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The Organic Business Summit -Post Event Notes

Accessing markets and building viable consumer bases are a major challenge for all business ventures and the Organic Agriculture Industry is no exception to such realities. It has been our experience that to have any worthwhile business relationship, it is pertinent that all value chain actors from farmers, traders, processors and retailers (not forgetting supporting actors such as certifiers, government and non-governmental actors, inputs suppliers among others) work collaboratively. Collaboration fosters trust and allows players to identify, explore and actualize business opportunities.

The Business Summit was able to outline some areas of interest and to present compelling arguments of why the Organic Agriculture Sector in Kenya is ripe for the picking.

With such a rich pool of stakeholders represented we hope that the event will ignite the spark of collaboration among Organic Agriculture Sector players.

From the Summit Three Thematic areas of interest were identified for collaborative pursuit;

  1. Organic Vegetables and Fruits for Local Market
  2. Organic Fruit for Export
  3. Organic Herbs and Spices

The Business Summit was the just a 1st Step in many to, discussions in the various thematic groups have already commenced with many actors already moving forward in identifying opportunities.

In order to coordinate these collaborations WhatsApp groups have been set up based on the Thematic Groups(TG).

The groups are being coordinated as follows;

  Thematic Group Facilitator
1 Organic Vegetables and Fruits for Local Market Martin Njoroge
2 Organic Fruit for Export Clement Adongo

 

 

Lawrence Gitonga

3 Organic Herbs and Spices Emma Njoki

One has to be an interested party to participate in any of the above group and must offer some value to the discussions being held. The main purpose of the groups is to explore business opportunities that must Benefit Farmers in Murang’a County.

Contact Martin Njoroge – 0725 295 437 for more information.

If you missed the summit

HERE ARE

  1. THE MINUTES
  2. THE PRESENTATIONS

 

 

 

 

Kikuyu Organic Farmer’s Market -Mugumo Hotel Kikuyu

Residents of Kikuyu, Ndenderu, Sigona all the way to Limuru, you can now get ready access to Organic Food from the Kikuyu Organic Farmers market. The farmers are residents of Ondiri and Regen area where if you talk to them nicely will be able to organise basket deliveries and other value adds.

VENUE : MUGUMO PARK KIKUYU TOWN

DATE: 12TH DEC 2020 (INAUGURAL LAUNCH)

TIME: 9.00AM-1.00PM

Hosted by Ondiri Organic Farmers Group.

 

ORGANIC BUSINESS SUMMIT: DEVELOPING PARTNERSHIPS FOR NEW BUSINESS OPPORTUNITIES

DATE: 3RD DECEMBER 2020

TIME: 8:30 AM- 1.00PM

EVENT TYPE: Invite Only

ORGANIZERS : KOAN , KALRO , FIBL,  AFRICROPS LTD, OACK


The Kenya Organic Agriculture Network (KOAN) together with its partners will be hosting a first of kind organic industry business event on Thursday, 3rd December 2020 (9.00am) via Zoom platform . The Organic industry is the fastest growing subsector in agriculture globally, trading billions of dollars’ worth of products annually. This global trend is gaining pace in Kenya with people seeking healthy food amidst the Covid19 pandemic and food safety lapses in local food supply come to light. A burgeoning middleclass is fast becoming picky with food and export markets are becoming increasingly critical on sustainability, carbon emissions and pesticide residues.

The Kenya Organic Agriculture Network has been an industry leader making meaningful business linkages within the organic space. KOAN has assisted notable companies with strategic and much needed advisory and farmer linkage services that have led to millions of dollars’ worth of trade both locally and for export to date. In a bid to rapidly expand the organic space, KOAN has partnered up with the Kenya Agriculture and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO), the Research Institute for Organic Agriculture (FiBL), Africrops Limited, the Organic Agriculture Centre of Kenya (OACK) among other organizations to foster organic market development by focusing on both the domestic and export market.

The Organic Business Summit is an invite only event to present an organic sector survey implemented in Kenya during 2020, and to move ahead in jointly exploring organic business opportunities for the local and export market particularly focusing on organic products originating from Murang’a County. The County has some of the most pristine and prime land with the highest number of organic farmers in Kenya supplying fresh fruits and vegetables. The county has great potential for both local and export markets.

Latest date to sign up for the event is 27th November 2020.

 

Resources

PMCA PHASE 1 REPORT

Project Report 2019_Kenya PMCA Agribusiness and Entrepreneurship Capacity on Market Linkage for Organic Smallholder Farmers x

 

REPORT LAUNCH – PESTICIDE USE IN KIRINYAGA AND MURANG’A COUNTIES: A WAKE UP CALL FOR BETTER PEST CONTROL STRATEGIES

Date: 7th October 2020  Time: 9.30 am  Location: Virtual (Zoom)
 
Meeting ID: 
Passcode: 

 

About the Event

KOAN, Route To Food Initiative (RTFI), Biodiversity Biosafety Association (BIBA) and Resource Oriented Development Initiative (RODI) have petitioned parliament to withdraw toxic pesticides that have been withdrawn in Europe due to their negative impacts on human health, environment and toxicity to pollinators.

