The IFOAM project Regional Cooperation for Organic Standards and Certification Capacity in East Africa (OSEA) and the UNEP/UNCTAD Capacity Building Task Force on Trade, Environment and Development (CBTF) project Promoting Production and Trading Opportunities for Organic Agricultural Products in East Africa facilitated the development of a regional organic standard in the period 2005 to 2007.

The East African Organic Products Standard  was adopted by the East African Community, becoming recognized in Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda. In addition, the National Organic Agriculture Movements of Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda established a common organic mark to be used on organic products in the region.

Other accomplishments include:

  • development of a joint inspection protocol for verification of compliance with the standard
  • concept development for Participatory Guarantee Systems as an alternative way of conformity assessment
  • production of information tools and materials and training of media

The OSEA project has been a real success. It has provided a general boost to the sector and a good foundation for the future development of the organic markets locally, regionally and internationally. As a result, East Africa counts now on a common platform for international negotiations and recognition, and a working regional collaboration around market development and the management of the East African Organic Mark has been developed on the governmental level, in the form of the East African Community, and between the NOAMs.

OSEA I related links

Development process of the EAOPS, English
Development process of the EAOPS, French
Report of the consumer survey and review of existing PR materials for consumer education
Osea I Project Report
East African Organic Mark


The OSEA II, funded by the Govermnent of Sweden, is a follow up to the OSEA I Project.

It was implemented during 2010 - 2013 and aimed at improving income and livelihoods of rural communities in East Africa, through facilitation of trade in organic products by means of a regional standard, development of the conformity assessment system, promotion of a regional mark and raising consumer awareness. Read the full Osea II Project Summary.

Some of the specific components of the project were:

  • Building certification capacity in the region;
  • Making conformity assessment accessible for small producers;
  • Working with marketaccess to the EU;
  • Regional trade development;
  • Advice and support governments on relevant policy issues for development of the sector;
  • Monitoring and documenting the development of the sector in East Africa.

The project was implemented by IFOAM in close cooperation with the National Organic Agriculture Movements in Burundi (BOAM), Kenya (KOAN), Rwanda (ROAM), Tanzania (TOAM) and Uganda (NOGAMU). IFOAM is the leading agency, ensures local project coordination, provides technical and political input to the project, and is responsible for part of its implementation. IFOAM contracted Grolink AB for the overall project management.

The OSEA II newsletter was published quarterly and you may download the last issues here.  

Find out more about our past East Africa Conference here.

OSEA II related publications

The Potential Contribution of Organic Agriculture to the Realization of the Objectives of the Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Program (CAADP) - A Guide for Stakeholders,  [ Complete report &  Brochure]

Watch the film  “Kilimo Hai - Going Organic in East Africa“ here. It tells the story of how three smallholder farmers in Tanzania and Kenya escaped poverty, hunger and diminishing yields through learning organic farming practices. 

 Scoping Study on Organic Aquaculture in 5 East African Countries

 Consumer Survey Attitudes and Preferences towards Organic Products in East Africa,  [Complete report & brochure]

 Productivity and Profitability of Organic Farming Systems in East Africa,  [Complete report & brochure]

 The Impact of Organic Agriculture in East Africa

Find more documents here.

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