The founding of African Organic Network (AfrONet) dates back to April 2008 in Dar es salaam, Tanzania at a meeting of three East African Organic Agriculture Movements (NOAMs) and reverberated in August same year at a meeting of four NOAMs including one from Southern Africa. In 2009, the African meeting of NOAMs reiterated the need for the formation of an umbrella body to steer organic agriculture network in African. On May 2012, 38 participants representing 16 African Countries had pre-conference meeting in Lusaka at the second African Organic Conference resolved to establish AfrONet as the umbrella organization uniting and representing African organic stakeholders. Later was approved by the 300 participants from over 40 countries as presented in the Lusaka Declaration on Mainstreaming Organic Agriculture into the African Development Agenda.
- Unite and network EOA actors and stakeholders across the continent, regions and countries.
- Engage and undertake advocacy at high levels with members and partners at- AUC, RECs, National and Development partners.
- Capacity building in EOA across the continent.
- Programming and resources mobilization for its endeavors in promoting EOA on the condiment.
- Spearhead EOA Research, extension, training and value chains and market development
- Provide management and administrative consultancy to likeminded programmers and partners.
AfrONet has been key partner to two projects/initiatives. The Ecological Organic Agriculture (EOA-I), Organic Trade and Value Chain Development in East Africa (OTEA) and Pro-Eco.
- In EOA Initiative which, is supported by two development partners – the Swiss Development Corporation (SDC) and Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (SSNC). At pilot phase in 2012, SSNC supported the initiative in six African countries (Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Zambia, and Nigeria) and SDC supported baseline studies in three West African Countries (Benin, Mali and Senegal). Major partners in the EOA Initiative are the AUC, SDC and SSNC. Lead partner is BioVision Africa Trust of Nairobi, Kenya. The country lead organizations are KOAN (Kenya), NOGAMU (Uganda), TOAM (Tanzania), NOAN (Nigeria), fenab (Senegal); PELUM (Kenya); ISD (Ethiopia), OBEPAB (Benin) and MOBIOM (Mali).
- In OTEA Project, AfrONet is both a Partner and a Component lead organization. At the partnership level, IFOAM and AfrONet (at regional level) implement the project together with the National Organic Agriculture Movements (NOAMs) of Kenya (KOAN), Tanzania (TOAM), Uganda (NOGAMU), Rwanda (ROAM) and Burundi (BOAM), and in close cooperation with the organic stakeholders and governments in the East African countries. With a main goal of improving the income and livelihood of rural communities in East Africa through the development of market oriented organic production, OTEA is implemented in five strategic components in which, AfrONet is a lead partner of Component C:
Policy development and support in promotion of organic agriculture in East Africa, wants to see East African governments, as well as EAC and AU policies, strategies and plans support the organic agriculture (OA) sector.
- In ProEco Organic Africa project, AfrONet participates in steering committee and stakeholders’ forum. The project works towards improving rural livelihoods in Ghana and Kenya, including food supply, nutrition and income security through climate-smart intensification of agricultural systems. Under the coordination of FiBL (Research Institute for Organic Agriculture), ProEco Organic Africa intends to generate scientific evidence and knowledge on the productivity of Ecological Organic Agriculture Initiative (EOA-I) in Ghana and Kenya. Sound conclusions and recommendations will be drawn on the potential of EOA, to help farmers, especially women, to be economically successful and resilient to the adverse impacts of climate change and socio-economic challenges.
Key Priority Areas and Strategic Objectives
Climatic Change And The Growing Global Concern For Environment
Organic agriculture is a production system that sustains the health of soils, ecosystems, and people. It relies on ecological processes biodiversity and cycles adapted to local conditions, rather than the use of inputs with adverse effects.
Main Objective is to promote application of indigenous knowledge on organic agriculture in enhancing resistance to the effect of climatic change.
Growing Consumer Demand For Organic Products
The organic market grew from US $ 13 billion in 1998 to US & 33 billion in 2005. Over the past two decades, growth rate of global markets for organic agricultural products have been much higher (usually 2-4 times higher) that those of conventional agricultural products.
Main Objective is to create awareness on the benefits of organic products to policy/decision makers, youths, researchers and consumers.
Institutional Capacity Building Of National Organic Agricultural Movements (NOAMs)
Currently, there are nascent institutions which, need to be developed and supported in terms of institutional/organizational capacities, human resource development, coordination capacity skills and competences to promote OA in Africa.
- To improve governance systems and structures of NOAMs.
- To develop capacities of certification bodies in Africa.
Resources Mobilization (Human And Finances)
In order to implement its strategic plan resources are needed in order to meet project activities cost, human resources, technical support, and coordination costs. A comprehensive OA resource mobilization strategy must be developed for fundraising and sourcing the financial support from stakeholders and development partners/donors.
Main Objective is to develop strategies for resource mobilization and fund raising.
Generation Of Empirical Evidence On Organic Agriculture
There has been a great deal of research into organic practices in Africa, however, it is fairly scattered and has not yet been systematically compiled. This key priority area is envisioned to build scientific data for OA in Africa.
- To strengthen and support organic research networks in Africa.
- To develop organic research agenda/strategy for Africa.
- To disseminate the research findings to the stakeholders.
Advocacy On The Development Of Organic Agriculture In Africa
Increased availability of reliable information on OA will help the efforts to lobby and advocate for change on African continent.
- To lobby to influence favorable policies and support for development of organic agriculture in Africa.
- To lobby to amplify the undertaking of organic researches, extension and education services.
Increased Availability And Access To Organic Agricultural Inputs In Africa
A significant decision must be made to highlight and support OA for its development in Africa. There must be organic agriculture policies, across the continent that involve private sector to fully participate in the development of OA and research.
Main Objective is to promote participation of private sector in research for development and supply of organic inputs.
Organic Value Chain And Market Development
The major objective of this KPA is to have increased capacity of local producers to access and supply internal and external markets. There is a directly to work with the value chain and market actors since they have low capacity to use the tools and develop successful sustainable businesses.
- To facilitate the functioning of organic value chain and market access.
- To increase access to organic guarantee systems services.
- To promotion of value addition and processing of organic products in Africa.