“We don’t want to be activists, we want make the scientific, economic and environmental case for organic,” a leading figure in Africa’s organic farming movement told an audience at last week’s Biofach Congress in Nuremberg.
Dr. David M. Amudavi, executive director of the Nairobi, Kenya-headquartered Biovision Africa Trust, told a session on global trends in organic that while conventional agriculture remained the major focus across the continent, more interest was now being shown in organic.
“The space for organic has historically been limited, but research has demonstrated very effectively that organic farming can contribute to increased yields and lower cost of inputs of production,” Amudavi said. He added that “important new initiatives|” were also demonstrating organic “important contribution to climate change mitigation”.
Amudavi said that the amount of organic farming in Africa remains modest. Organic land in the 10 countries on the continent with the highest amount of organic farming totals around 2 million hectares, world by 789,000 producers (with Tunisia, Tanzania, Uganda, Ethiopia and Keyna taking the top five positions).
Amudavi says the that more research and improved data capture is needed. “We need the type of research effort that made the Green Revolution happen. We don’t want to be activists – we want to present the research evidence, the economic argument for organic. If the case is strong and supported by research we are less vulnerable to criticism. We need to get beyond the question that policy-makers so often ask, ‘can organic feed the continent?’.”