Update | Organic Trade and Value Chain Development in East Africa
In March the Steering Committee for the “Organic Trade and Value Chain Development” (OTEA Project) met in Nairobi, Kenya to discuss the progress of the intervention and look to the future. The project, funded by SIDA, has just passed the halfway mark and stakeholders were keen to assess the overall situation.
It was noted that awareness among consumers has risen in the last year e.g in Uganda where several farmers markets and outlets in supermarkets have registered a high increase of visitors. Several PGS (Participatory Guarantee Systems) have been mobilized, trained and formed in each of the five countries to link organic supplies from farmers to local markets. The PGS approval criteria in the East African Community has been harmonized and utilized throughout the region. The Joint Management Committee that is about to establish a secretariat in Nairobi, ensures the smooth handling of the Organic Guarantee System, for example, the assurance of a functional system of supervision/control of organic production methods, the decision whether a revision of the now 10 year-old East African Organic Product Standard (EAOPS) should happen and the promotion of regional trade.
Trade barriers within the East African Community are still obstructing the smooth regional trade of organic products. Joint efforts of all National Organic Agriculture Movements (NOAMS) in the East African Community are needed to enact policy changes. AfrOnet is taking the lead here by organizing a policy symposium in Tanzania (early June) to raise awareness among politicians and others. Following elections in Kenya in 2013, which marked the official launch of decentralization, advocacy efforts there shifted to county levels and good progress can now be seen in at least five counties (Busia, Muranga, Laikipia, Kiriniyaga, Nyeri).
In addition to the meeting, a field trip to local farmers was also organized. Learn more about organic farming, from members of the Kenya Organic Agriculture Network, in the following videos: