AfrONet Editorial Note January – June 2018

Let’s join hands to promote organic farming

Different forums held across the world have been urging stakeholders in organic agriculture to spearhead public awareness campaigns on organic benefits among farmers and consumers.

We echo this clarion call because we believe it’s time all stakeholders joined hands in seeking to increase awareness on organic agriculture which can contribute to socio-economic and ecologically sustainable development, especially in poorer countries.

In the same vein, we invite stakeholders to contribute to this newsletter, articles and critical reviews on topical issues and overviews of the status of organic agriculture in their regions/ countries. 

As we continue to bring you some of the most exciting developments in sustainable agriculture and food security, our focus will also be on increasing public awareness on organic benefits at large.

It is for this reason that we call upon stakeholders to play their part in promoting organic products through coordinated awareness campaigns across many countries. 

As we all know, organic consumers awareness campaigns often have a double objective: to generate awareness about organic, but also promote particular organic products in the region.

At the same time, governments in African countries should now consider the option of financing organic consumer awareness campaigns as a way of supporting the initiative. 

With the increase in population, governments’ pressure should not be only to stabilize agricultural production but also to increase it further in a sustainable manner. 

Emphasis should be on protecting the long term fertility of soils by maintaining organic matter levels, encouraging soil biological activity, and careful mechanical intervention.

We believe we have a strong reason to support organic agriculture now and forever. Let’s not be hesitant.

Zanzibar set to employ OA policies to boost trade, tourism 

Dar es Salaam 

THE Zanzibar Revolutionary Government plans to come up with policies and programs which will influence and enhance rapid growth of organic agriculture in the Isles. The objective is to advance trade and tourism in the archipelago. 

“We need to act right away, we need not to delay.  If we shilly-shally it is going to take us so long and we shall have to toil a lot,” remarked Ambassador Amina Salum Ali, the Zanzibar Minister for Trade, Industries and Marketing, on her arrival at the Julius Nyerere International Airport (JNIA)  from Biofach, a world organic exhibition held in Nuremburg – Germany from February 14th to 18th  2018.

“As a matter of fact this visit has shaped us so much. As from now I believe we shall move very fast in making organic agriculture a reality in Zanzibar. “said the minister, adding:  “if we officially support organic agriculture, automatically we will be boosting the number of tourists coming to Zanzibar as it is more evident that more tourists prefer organic food to non-organic food.”

She explained that the government has seen the importance of fast tracking the organic agriculture subject, saying the most important item is the policy issue. “When this is finalized then we will be in a position to move speedily on this”, she noted.

Ambassador Amina further stressed that during their visit to Germany they discussed and reached consensus with four foreign companies working on organic agriculture in order to make it flourish. “I personally see a greater future of Zanzibar through organic agriculture.”

She also noted that both Zanzibar and Tanzania Mainland have a lot of potential crops that can create superior demand for organic agriculture from across the world. For this to happen, she said, it requires the people to have a frame of mind towards organic agriculture. Meanwhile, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Trade, Industries and Marketing  Mr. Juma Ali Juma, who accompanied the minister to the world organic exhibition in Germany asserted that the visit has vividly shown availability of a huge market for organic products globally.

“The market issue isn’t a problem anymore, there are lots of opportunities, yet we can still use our own organic products to manufacture medicine. There is everything for our producers, let’s go beyond by acting fast, as the money is here,” he remarked.

Crops grown organically in Zanzibar include, among others, all type of spices, cloves, cinnamon, cardamon, lemon grass, turmeric, black pepper and nutmeg. 

The organic exhibition trip for Zanzibar policy makers was facilitated and financed by the Tanzania Organic Agriculture Movement (TOAM) through Ecological Organic Agriculture Initiatives (EOA-I) and OTEA.    

Ambassador Amina Salum Ali (R) a Minister for Trade, Industries and Marketing in Zanzibar, Mr. Juma Ali Juma, Permanent Secretary and Mr. Jordan Gama, AfrONet President (L) at Biofach in Germany.

