Funded By: Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), the African Union and, the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (SSNC)
Introduction: Ecological Organic Agriculture Initiative for Africa (EOAI) is an African led-program aimed at implementing the decision of African Head of States on Organic - Doc. EX.CL/631 (XVIII). The African Union Commission with stakeholders designed this Initiative that is to be domesticated and mainstreamed in Country Programs Policies and Strategies. The key funders of the Initiative are the Swiss Agency for development and Cooperation (SDC), the African Union and the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (SSNC). Kenya is among eight countries in Africa implementing this initiative since 2012 when it started as pilot project. Post-pilot project interventions the Initiative run from 2014-2018. Therefore, the overall goal of the initiative is to mainstream Ecological Organic Agriculture into national agricultural production systems by 2025 in order to improve agricultural productivity, food security, access to markets and sustainable development in Africa.
These 8 countries are categorized into the Eastern and the Western clusters. The Eastern cluster involves Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia and Uganda while the Western Cluster involves Benin, Mali, Nigeria and Senegal countries.
Under the SDC support, EOA has four pillars namely:
1. Research, Training and Extension (RTE): This pillar will be responsible for understanding gaps and implementing activities geared towards enhancing uptake of ecological organic agriculture practices along the entire commodity value chains. Attainment of this entails increasing knowledge from research into use, prioritising the needs about ecological organic agriculture practices and strengthening capacity of organisations and implementation of EOA practices. A systems-wide approach will be used to examine and respond to issues facing smallholder farmers, processors and marketers, both women and men, and the youth. Demand-driven participatory, interdisciplinary, and multicultural research will be conducted to inform planning and implementation of relevant training and extension activities that offer knowledge and skills to farming communities and other operators in organic value chains.
2. Information and Communication (IC): This pillar is complementary to the RTE through creation of increased awareness and knowledge of value and practices of EOA and strengthening extension support systems. The poor communication and lack of dialogue among research institutions, extension agents and rural farming communities has resulted in mismatch of demand and provision of appropriate technologies, consequently leading to perpetual food insecurity, low incomes and environmental degradation among smallholder farmers. Therefore, this pillar aims to use a range of information and communication strategies, products and technologies to share insights and lessons from experiences by farmers, processors, marketers, extension agents as well as researchers in order to sensitize the general public, including policy makers on the importance of EOA in general and organic agriculture in particular.
3. Value Chain and Market Development (VCMD): Agriculture being a socially and economically crosscutting enterprise, this pillar aims to promote interventions based on a holistic approach along the organic value chains to stimulate development of sustainable markets and to increase trade in traditional and high value agricultural produce and products at domestic and export levels. Internally, this process is based on the Participatory Guarantee System (PGS)/Internal Control System (ICS) that builds the social and entrepreneurial capacity of producers and processors to work together on agreed Organic standards. In this respect, there is a need for recognition and licensing the East African Organic Products Standard (EAOPS) also called ‘Kilimohai’, which was developed through a consultative regional public- private partnership and adopted as the official East African Community (EAC) organic standard in 2007.
4. Supporting and Cementing Pillar: Steering, Coordination and Management Promotion of Ecological Organic Agriculture is a complex and multi-disciplinary process that calls for efficient cooperation and communication among relevant stakeholders at all levels including governments, farmers, civil society, private sector, and the international community as shown in the figure below. Thus, effective implementation of the EOA Initiative would require strong institutions with effective, functional and responsive administrative systems. This pillar has brings together components of the pillars aimed at developing capacities of implementing partners and institutions.
Building on the foundation of the East African Organic Products Standard (EAOPS), the East African Organic Mark (EAOM), the development of a relevant Organic Guarantee System and emerging consumer awareness, this project centers on market-oriented organic production for local and regional markets. The focus of the project is the further development of organic value chains, ensuring regional trade growth in order for East African farmers to benefit from the rapidly growing market for organic products.
- Burundi Organic Agricultural Movement (BOAM)
- National Organic Agricultural Movement of Uganda (NOGAMU)
- Rwanda Organic Agriculture Movement (ROAM)
- Tanzania Organic Agriculture Movement (TOAM)
Under this program and in collaboration with Earth Oil Ltd KOAN has been able to successfully introduce organic tea tree growing in areas around Nanyuki, Timau and Narumoro as an alternative cash crop for farmers while promoting reforestation and soil conservation .
Others support includes:
Technical Assistance from Horizont3000
KOAN has been provided with a Technical Assistance by HORIZONT3000 .Her role is much more than the know how transfer but goes further to sharing the information and building strong teams . The TA is working with KOAN on Strategic Plan development and other institutional strengthening areas.