According to the studies by IFOAM and the Swiss Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL), 38 African countries are engaged in certified organic agriculture.
Currently, more than 1 million hectares of land is certified organic. This land is managed by at least 530,000 farms. The agricultural land is mainly used for permanent crops, principally cash crops such as coffee, olives, and cocoa. The leading country in terms of organically managed agricultural land is Uganda with 228,419 hectares.
However, when organically managed land is measured as a percentage of each country’s agricultural area, Sao Tome and Prince rank highest with 7.9 percent.
Uganda (188,625 farms) has the largest number of organic farms followed by Ethiopia (more than 123,062 farms) and Tanzania (85,366 farms).
In addition to the one million of certified organic agricultural land, 16.4 million hectares of land are certified as bee keeping, forest and wild collection areas. The largest bee keeping areas are in Cameroon (6 million hectares). The largest wild collection areas are in Namibia (3.0 million hectares) and Morocco (618,000 hectares). Medicinal plants like devil’s claw (Harpagophytum procumbens) play the most important role.
In addition to certified Organic Agriculture covered by this survey, it should be noted that much organic production is also taking place in Africa without certification. There are a large numbers of African organic farmers for whom formal certification does not have any advantages. This is true for farmers who practice subsistence farming for the food security of their families or their community. Unfortunately, there are no official statistics to quote on this type of organic production.