Morocco to earn 230 M€ in export of organic products by 2030

Morocco

Morocco is expected to add to its foreign earnings through export of organic products from 73 M€ in 2020 to  230 M€ in 2030, under a contract program of 2011-2020 for the development of organic value chain in the country.

FIMABIO, which is an umbrella organization responsible for the development of organic agriculture in Morocco, entered a ten year contract program with the government and 100 M€ has been invested to boost the implementation of operations in order to reach several objectives.

‘’Under this contract program we have several objectives that shall take us to our specific objective, ‘’ said Khalid Azim, FIMABIO cordinator in an interview with AfrONet Newsletter recently through skype.

He pointed out that FIMABIO is bound to the government with a contract program (2011-2020) for the development of the organic value chain in Morocco, with the investment program of up to 100 M€.

According to Azim, the objectives for the contract program include certified cropping land: 40,000 hectares by 2020 and 100 000 hectares by 2030, whereby the production is targeted to one million tonnes come 2030 and 50 per cent should be processed and  400,000 tonnes in 2020 out of which 25per cent should be processed.

In export, under the same objective, it is projected that 60,000 tonnes should be exported in 2020 and 200,000 tonnes should be exported come year 2030.

The production volume under contract program is estimated to increase the country’s forex to 73 M€ in 2020 through export of organic products and 230 M€ in 2030 under the same program.

This means that from 2020 Morocco is expected to get foreign earnings of 15.7 per cent increase annualy as it gets to 2030.

FIMABIO brings together three professional associations representing three key organic actors in the entire Kingdom: Production with “the Moroccan Association of Organic Producers, (ANAPROBIO) the Moroccan Association of Organic Processors, (VALBIO MAROC) and the Moroccan Association of Organic Distributors and Exporters (ANADEXBIO).

Certified organic farming in Morocco has significantly evolved since 1986, the certified area has substantially grown and a regulatory framework is successfully set up and the development potential of organic agriculture in Morocco is tremendous. 

Although FIMABIO is a young in organic movement still it is carrying a very clear, audacious and ambitious vision that advocates “for an organic Morocco”, stated Azim.

The current organic certified land in Morocco is about 870,000 hectares, managed by 260 entities, including farmers, companies and cooperatives throughout the country. 

The cropping area is about 8,500 in addition to 1,700 hactares in conversion to organic agriculture, the remaining area is a certified area for natural collection such as argan forest, olive orchard and aromatic and medicinal plants.

Concerning the regulation process, FIMABIO and the government had worked together to set up regulation framework and in February 2013, the Moroccan organic law N°39.12 has been issued.  Until now four implementing decrees have been published in the official journal concerning specifications for plant and animal production, processing and aquaculture. 

There is a national commission of organic production (NCOP) that studies and approves the regulation and its application decrees, and also grants certification bodies to operate under the law N°39.12. 

Producers are mindful also for subsidies and support in the certification and production costs. Hopefully grants do exist but ministry of agriculture stands to complete all the legal framework in order to set the grants and guarantee the producers compliance with strong measured indicators.

Azim added that subsidies for certification will be 70 per cent with a threshold of 1000 MAD/ ha for crops, possibly 700 MAD/ ton for animal products, and 1000 MAD / ton for exported processed products. 

The grant will be given only during the conversion period. The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries subsidise agriculture in general by other financial supports for agricultural equipment (drip irrigation) and agricultural inputs, which are freed of tax when imported to Morocco.

Concerning organic research in Morocco, the program contract signed has scheduled funds for research and development estimated up to 6.25  M € until  2020. The Moroccan organic movement  has  launched  a  call  for  three  research  and training institutions (INRA-ENAM  and IAV)  in  Morocco  to  suggest  research and development projects. 

