As the Intercontinental Network for Organic Farmers’ Organisations (INOFO) continues to expand its presence across the globe, it is both gratifying and encouraging to receive positive feedback not only from the farmers but also from a myriad of stakeholders who are actively contributing to the advancement of organic agriculture and agroecology.
In a recent study seeking to garner the insights and opinions of different stakeholders on how to strengthen the organised organic agricultural sector in Africa through INOFO, it was observed that a resounding consensus emerged. A remarkable 80% of participants, hailing from Eastern, Western, Southern, and Central Africa, agreed to establish a Pan African Network of Organic Farmer Organisations (OFOs).
The study was an analysis on the state of organisation of the organic sector in Africa and how to strengthen the organised organic agricultural sector through INOFO. The findings of this study have yielded valuable insights!
The main objectives of the study were to identify challenges faced by organic farmers’ organisations and explore their potential contributions to strengthening the organic agricultural sector.
One of the ways to gather this information was through conducting workshops. For instance, during a field visit associated with a capacity-building workshop on Participatory Guarantee Systems (PGS) development that was organised by Biovision Africa Trust (BvAT), Nakiggwe Josephine, a member of the grassroots Wakiso Organic Farmers’ Organisation (WOFA), emphasised the role of organic farming in ensuring health and safety for herself and her community.
In sharing, Josephine and many other farmers provided valuable contributions that informed the challenges and opportunities that the study set out to identify.
Challenges and chances for collaborations
The study revealed challenges in the organic agriculture sector, including limited market access, knowledge gaps, and financial constraints. It also unveiled diverse organisational structures within OFOs, with cooperatives slightly outnumbering other types. Most OFOs are registered, hinting at potential mainstreaming of organic agriculture in the future. Non-OFO stakeholders, mainly engaged in existing movements, expressed interest in a Pan African Network, which the study supports thus highlighting the significance of collaboration and anticipating benefits such as resource mobilisation and policy influence.
The means that both OFOs and non-OFO stakeholders share common interests in strengthening the organic sector in Africa. The establishment of a Pan-African Network is seen as a solution to address challenges and align priorities. Overall, the findings highlight a collective commitment to the future of organic agriculture in Africa through collaborative efforts and the establishment of a unified network.