Kilimohai Organic

The Kilimohai Organic mark is a certification for organic produce and processed products in East Africa. It is endorsed by the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) and is based on the East African Organic Products Standard (EAOPS). This certification is a product of the Kenya Organic Agriculture Network (KOAN), an organization dedicated to promoting organic farming in Kenya and East Africa. It guarantees that agricultural crops are cultivated without the use of chemical inputs and undergo a thorough review and verification process by specialized inspectors to ensure compliance with the Kilimohai Organic production standard.

kilimohai organic mark

For further insights into organic farming, you can explore the Kilimohai website. It offers a range of training materials, case studies, and farming manuals.

Inaugural Participatory Guarantee System Training of Trainers held by KOAN.

Unlike the “Third Party Certification” approach, which relies on external inspection bodies, the Participatory Guarantee System (PGS) represents an alternative assurance system. PGS involves internal procedures that are less rigorous and less costly, making it particularly suitable for local farming setups comprising groups of farmers, buyers or consumers, and stakeholders. PGS enables consumers, farmers, and all participants in the value chain to establish an “organic guarantee” system built upon principles of transparency and trust. This system empowers smallholder farmers working in groups to cultivate and market organic agricultural produce, while consumers gain access to safe products and become actively engaged in the agricultural process.

In Kenya, the adoption of the Participatory Guarantee System (PGS) has witnessed ongoing growth, with 25 groups currently registered and approved by KOAN. As the custodian of the East African Organic Products Standards, KOAN establishes the regulations governing PGS in Kenya. Furthermore, there has been a notable increase in the demand for organic products. As consumer interest in organic food production continues to surge, it becomes imperative to expand the supply of organic products. Numerous farmer groups across the country have received training in organic farming and collaborate with NGOs and CBOs. However, these groups encounter challenges in accessing organic markets due to the absence of a formal guarantee system.

On 8th June 2023, KOAN conducted its inaugural virtual training on Participatory Guarantee System (PGS) Training of Trainers (ToT). The primary objective of the training was to enhance and strengthen the skills necessary for effectively implementing and auditing PGS groups, thereby facilitating the growth of PGS in Kenya. The training aimed to establish a group of accredited PGS Trainers of Trainers (TOTs) and Assessors who would play a pivotal role in expanding the number of PGS groups across the country. By doing so, the training sought to augment the range, assortment, and seasonal availability of organic products in the market, originating from PGS groups. This training attracted a diverse group of over 30 participants who already possess experience in working with farmers’ groups and providing training on organic farming practices. The participants were carefully chosen from various regions across Kenya, where organic farming is practiced, and were selected from both KOAN members and partner organizations, including PELUM Kenya and Biovision Africa Trust.

During this initial stage of the training, participants were required to complete a pre-training form aimed at assessing their existing knowledge, skills, and pertinent working information. Subsequently, the participants attended the inaugural training webinar, which focused on the formulation of a PGS development plan. This training provided participants with the necessary tools to gather information and develop an initial draft of the development plan. Stay connected with us via social media channels for updates regarding the upcoming steps, during which the participants will present and further refine the draft development plan in a face-to-face training. This comprehensive training program will involve three days of classroom sessions and a one-day experiential learning opportunity in the field.

If you require further information about the training or wish to register your group for PGS, please get in touch with Samuel Ndungu via email

Actualizing the Participatory Market Chain Approach (PMCA) methodology

The implementation of the Participatory Market Chain Approach (PMCA) methodology has demonstrated immense potential in revolutionizing the organic industry throughout Kenya. During the trial period implemented in the COVID-19 pandemic years (2020-2022), a lot happened and much more was started.  Among these notable achievements, was the establishment and growth of the Kangari Organic Farmers Markets (KOFAM) and the Gatanga Organic Farmers Market (GOFAM).

Due to the imposed travel restrictions, organic products that were primarily destined for the Nairobi market faced significant challenges in reaching their consumers. Consequently, farmers began exploring local markets as an alternative solution. Initially, the idea of establishing a grocery shop in Kangari was considered, but based on past experiences regarding the management and upkeep of such ventures, it was discarded. Instead, the public market emerged as a favorable platform for selling organic products. Our collaboration with the farmers involved identifying business opportunities and refining them with the 5Ps of marketing (Product, Place, Price, Promotion, and Packaging).