Organic agriculture in Africa is far a promising system to sustain food production and population needs. Hungry and hardworking people, animals and soils characterize african agriculture, but biodiversity, human resource, virgin soils and acquired competences of many african countries could implement a strong agricultural systems for sustainable rural developpement. 

Organic agriculture in Africa needs complementarity among its members through networking, transfer of technology, common policies and organic food chain redesigned to catch the most to add value to small stakeholders.

Organic agriculture proponents from Morocco in a group photo with AfrONet representatives at OWC held in Greater Noida, India late last year. Photo by Constantine Akitanda

Fourth AOC slated for November in Cameroon  

Dar es Salaam

THE fourth African Organic Conference (AOC) is scheduled to take place in Yaoundé, Cameroon from 5th to 8th November 2018.

Organized by African Organic Network (AfrONet) in collaboration with Ecological Organic Agriculture Initiative (EOA-I) and the National Consultation of Farmers’ Organization of Cameroon (CNOP-CAM), the conference will draw a wide spectrum of at least 300 organic stakeholders from different areas across Africa.

The AOC convenes every three years, with the third conference held from 5th – 8th October 2015 in Lagos, Nigeria. The second AOC was held in Lusaka, Zambia from 2nd – 4th May 2012 the inaugural conference took place in Kampala, Uganda in 2009.

The AfrONet Director of Programs Mr. Moses Aisu told AfrONet Newsletter recently that this year’s conference will address crucial issues related to the organic sector in Africa. Participants will have an opportunity to share experiences, successes, challenges and ideas towards increasing and widening of the vital sector in the continent, he added.  

“Stakeholders shall come from different disciplines ranging from research, academics, organic producers/farmers, hospitality industry, policy makers, government representatives, agricultural traders/private sector, civil society organisations, development partners/investors, women and youth,” explained Mr. Aisu. 

Noting that organic agriculture is practiced worldwide and in Africa inclusive from subsistence, small scale to large scale, he said outcomes of the conference will include sensitized stakeholders knowledgeable about the socio-economic and environmental benefits of organic agriculture achieved by farmers, traders and processors as well as strategic actions recommended to key actors through a communiqué / declaration. 

Other outcomes, according to Mr Aisu, include proposed policy recommendations for the development of organic agriculture along with funding and investment opportunities for Organic Agriculture development explored. 

According to IFOAM – Organics International, Africa has enormous potential for production and export of organic products to Europe and other parts of the world. 

The organic agricultural land in Africa has increased by over 400,000 hectares or 33.5 per cent compared to 2014. 

There were almost 1.7 million hectares of agricultural land in 2015 [0.1 percent of the continent’s total agricultural area and 3 percent of the global organic agricultural area]. 

In 2015, at least 43 countries reported data on organic farming. The organic agricultural land has increased by more than 1.6 million hectares from the 52,000 hectares in 2000.

AUC lauds EOA-Initiative Continental Secretariat

Bamako, Mali

THE Continental Steering Committee of the Ecological Organic Agriculture (EOA) Initiative in Africa has won acclaim from the African Union Commission (AUC) for its dedication and a job incredibly well done since the 7th Continental Steering Committee meeting held in Yaoundé Cameroon in May, 2017.  

“You have since then done a wonderful job to date, you did not keep quiet, but instead provided us with updates on what has taken place since the last meeting,” said Ms. Josefa Correia Sacko, Acting Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture within the African Union Commission when giving her opening remarks .

 Continental Steering Committee of the Ecological Organic Agriculture (EOA) Initiative in Africa held its 8th meeting in Bamako, Mali last December to endorse work plans and budgets for 2018 and deliberate on other issues concerning the initiative. 

In her opening remarks, the Chairperson of the African Union Commission-led Continental Steering Committee Dr. Janet Edeme acting on behalf of the Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture at the African Union Commission said EOA has become a very good case which AU can stand and testify.   

