; based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia), training on organic standards and certification for stakeholders in the member countries of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), and the East African Community (EAC).

Furthermore, the Kasisi training centre in Zambia has been identified by AUC as one of the satellite centres for organic training on the continent. The continent-wide Organic Product Standard for Africa has been approved by the African Union Commission (AUC).

Read more about the African Organic Network


Author:

Prof. Dr. Gerold Rahmann

Green Innovation Center – Ethiopia

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