As a follow up to a study done in 2019 by RTFI that informed the petition, this year, KOAN undertook a pesticide monitoring survey in Murang’a and Kirinyaga counties to check whether the identified pesticides are available and in use in the two Counties. We also did pesticides residue testing on tomatoes and kales. The findings reveal concerning use of pesticides including the ones that have been withdrawn in Europe and also high toxicity levels of pesticide residues in tomatoes and kale.

The study findings will be presented Wednesday, 7th October via zoom from 9.30 AM, where the report will be launched.

Please Join the Zoom Meeting using the details below

We also plan for more sensitization by distribution of the report; County and National Governments engagements; CSOs and Consumer engagements among others so that we can all work together to ensure that the toxic pesticides are withdrawn in Kenya; that safer alternatives are promoted and used by our farmers; that the relevant authorities do regular pesticide residue monitoring to assure Kenyans of safe food.

“Let thy food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food’, often ascribed to Hippocrates (400 BC)”

 

Resources

  1. WhitePaper on Pesticides Use in Kirinyaga and Murang’a Counties (9mb file)
  2. Policy Brief – Pesticides Study – Policy Brief
  3. Summary of Pesticides Petition – Summary – Kenya Pesticides Petition
  4. Access SaferInputs.com Database – www.saferinputs.com

 

Barefoot Guide to Surviving COVID19- A Mighty Healthy Read

So  COVID19 hit us, right in the kidneys where it really hurts. Economies worldwide are smarting from the disruptions which forced many people to hole up in “Safety”. All rushing to stock up on tissue paper and hand sanitizer, in an effort to flatten the curves which were all so wavy and steep. The COVID pandemic has had its up and downs, but for the organic industry especially in Kenya (I can only speak for Kenya), it has seen a greater demand for healthy chemical free food, just ask Sylvia’s Basket  and she’s bound to have some inspiring financial records.

But we’re digressing, lets get to the matter at hand. The message of Let Thy Food be Thy Medicine and Thy Medicine Thy Food, really struck home. Many people are consciously transitioning into healthy chemical free food a.k.a Organic Food and they’re reaping the benefits.

Let Thy Food be Thy Medicine and Thy Medicine Thy Food

Food has always been a hot topic in Kenya (pun intended), and that’s why this interesting book is sure to have your mind salivating.

The Barefoot Guide to Surviving COVID19 is written by the Natural Food Barefoot Guide Writer’s Collective, a group of highly influential food advocates from Africa. Key among the writers is our very own Peter Mokaya CEO of the Organic Consumers Alliance.

COVID19 is a deadly disease which has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives to date, it is sad that despite the damage the pandemic has had on the health and welfare of the human race, many are still divided on how to handle it. The Guide appreciates the magnitude of COVID19 but is keen to emphasize on the role of diet in strengthening our immunity.

Illustration from Chapter 1

The beauty of the book (aside from the great graphics and illustrations) is the easy language and story telling format it takes on which makes for a delightful read. The book focuses on indigenous African dishes which are available (depending on you locale) in open markets. It has 5 Chapters each very important to read which take the reader along the lives of different characters and holds your hand while explaining some highly technical topics but in a very laid back manner. The Guide is neither too technical nor is it over simplified to be of little use to those with background knowledge of the topics discussed.

The book is written by Africans for Africans and presents African solutions to Global problems

It explains the misconceptions that exist in the food industry while giving tangible solutions. From issues of negative impacts of high fat and calorie diets , to how to start your own garden are covered. The book paints a realistic holistic picture of the ordinary citizens quest for healthy food for their family and the challenges in misinformation that exist while giving feasible solutions to the problems presented.

The book is written by Africans for Africans and presents African solutions to global problems. It is a must read and the information contained is priceless. The COVID19 Pandemic is still raging, its not too late to change neither is it too late to improve.

The Guide is currently Free to Download on the Organic Consumers  Alliance (OCA) Website

https://www.organicconsumers.co.ke

https://www.organicconsumers.co.ke

 

Much Ado About Organic/ Organic Certification at a SnapShot

The Organic Agriculture industry is full of Opportunities, but information about how to access these opportunities has not always been straightforward, particularly in Kenya. Organic Certification seems to be a grey area in terms of available information.  This article is for

  1. A person looking for ways to certify their farms as organic

  2. A person looking for ways to get their produce to market and need certification.

  3. A person looking for general information on organic certification.

If  you fall in one or more of the above categories then you’re in luck. The information has been packaged with you in mind.

