|October 2006, Vol.1, no.5|
- Recent Developments in the AOSC
- Overview of the AOSC’s Activities
- Information Technology Exposure for Organic Agricultural Producers and Exporters in Ghana
- The Equator Initiative calls for Nominations for the Equator Prize 2006
- IFOAM Establishes Contact Points in Africa
- Ms. Georgina A. Koomson’s Nomination for the Spirit of Organic Award 2006
- Natural & Organic Products Exhibition, South Africa, 20-22 October 2006
- Update on the FAO project “Organic and Fair-Trade Exports from Africa”
1. Recent Developments in the AOSC
| ||First, we want to apologize for the long delay since the last issue of Africa Organic News was sent to you in April. The recent months have been quite hectic for the Africa Organic Service Center (AOSC), which is now undergoing an important change. Chido Makunike, who has been working for IFOAM as the Africa Organic Service Center coordinator for the last year, is leaving IFOAM. By mutual agreement between IFOAM and Chido his service ended at the end of September. Chido made the necessary arrangements to close the office in Senegal. The Africa Organic Service Center (AOSC) will, however, continue to provide a service to the African organic movement, but will be relocated to the IFOAM Head Office in Bonn, Germany. As an interim solution, the tasks of the AOSC are being shared between IFOAM’s International Projects Department and a local consultant for IFOAM in East Africa, Patricia Wangong'u. IFOAM is in the process of recruiting a new AOSC coordinator to operate from the IFOAM Head Office. In the meantime, please send all AOSC-related communications, questions and Africa Newsletter contributions to the following address: firstname.lastname@example.org |
2. Overview of the AOSC’s Activities
| ||IFOAM has realized that the Africa Organic Service Center’s role and responsibilities are not always well understood. We would like to take this opportunity to provide the African movement and our other partners some clarification in this regard. First of all, we have realized that the name of the Africa Organic Service Center itself suggests something that does not reflect the true nature of the AOSC. IFOAM is therefore considering changing the name of its Africa Office in the near future, so as to better represent its function.|
In short, the 4 pillars that guide the work of the Africa Office are:
These pillars are rather broad and ambitious, and the AOSC action plan focuses on targeted activities within each of these pillars. Essentially, the AOSC provides a platform for information exchange and networking on issues relevant to the organic sector in Africa. IFOAM has been able to staff the AOSC with one coordinator thanks to institutional support from Hivos (Netherlands).
- Institutionalizing the organic sector in Africa,
- Promoting Organic Agriculture as a development option for Africa,
- Contribute to market and standards development in Africa, and
- Fostering a supportive policy framework for the development of Organic Agriculture in Africa
Given that the support received from Hivos is limited, the AOSC, which functions as an IFOAM office in Africa, is focusing on strengthening communication and information flow within the organic movement in Africa. This is done through several activities. A website will be created and integrated into the IFOAM website. The website will provide useful general information on the organic movement in Africa, and will host online forums for discussion. The AOSC also publishes the Africa Organic News electronic newsletter, which is distributed freely to any persons who asks for it. The AOSC also establishes Contact Points across Africa, with the aim of strengthening information flow between IFOAM and the African organic movements in the different countries. All of these activities are in accordance with donor expectations, as the AOSC is a funded project that needs to fulfill the proposal agreed upon with the donor during the funding period. As a result, the AOSC will not be able to answer all requests addressed to its coordinator, nor is it able to provide funding to organic initiatives in Africa.
The AOSC is also not able nor designed to “represent” the Africa Organic movement as such and is not intended to lead its path or determine its future. It is up to the African movement to organize itself and to speak with one voice through a self-organized structure if they wish to do so. However, the AOSC strongly needs the involvement of the African organic movement to function, and is happy to provide a platform for information exchange and networking to all organic stakeholders in Africa. It is IFOAM’s objective that the AOSC, through its targeted activities, will provide significant support to the African organic sector and will facilitate its institutionalization and the recognition of Organic Agriculture as a valid development option within African policy frameworks.
