The committee which is formed by ecological organic agriculture bodies from the six regional states met in Dar es Salaam on Wednesday and Thursday this week and held discussions on progress realised so far, challenges and the way forward.
Participants of the meeting told The Guardian that some progress have been made so far towards promoting ecological organic agriculture in their respective countries but absence of policy and laws is a common challenge that they need to address.
“So far only Uganda has made it to adopt a policy on EOA that went through a process of ten years to its endorsement. As for now, a collection of ideas for developing a bill that will be put forward for consultation from stakeholders then to the ministry and to the parliament,” said Josephine Akia, incoming country coordinator participatory ecological land use movement (PELUM) Uganda.
According to her, goodwill by the member states will give room to discussion by stakeholders of EOA how it has helped in pushing forward the agenda to farmers in respective countries.
Michael Lufungulo, agriculture officer from the Crop Development Department at the Ministry of Agriculture said that Tanzania is taking measures to transform the EOA desk to a complete department at the ministry.
“The ministry has collaborated with stakeholders from district to national level in pushing the EOA agenda forward. The process is underway for establishing the National ecological organic agriculture strategy. About 104 groups of EOA farmers registered under the participatory group certification (PGC) who are engaged in horticulture, fruits, spices and sunflower both in mainland and Zanzibar,” said Lufungulo.
Eustace Kiarii Kenya Organic Agriculture Network (KOAN) chief executive officer said that in his country promotion of EOA is done through trade by facilitating farmers to access local and international markets.
“So far within Nairobi alone 20 companies are exporting organic products to European Union countries. The bureau of standards has gazetted the EOA products such as macadamia nuts, spices, essential oils and horticulture;
Only last year EOA produced exports worth 3million euros about 300million Kenyan shillings while the domestic market was valued at 30 million Kenyan shillings. The products are mostly from 22 counties of the country,” said Kiarii.
Adrien Sibomna, retired Prime Minister of Burundi who doubles as Burundi Organic Agriculture Movement (BOAM) board member said in his country the body has been pushing for establishment of knowledge hubs. It is also working closely with the government in facilitating availability of EOA inputs and linking farmers to markets.
This is a 13th meeting since the committee was established and it bring together TOAM, BOAM, NOGAMU, KOAN, ROAM and Ethiopia which joined recently.
In 2003, African countries endorsed the Maputo declaration, committing to allocate at least 10 percent of national budgets to agriculture and rural development projects (AU, 2004), among other objectives aimed at promoting the development of EOA as it was endorsed by African heads of state and government in 2011.