Dr. Janet also thanked the current development partner through representation by Mr. Peter Sidler of Swedish Development Cooperation (SDC) who attended the meeting for the continued support of EOA initiatives and programs

She commended EOA-I Continental Secretariat and the EOA colleagues in Mali for the excellent job done in arranging the logistics of the meeting, saying a lot had transpired within the EOA fraternity since the 7th Continental Steering Committee meeting in Yaoundé, Cameroon in May, 2017 and provided the meeting with an update of what has taken place since the last meeting.

In another development, Ghana was endorsed during this meeting as the host of the forthcoming fifth West Africa Organic Conference in Accra in 2019.

Updates on the preparations for the 4th Africa Organic Agriculture Conference scheduled for Cameroon in 2018 were given by AfrONet and the meeting was informed that plans for the conference were steadily underway. 

The Chairperson also took the opportunity to congratulate Dr. David Amudavi, the Executive Director of Biovision Africa Trust for being elected to the World Board of IFOAM Organics International. 

She also noted the big step and expressed her happiness that EOA was now well represented at the global space through Dr. Amudavi and urged him to try his best to raise the profile of EOA.

The ECOWAS representative informed the Committee that they had received funding to support EOA work in five countries starting 2018. 

Mr Alex Mutungi, EOA-Initiative Continental Secretariat Coordinator, told the AfrONet Newsletter through mails that a lot of EOA gains across the regions were noted from the various cluster updates, work plans and budgets, including the South-South cooperation across the implementing countries and regions. 

“As we enter 2018, the Continental Secretariat would like to encourage all the EOA players to maintain close collaborations, share lessons learnt and best practices to push the EOA bar even higher,” added Mutungi.

The EOA Initiative is a scheme that promotes Ecological Organic Agriculture (EOA). It was started in response to the African Union Heads of State and Government’s call for the promotion of organic farming in Africa. 

The African Union Commission, in collaboration with PELUM Kenya and partners supporting ecological organic agriculture, organized an inception workshop on organic agriculture in May, 2011 in Thika Kenya, with financial support from the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (SSNC) to discuss how to implement this decision. 

The workshop successfully resulted in a roadmap, concept note and development of an African Organic Action Plan to mainstream ecological organic agriculture into national agricultural production systems by 2025.

Representatives from East African countries to a World Seed Symposium that took place in India late last year.

Why organic farming is necessary

The on-going ecological debate between organic and conventional farming may make one believe that there are only two sides — those who support “organic” farming, and those who advocate “conventional” farming — perhaps with no common ground between them. Our Staff Writer Constantine Akitanda recently held an interview with Jordan Gama, the President of African Organic Agriculture Network (AfrONet), to reckon whether this debate holds water or not. Excerpts…

Question: Mr. Gama, Tell us briefly about AfrONet and why do you consider organic agriculture as an extraordinary agenda for Africa and AfrONet in particular? 

Answer: 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 and reverberated in August at the same year at a meeting of four National Organic Movements (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 Africa. On May 2012, 38 participants representing 16 African countries had a pre-conference meeting in Lusaka at the second African Organic Conference where they resolved to establish AfrONet as an umbrella organization uniting and representing African organic stakeholders.

This move was later approved by the 300 participants from over 40 countries as was presented in the Lusaka Declaration on Mainstreaming Organic Agriculture into African Development Agenda with a vision of a united and vibrant African Ecological Organic Agriculture (EOA) that transforms and empowers communities for sustainable livelihoods.   

Q: But the fact is, a lot of “organic” food is grown using conventional farming techniques. And a lot of “conventional” crops benefit from agronomic practices developed by organic farmers. Why should many people argue that way?

Ans:  Yes, organic food is grown using conventional farming mechanization and a means to increase land for cultivation and production, thus increasing income. But not all conventional farming practices are advised and practiced by organic farmers, like use of artificial/chemical fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides.

