Organic agriculture is increasingly recognized as a means to improving food security in Africa. However, solid data on the benefits of organic practices in Africa are still lacking for many contexts. As a result, many farmers, advisors, scientists, and government officials are uncertain as to whether organic agriculture can improve yields and help to increase farm profits to the extent that they are comparable with high-input agriculture systems.
FiBL, together with partners in Ghana and Kenya initiated the project ProEcoOrganicAfrica to address this knowledge gap. Research teams will compare the economic and ecological performance of organic and conventional farms in both countries. During the next three years, the researchers will collect and analyse data at field, farm and sector levels. They will interview a minimum of 600 farmers growing organic vegetables, organic cocoa and other organic plantation crops. The farms will be visited several times during the crop growing seasons. Additionally, the project team will review existing data sets and literature on the productivity and profitability of organic and conventional production systems.
The results are intended to assist farmers, farmer organisations, traders, processors, researchers, advisors and policymakers in deciding what is the most productive, profitable and resilient agro-ecological farming system for selected enterprises: for now and the future. The results will also bring out key elements of what is there to learn from each production system.
The project is closely aligned to the Ecological Organic Agriculture (EOA): an initiative endorsed through a Decision in 2011 by the African Union Heads of State and Government on organic farming. This initiative aims to bring EOA practices into the mainstream of national policies, plans and strategies by 2025.
The implementing partners in Ghana are the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA), the University of Ghana (UoG) and the Agro Eco – Louis Bolk Institute (LBI). The Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI) is leading the implementation of the project in Kenya in collaboration with the International Centre for Insect Physiology and Ecology (icipe). The International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM), in collaboration with MOFA and KARI, will break down the scientific results into recommendations for policy makers. Overall, the project is coordinated by the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL), Switzerland.
A range of local, regional and international stakeholders are also associated with the project in various ways: Kenya Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries (MALF); Kenya Organic Agriculture Network (KOAN); the Kenya Institute of Organic Farming (KIOF); the Ghana Organic Network, Biovision Trust Africa (BVAT); the African Organic Agriculture Network (AfrONet); Forum for Agriculture Research in Africa (FARA); and the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA).
- Dr. Irene Kadzere, Project Coordinator, FiBL, irene.kadzere(at)fibl.org ,Tel: +41 62 865 7272
- Ghana: Mr. Eric Doe, International Advisor Sustainable Agriculture, Agro Eco - LBI, e.doe(at)louisbolk.nl ,Tel. +233 (0) 302 786 097
- Kenya: Dr. Anne Muriuki, Principal Research Officer, KARI muriukianne(at)gmail.com ,Tel. +254 (0) 721 822 312
proecoafrica.net: Project website with videos about the project and the consortium
The project is supported financially by the Dutch Humanistic Development Cooperation (Hivos) and the Swiss Development Cooperation (SDC).