Recognizing the importance of branding, the farmers made efforts to establish their unique presence within the market. They also engaged in negotiations with the County government to secure a dedicated space within the market premises where organic farmers could showcase and sell their products within specific timeframes. Furthermore, the farmers donned distinctive dustcoats and other branded attire, generating additional interest and driving sales. Today, the Kangari market operates successfully, displaying a sense of independence and witnessing ongoing growth. Our role as KOAN primarily involves supporting the Participatory Guarantee Systems (PGS) associated with the market.

Further accomplishments, which will be discussed in subsequent communique, including the development of herbs and spices dryer, the introduction of KOFAM and GOFAM herbs products, and the establishment of the Kenya Organic Avocado brand.

1st National PGS Workshop 2022


Date : Friday 25th November 2022

Venue : Wangari Maathai Institute for Peace and Cultural Studies  (University of Nairobi)

Time : 9.00am – 4.00pm

Event type:  Hybrid (Physical and Virtual)

Zoom Link :

Goal : Improved farmers’ livelihoods driven by an increased organic market value and effective organic sector services being part of a well-coordinated sector.


  • To develop strong PGS systems for greater transparency and guarantee of Kilimohai Organic Produce.
  • To provide opportunity for improved networking among PGS groups in Kenya.
  • To create awareness about opportunities and best practices in PGS.

Participants: PGS group representatives from all over Kenya, NGO partners sponsoring PGS groups, organic sector traders, retailers and interested parties.


Whereas Organic farming is seen as an alternative to conventional farming which has negative attendant impacts on the environment, 3rd party certification is often times seen as a significant hurdle in market access for organic smallholder farmers. Participatory Guarantee Systems were introduced as a way of empowering farmers to take charge of organic certification through self-guarantee while building groups to be cohesive marketing units for organic produce. PGS being a grassroots initiative is coordinated at the national level by the national organic movements who are in charge of among other things ; assessing and approving PGS groups, maintaining a national registry of PGSes by collecting and collating groups information.

With over a decade of PGS implementation, the process in Kenya has evolved to have its own unique flair, with multiple groups exhibiting diverse characteristics, norms and modalities. With such a rich pool of experiences to draw from, the Kenya Organic Agriculture Network (KOAN) the national coordinator for PGS groups in Kenya is finalizing an assessment of various PGS groups in order to catalogue best practices, challenges and opportunities and recommendations for growth.

As a way of sharing this information and enhancing interaction and experience sharing among PGS groups in Kenya, the Kenya Organic Agriculture Network is organizing the 1st ever Kenya National PGS Workshop which is envisioned to be a consultative session where PGS representatives from different parts of Kenya will meet up to share and discuss critical matters regarding how PGS in Kenya are managed. The workshop will offer opportunities to discuss the future of PGS in Kenya and how to decentralize the development and approval.

There will also be to launch awards to outstanding PGS in different categories where the judging criteria will be shared to the groups in attendance for judging in 2nd National PGS workshop 2023.


Kenya National PGS Workshop 2022 Event Program

Time Activity Facilitator
8.45 Opening Remarks KOAN CEO
8.50 Welcome & introduction KOAN
9.00 Kenyan Organic Market opportunities – domestic and export KOAN
9.10 Background & reasons for this event with Agenda BVAT
9.15 Introduction and presentation of Groups Presentations (at least 12 groups @5 min each) with 1-2 min each group for clarifications KOAN

All Groups

10.00 Coffee & Tea Break MC
10.30 PGS assessment results presentation KOAN
11.00 Q&A
11.15 Presentation of new PGS framework by KOAN KOAN
12.00 Breakout Sessions to discuss information presented and proposed structures (Each 6-8 members for 25 minutes All
13.00 Lunch Break All
14.00 Feedback and Presentation from Breakout Session PELUM KENYA
14.45 Kilimohai presentation KOAN
15.00 PGS Awards Presentation KOAN/BVAT/PELUM
15.30 Way forward KOAN
15.45 Closing words All
16.00 Tea break All



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
Website: Http;//


Name of Organisation: Encert Limited

Contact Person: Musa Njoka

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

Telephone: 254 724 910 240




Name of Organisation: Acert services Limited

Contact Person:  Susan Njoroge

Address:  P.O. BOX 1175 Thika

Telephone: 0723857373