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UNCTAD: Organic agriculture could boost African food security

African agricultural productivity, under threat following years of declining investment, policy shortcomings, and cheap food exports from other regions, could be restored through organic agriculture, UNCTAD says in a policy brief of February 9, 2009.

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United Nations Conference on Trade and Development UNCTAD

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African agricultural productivity, under threat following years of declining investment, policy shortcomings, and cheap food exports from other regions, could be restored through organic agriculture, says the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development UNCTAD in a policy brief of February 9, 2009.

The organic solution - which uses local resources, improves soil fertility and is environmentally friendly - is "equal or better than most conventional systems and more likely to be sustainable in the longer term". Demand for organic produce is also increasing worldwide, holding out "significant income possibilities for African organic farmers" and helping to speed progress towards the Millennium Development Goals. But the continent will have to overcome formidable challenges if it is to seize these opportunities, UNCTAD warns, including limited productive capacity, market access, government support, and certification.

The policy brief, on 'Sustaining African Agriculture: Organic Production', was part of UNCTAD´s contribution to a meeting in Namibia in February on improving African agricultural productivity. UNCTAD Secretary-General Supachai Panitchpakdi told the meeting that UNCTAD was stepping up its work on organic agriculture as a key means of addressing Africa´s food security crisis.

Further Information

Documents

Contact

  • United Nations Conference for Trade and Development UNCTAD
    Trade, Environment & Development Branch
    Sophia Twarog
    Palais des Nations,
    1211  Geneva 10
    Switzerland
    Tel.  +41 22 917 1330 
    Fax  +41 22 9170247
    www.unctad.org/trade_env/topicOA.asp

Background

Data on organic farming in Africa

According to the data collected in the frame of the 2009  global organic survey, carried out annually by FiBL and IFOAM, by the end of 2007 almost 900'000 hectares were managed organically by more than half a million farms. The countries with the largest organic organic areas are Uganda (296'203), Tunisia (154'793 Hectares), and Ethiopia (140’308 hectares). The highest shares of organic land are in Sao Tome and Prince (5 percent), Uganda (2.3 percent) and Tunisia (1.6 percent). The majority of certified organic produce is destined for export markets, with the large majority being exported to the European Union, which is Africa’s largest market for agricultural produce. The African market for organic products is still small. Three countries have an organic regulation and seven are in the process of drafting one.

The African Organic Conference, to be held in Kampala, Uganda, from May 19-22, 2009 will provide a good opportunity to mobilize support for organic agriculture.  The results of the survey are published in the yearbook the 'World of Organic Agriculture'.

More information 

Bouagnimbeck, Hervé (2009): Organic Farming in Africa. In: Willer, Helga und Lukas Kilcher: The World of Organic Agriculture. Statistics and Emerging Trends 2009. IFOAM, Bonn; FiBL, Frick, ITC, Genf

Contact

IFOAM Africa Office
International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements IFOAM
Hervé Bouagnimbeck
Charles-de-Gaulle-Str. 5
53113  Bonn
Germany
Tel.  +49-2...
Fax: +49-228- 926 50-99
E-mail h.bouagnimbeck(at)ifoam.org
www.ifoam.org/about_ifoam/around_world/africa.html

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