Mechanization or use of tools is allowable in organic farming to ease land management, pests and disease control and conservation of water and soils. But advice is given on minimum tillage, where soil disturbance for land clearing low is practiced like use of tractors, harrowers and combine harvesters.

Furthermore line planting and intercropping are farming practices encouraged in conventional, but in organic they help in soil nutrient fixation and pest and disease prevention. But as long as chemicals are used and soils get depleted, it stops being organic and remains conventional.

 It’s also very true that conventional crops benefit from agronomic practices developed by organic. This is because the conventional crops practice soil and water conservation which is organic, but use of chemicals pollutes the water and kills the soil micro organisms. If they use organic pesticides and herbicides, then it becomes organic.Conventional crops practice also line planting and intercropping among others, but depend heavily of artificial/chemical fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides that stay long in the soils, kill and alter normal functioning of soil micro organisms, useful pests and insects that help in pollination and breakage of materials into organic matter.

Cover crops are also used in conventional like beans, cow peas and pumpkins, to reduce soil erosion and suppress weeds, but their existence in conventional farming involves also use of pesticides, that affect living organisms while during land clearing the plant materials (wastes) are not left in the garden, but rather cleared and burnt to create a clean land for another planting season.

Q: What’s the best way to feed a growing world population while simultaneously reducing the amount of land, water and energy required?

Ans: Unfortunately the debate over how to address the global food challenge has become polarized, pitting conventional agriculture and global commerce against local food systems and organic farms. 

It should be noted that we share planet Earth with nearly 7.3 billion people and by 2050, there will be 9.6 billion of us, according to the United Nations. That’s a gain of one person every 15 seconds—or about 74 million more people each year—and each another mouth to feed.

Some claim we need to increase world food production by 70 percent to avoid future shortages, especially in developing countries, where the greatest population increases are expected over the next 35 years. But frankly speaking, to deal with this problem most effectively, we need to start implementing new agricultural strategies now.

The agricultural models that can feed a growing population in the developing world relying solely on industrial-scale agriculture, as many suggest, will not work, it will simply make worse the negative consequences of climate change while failing to feed the majority of the hungry, who are small-scale farmers. Instead, the best formula for the future may be more investment in local small-scale farming, reduced production of biofuels like corn-based ethanol and the elimination of food waste.

Q: The biggest problem within the debate over “Organic” and “Conventional” crops is that it suggests there are only two ways to grow food; a “good” way and a “bad’ way. In your view what does this mean?

Ans: In my view, the arguments can be fierce, and like our politics, we seem to be getting more divided rather than finding common ground. Those who favour conventional agriculture talk about how modern mechanization, irrigation, fertilizers, and improved genetics can increase yields to help meet demand. They might be right. Meanwhile, proponents of organic farms counter that the world’s small farmers could increase yields—and help themselves out of poverty—by adopting techniques that improve fertility without synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. They’re more right, in my opinion.

I do not think preference for organic farming all over the world is centric. It can be seen in many places, and I suppose the same set of reasons apply for preference in Tanzania and Africa as well. Primarily, farmers who prefer organic farming are fed up with chemical agriculture, which involves costs and impacts. 

Chemical agriculture is based on the concept of ‘cide’ that is ‘to kill’. This kind of agriculture was built on the edifice of killing anything and everything, in the path of production. Whereas, organic farming enables live and let live kind of production. Of course, organic farming these days is also seen as an economic concept because of its modern growth linked to market economics. 

For this reason, many people would prefer organic farming or other call it natural farming and/or sustainable farming. However, whatever the nomenclature, non-chemical farming is driven by the argument that leads to avoid chemicals in agriculture, awareness of health impacts of food contamination and economic considerations. Agricultural production becomes a pleasant pursuit, when done in non-chemical methods, and decreasing usage of fossil fuels.

Q: It is widely believed that almost all food is organic, and according to Webster’s dictionary, organic means “of, relating to, or derived from living organism.” Does this represent a clear meaning of what organic proponents refer to?

