Exploring the advantages of organic farming in Africa
A production system known as ORGANIC agriculture upholds the wellbeing of soils, ecosystems, and people. Instead of using inputs with negative impacts, it relies on biological processes, biodiversity, and cycles that are tailored to local conditions.
The foundation of agroecology is the application of ecological concepts and principles to maximize relationships among organisms, humans, and the environment while taking into account the social issues that must be addressed for a just and sustainable food system (FAO).
At a recent presentation to Journalists Go Organic, Ernest Aubee, the former Head of Agricultural Division at the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Abuja, highlighted some enormous prospects for Ecological Organic Agriculture (EOA).
Vast uncharted land for the growth of EOA. Land used for organic farming has grown by 119,000ha since 2015. The global market for organic agriculture increased from $150.63 billion in 2021 to $169.04 billion in 2022.
“Increased demand for healthy food products on a local and worldwide scale. Food safety issues and environmentally friendly production methods are concerns for consumers. increase in the prevalence of fatal diseases. urban middle class expanding. proximity to important EOA markets in the Middle East and Europe,” he said.
On the obstacles to EOA development in Africa, he noted the need of intersectoral policies and a legislative framework.
In several African nations, he claimed, EOA issues lack a solid institutional framework, and there is a dearth of EOA mainstreaming in national development strategies and NAIPs for food and nutrition security.
Limited Investments at the national level in EOA. The Maputo and Malabo Declarations’ financing obligations for the agricultural sector are not being upheld by member states. dependence on foreign money is excessive. without any opportunity for sustainability. Funding for EOA is up against fierce competition from traditional agriculture, which is highly reliant on inputs. Member states don’t have any standards, he claimed.
According to Aubee, the EOA industry is heavily regulated by standards, and the lack of standards lowers the competitiveness of African goods on both domestic and foreign markets.
He added that while standards are the hallmark of quality control, some nations’ standards-setting authorities struggle with institutional inefficiency and inadequate budget.
“EOA is a value chain in agriculture that calls for high level specialists with the necessary abilities. Little emphasis is placed on EOA in agricultural curricula. The use of traditional agricultural methods is emphasized. restricted financial support for EOA research and development. EOA knowledge centres and farmer field schools are scarce.
Lack of EOA markets and infrastructure. EOA is founded on science, and some of the continent’s nations lack efficient reference labs. Lack of laboratories hinders competition since it makes it impossible to uphold standards. Markets are not coordinated or organized. inadequate facilities for processing and marketing. Agricultural products are particularly perishable, according to Aubee.