Third Party Certification:

In this case, the certifier who is a certification company checks the system of production, handling and processing against the organic standards and once he confirms that the system conforms with the organic standards, he issues a certificate and allows the farmer to use an organic mark. The farmer in this case can therefore sell his or her products with an organic mark in the market. Where a farmer or a group of farmers are selling their products in the international market, it is mandatory to go through this type of certification due to the statutory requirements in destination countries such as European Union, United States and Japan.

3rd party Organic Certification

Third party certification is normally expensive since it is conducted by companies which have profit motives. In some case, where a farmer wants to sell their products in overseas markets, the companies accredited to undertake certification for such markets are from those countries. This means certification by these international companies where they sometimes bring in inspectors from those countries is expensive. In Kenya, there are several international certification companies that do operate. They include ECOCERT, IMO, Soil Association, Control Union, Ceres, Ugocert and Africert.

Where third party certification is being done for domestic or regional markets, local certification companies undertake certification using the East African Organic products standard(EAOPS). These companies are much cheaper than the international companies since they work with local staff. Once they complete the certification process, the farmer is allowed to use the organic mark (Kilimohai mark). The local companies that undertake certification include Organic consumers alliance, Acert, Encert and Nesvax Control.

Participatory Guarantee Approach (PGS):

Where farmers are selling their products in the domestic market, and within a short supply chain, this approach can be used. PGS is a transparent and well elaborate system that integrates participation of all actors in the chain to guarantee integrity of organic products and compliance with organic standards. PGS systems includes a functioning internal control system integrated with the principles of shared vision, transparency, trust, horizontality, participatory and learning among participants. PGS is cheaper compared to third party certification and well is suited for smallholder groups who sell their products locally or in farmers markets. To develop a PGS, farmers need to develop internal rules and clear management systems and procedures which comply with East Africa Organic Product Standards. They also need develop a mechanism of verifying compliance of every member with the internal rules and defined consequences for non compliance with internal rules which are implemented. Every member of the group should take a pledge to follow the rules and participate in the activities of the group including trainings.

Groups willing to develop a PGS system can contact Kenya Organic Agriculture Network (KOAN) for training. KOAN is also in charge of assessing and approving PGSses which have been developed. Currently there are 3 groups which have approved PGSses and are participating in the market.

For a farmer to be certified or to be in an approved guarantee system, it is required that the farmer:

  • Has adequate physical separation of his or her organic operation from non-organic operation;
  • Has adequate records to demonstrate compliance with the standards;
  • His/her farm is inspected/peer reviewed at least once per year;
  • Undergoes a conversion period before full organic status

Certification system also requires that:

  • The farmer knows and understands the organic standards;
  • Signs a contract or takes a pledge;
  • Needs to be committed to, and capable of, implementing an organic agriculture system;
  • Establish records of his operation;
  • Accepts inspection/peer review and certification procedures.

 

Contacts for local certification bodies:

Name of Organisation:    Organic Consumers Alliance
Contact Person:  Dr. Peter Mokaya
Address:14360-00100 GPO Nairobi
Telephone: +254722435758
Email: mokayapm@gmail.com
Website: Http;//www.organicconsumers.co.ke

 

Name of Organisation: Encert Limited

Contact Person: Musa Njoka

Address:  P.O. BOX 74510-00200, NAIROBI

Telephone: 254 724 910 240

Email: info@encert.co.ke

Website: www.encert.co.ke

 

Name of Organisation: Acert services Limited

Contact Person:  Susan Njoroge

Address:  P.O. BOX 1175 Thika

Telephone: 0723857373

Email: info@acertlimited.net

Website: www.acertservicesltd.net

Agrochemicals & Alternatives

AGROCHEMICALS AND ALTERNATIVES PROJECT- Transitioning farmers from Agrochemical reliance to safer and sustainable options.

The projects aims at providing alternatives to commercial agrochemicals which are harmful to human, animal and environmental health. The study focuses on Agrochemical use in Murang’a and Kirinyaga, making a comparison between Organic and Conventional Farmers. The project has several components;

Component 1 : Farmer Survey to catalogue pesticide use in both Murang’a and Kirinyaga Counties

Component 2 : Screening of ToxicBusiness Documentaries in both Murang’a and Kirinyaga Counties. These documentaries were developed by the Route To Food Initiative

Component 3 : Development of SaferInputsDatabase which is a platform with commonly used pesticides and the alternatives available. the Database will serve to  transition farmers and other users to safer options following the Integrated Pest Management methods.

Component 4: Media and Publicity of the three components.

Results