Ans: This question is really about semantics. While I am nowhere close to a chemistry, biology, or agricultural expert, the answer depends on what definition you are using. But in chemistry terms, all food is indeed organic, since the chemical definition of organic is a compound based on carbon: “Chemically, any compound containing carbon, with the exception of carbonates and cyanides.” 

 Some biology sources have defined organic as “of, pertaining to, or derived from an organism or organisms” which presumably would then exclude food made in a laboratory. But over time, “organic” has come to mean something very different in terms of food and agriculture. 

On its website, the United States Department of Agriculture states: “Organic food is produced using sustainable agricultural production practices. Not permitted are most conventional pesticides; fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients, or sewage sludge; bioengineering; or ionizing radiation. Organic meat, poultry eggs, and dairy products come from animals that are given no antibiotics or growth hormones.

In brief “organic food is defined not by any material substance in the food itself, but instead by the ‘holistic’ methods used on organic farms.

Q: Could Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) seeds be used to grow an organic plant? If yes/no, why? 

Ans: Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) seeds are not permitted for use under organic production standards. Organic farmers follow organic standards which regulate what is permitted in terms of practices and inputs. In the East African for instance, we have an organic products standards which states very clearly that “Genetically modified organisms or their derivatives shall not be used or introduced through negligence or oversight. This includes animals, seed, and propagation material, farm inputs such as fertilizers, soil conditioners and crop-protection materials.” 

In some countries, where GMO products on the market don’t have to be labeled, consumers can only avoid eating GMOs by choosing organic certified products. 

The reason why GMO seeds are not allowed under organic production is that organic farmers are required to maintain or improve the biological and genetic diversity of their operations. Genetic modification has the exact opposite effect by narrowing the gene pool and is focused on mono-cropping GMO varieties. 

In addition to that, humans have a complex digestive system, populated with flora, fauna, and enzymes that have evolved over millennia to recognize and break down foods found in nature to make nutrients available to feed the human body. 

GMO crops and foods are comprised of novel genetic constructs which have never before been part of the human diet and may not be recognized by the intestinal system as digestible food, leading to the possible relationship between genetic engineering and a dramatic increase in food allergies, obesity, diabetes, and other food-related diseases, which have all dramatically increased correlated to the introduction of GMO crops and foods.

Jordan Gama, AfrONet President

African govts urged to invest in organic agriculture 

Greater Nodia, India

VERY little has so far been done by African governments in pushing ecological organic agriculture agenda forward as compared to conventional agriculture despite its adverse effects to environment, soil and human health.

At least 1.3 million hectares available for organic agriculture within the continent are still unutilized whereby only three per cent is being used leaving the entire organic agriculture opportunities with a market share of approximately 81 billion USD untapped by Africans. Speaking at the World Organic Congress (WOC) here last November on behalf of the AfrONet President, Mr Moses Aisu, AfrONet Director of Programs said African governments, development partners and the private sector should play a greater role in supporting organic agriculture.

He told representatives from Africa in their caucus that Africans need to be smart enough in moving organic agriculture agenda forward. 

“We shall, at the end, be driving a lot of issues that are very crucial to our lives while reducing poverty, protecting environment, food security and food sovereignty within the continent.

“We have all the potentials in terms of resources like availability of land for production of organic agriculture, but still very little is being done, multinational companies are investing much of their financial resources in the supply of chemical inputs to our countries that are degrading  our soil and polluting our water sources, “ said Mr Aisu.

Lately, more funding is being directed to researches of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) which hinder the prosperity of organic agriculture as stipulated in the IFOAM principles. “This trend needs to be reversed at once so that we make this world a place for all creatures,” he added.

He called upon African governments to embrace organic agriculture in their national policies, strategies and programs if they really want to see the contribution of the agriculture sector in their GDPs.

