Making organic agriculture part of the African development agenda
This week, Zambia will host the 2nd African Organic Conference. Over 300 delegates from 40 countries are expected to participate at the event in Lusaka from 2-4 May 2012. Representatives from governments, inter-governmental institutions, UN agencies, NGOs, private sector, universities and research institutions will attend the conference, with the aim of mainstreaming organic agriculture into the African development agenda.
In particular, the conference will provide evidence on the benefits of organic agriculture and its potential to address the challenges and needs in Africa. Participants will hear from experts on successful organic agriculture related projects and studies from all over Africa; experiences in the marketing and trade of organic products; and successful initiatives and case studies in public policy, research and sector development. At its conclusion, the conference will propose ways ahead for organic agriculture to reach its full potential and contribute to the African agriculture and development agenda.
The conference is being organized by the Organic Producers and Processors Association of Zambia (OPPAZ), in cooperation with the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock of Zambia, UNCTAD and Grow Organic Africa, under the auspice of the African Union and the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM). The International Trade Centre has provided technical assistance to the conference organizers.
ITC is currently running a pilot project in Zambia with the aim of improving the competitiveness of Zambians exporting products in the sustainability segments of the food and natural products market, including organic agriculture. The project has involved training Zambian agri-export companies in partnership with the Zambia Development Agency and Kasisi Agricultural Training Centre. In total 17 companies and 9 organizations were trained on at least one of the following topics: Organic Production, Processing, Certification, and Marketing. In parallel to these trainings, ITC is also providing targeted support to individual SMEs in organic market development. Working with both the companies and the small-scale producers which supply them, ITC is enabling Zambian exporters to produce, certify and market organic products, and facilitating linkages with international buyers, ultimately increasing these companies’ competitiveness in premium organic markets.