IFOAM: Innovations in Organic Agriculture for Smallholders in Africa and India

IFOAM – Organics International, Naturland and FiBL are working to build up organic competence in selected Green Innovation Centres.

Improved access to knowledge and innovations in organic agriculture holds great potential for improving food security and sustainably raising the productivity of smallholders’ farms in Africa and India economically, ecologically and socially. With this objective in mind, IFOAM – Organics International; FiBL, a research institute for organic agriculture; and Naturland – Association for Organic Agriculture are co-operating in a joint project supporting nine selected Green Innovation Centres for the Agriculture and Food Sector (GIAE).

The Green Innovation Centres are part of a special initiative called “ONE WORLD, No Hunger” and are being implemented by GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH) on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Co-operation and Development in a total of 14 countries.

Within this programme, a transnational group has been working on the topic of organic agriculture since May 2016. The objective of this working group is to encourage and facilitate knowledge transfer and the exchange of experiences with respect to organic approaches and innovations between GIAE countries and their local partner institutions.

In order to plan concrete measures and put them into practice, the three organic organisations (IFOAM – Organics International, Naturland and FiBL) co-operate with the centres as part of a joint project. On 12th December, all the participants are meeting for the first time at a kick-off workshop during the regional conference of the Green Innovation Centres in Nairobi.

Increasing the organic ratio in the added value of agricultural products

The objective of this co-operation is to encourage the implementation of organic approaches and methods, particularly with respect to the development of organic agricultural value chains from start to finish, from cultivation to processing and domestic and international marketing.

In each of the participating countries, the project focuses on two or three different crops which either hold great market potential or are important to food security. In Malawi, for example, the crops being focussed on are cassava, soya and peanuts, whilst in Cameroon they are vegetables and potatoes.

The different fields of activity in more detail:

  • Assistance with market intelligence, demonstration of the advantages of organic agriculture to political decision-makers, information on the advantages of organic products in the respective countries, and the overall co-ordination of this initiative (IFOAM – Organics International)
  • Studies and research on consumer awareness of organic produce in each country, provision of services for conversion to organic agriculture, assistance with certification and access to the markets via Naturland partners in the fields of processing and trading (Naturland)
  • Development of training material for farmers and information channels, training of partners locally, and the encouragement of exchanges between science and practice within the African and Indian context (FiBL)

Links/further information: 

Source: Press release IFOAM – Organics Internationa, 08.12.2017