“We haven’t done enough for our countries; we have 1.3 million hectares of organic agricultural land. Again, Africa stands as the world’s second largest land area, but we have the smallest distribution of organic agricultural land at 3 per cent. This is very serious,” he noted. 

He told delegates from across the world that, much of Africa’s organic agricultural activity is concentrated in East Africa, with Uganda as the largest organic area (231,157 hectares) and the largest number of organic producers (189,610).  

Globally, Uganda has the second largest number of organic producers (190,552) – following India’s 650,000.  

The East African Community (Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Burundi and Rwanda) make up 35per cent of the African organic farming land. 

 Once every three years, IFOAM – Organics International organizes the Organic World Congress (OWC), hosted by alternate countries, to achieve its vision as the global organic movement and also to provide a platform where organic stakeholders can share their knowledge and expertise and establish valuable partnerships. 

OWC is considered as the leading event for the development of the organic sector worldwide, it is held to promote and celebrate the inevitable turning of global agriculture to organic farming methods and to measure progress.

Continental virtue think-tank discusses the fate of organic agriculture sub sector in Greater Noida, India at OWC recently.

Ex-Tanzania Premier lauds TOAM for Promoting Organic Agriculture

Dodoma, Tanzania 

FORMER Prime Minister of the United Republic of Tanzania Hon. Mizengo Peter Pinda, has commended the Tanzania Organic Agriculture Movement (TOAM) for its efforts in promoting Organic Agriculture, saying it is high time the government considers the issue of organic agriculture more seriously.

Hon. Pinda made the remarks recently in Zuzu suburb of Dodoma, when TOAM Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Jordan Gama, paid a courtesy call on him to familiarize himself with the former premier’s farming activities following his recent announcement to the general public that he grows everything in an organic system.

“I thank you Mr. Gama for visiting my farm here at Zuzu. I have my residence here, as I am trying to the best of my knowledge to practice organic agriculture too. I am doing this because I need to harvest, and more importantly, eat safe food while protecting the environment and biodiversity,” stated Hon. Pinda.

According to him, he opted to grow crops in an organic system from the very beginning and he enjoys a lot practicing it. Livestock keeping is an added activity that provides him with animal manure for his farm. 

Previously, Hon. Pinda used to get animal manure from his neighbours for free, but now they charge him 35,000 Shillings per seven tonnes of the organic fertilizer.

He pointed out that the use of animal manure doubles productivity but also enhances crops to be drought resistant as they saturate soil and coin moisture.

The ex-premier called upon all civil servants within and across the world to build an attitude of investing in agriculture because farming has a tendency of shielding anybody who wants to live a decent life after retirement.

On his part, the TOAM CEO, Mr. Gama told Hon. Pinda that he was very much motivated to visit the farm after seeing his efforts, specifically by trying to farm through organic systems, as publicized in the local media. 

“You have been a good example to retired servants. We will work with you in promoting this kind of agriculture so that the general public adapt organic agriculture system in their daily lives. It is my hope that this visit opens the new era in an effort to sustain and develop organic agriculture in Tanzania,” said Gama. 

“We have witnessed that this area is dreadfully dry, some of the crops despite being irrigated might not have performed to their best. Please, allow us to introduce some plants that may contribute to soil fertility in order for the crops to grow on form. We see that this farm is very essential for training farmers of all cadres,” said the TOAM chief. 

Mr. Gama pointed out that lately there has been a turn-around from conventional to organic agriculture in several parts of the world, but most interestingly is the restrictions of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) by the Germany government which, throws its weight behind  conservation initiatives that backs organic agriculture.

Remarking on GMO, Hon. Pinda said while he was in the government, they allowed GMOs research in order to be satisfied on safety and the importance of the said technology. This was so because there have been mixed feelings all over the world about organic farming before it was adopted.

Hon. Mizengo Peter Pinda showing a location of his farm (not seen in this photo) to Mr. Jordan Gama, TOAM CEO and AfrONet President who visited him for exchange visit about organic agriculture.  

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