If you wish to contribute, please contact the AOSC coordinator at email@example.com.
3. Information Technology Exposure for Organic Agricultural Producers and Exporters in Ghana
| ||The Geneva-based International Trade Centre of the UN (ITC) has been interacting with the Ghanaian Organic Agricultural and medicinal plant producers and exporters through the Ghana Organic Agriculture Network (GOAN) since June 2006. The main aim of the interaction is to enhance the export- trade performance of Ghanaian producers and exporters of organic and medicinal plant products through the use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT), under the project road map Web Marketing Development Programme (WMDP) for the Certified Organic and medicinal plant sector of Ghana. Two consecutive workshops for 30 participants have been organized this far. The first workshop was on the role of the Internet in export marketing of organic and natural products in Ghana and the second workshop was on Web-based marketing and information sourcing. The two workshops took place on the 6th to 8th of June and 4th to 6th of September 2006 respectively.
These two workshops have unearthed organic agricultural producers and exporters’ desire for the use of Internet and available information tools to improve exports and marketing of organic agricultural products. The hands-on impact in enhancing marketing performance of 30 organic agricultural players is very laudable and needs to be replicated in other parts of the sub-region. It is expected that the derived impact will be reflected in the turn-over and profit margins of the Organic Agriculture players. This expectation will go a long way to positively impact the growth of Organic Agriculture in the sub-region. For more information on the project, contact Samuel Adimado at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
4. The Equator Initiative calls for Nominations for the Equator Prize 2006
| ||The Equator Initiative launches the internationally renowned Equator Prize 2006 to honor initiatives for their achievement in reducing poverty through biodiversity conservation. |
Prize winners receive international recognition for their work and an opportunity to help shape international policy and practice in the field, as well as a monetary award of US$30,000 each. Adding to the excitement of the Equator Prize 2006, one finalist will be selected as recipient of a Pride campaign, supplied by international conservation nonprofit and new Equator Initiative partner Rare. To nominate oneself or other local initiatives for the Equator Prize, organizations should visit the Website www.equatorinitiative.org. The deadline for applications is the 31 October 2006.
5. IFOAM Establishes Contact Points in Africa
| ||To help institutionalization of the organic sector in Africa and to support the communication of the Africa Organic Service Center, IFOAM is establishing Contact Points across Sub-Saharan Africa. Contact Points are national movements or regional networks involved in Organic Agriculture who commit to play an important role in strengthening information flow between IFOAM and the national or regional organic movements in Africa and vice-versa. Contact Points will provide the AOSC with inputs for the Africa newsletter and highlight important organic events in their region. Occasionally, Contact Points may also represent IFOAM in specific events and perform lobby and advocacy work in coordination with the IFOAM Head Office. A call for Contact Points has been open since August and IFOAM is still reviewing incoming applications. Two Contact Points have been formally established; Samuel Adimado from GOAN (Ghana Organic Agriculture Movement) and Marjorie Chonya from the regional desk of PELUM in Zambia have been chosen to fulfill this function. IFOAM is planning on establishing several other contact points in Africa in the coming months. For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.|
6. Ms. Georgina A. Koomson’s Nomination for the Spirit of Organic Award 2006
| ||The International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) has nominated Ms. Georgina A. Koomson, a Ghanaian farmer and owner of IDEAL Providence Farms, as the global winner of the Spirit of Organic Award 2006. The award was presented on Wednesday 4th October 2006 by New Hope Natural Media, USA.|
In 1998 Ms Georgina A. Koomson established and registered a company called Ideal Providence Farms, which is currently managing two farms of a total of 85 acres producing essential tropical fruits. The company is also into organic wild collection where about 150 rural women in Northern Ghana collect shea nuts which are processed into shea butter for export to European and other markets. Ideal Providence Farms, a member of IFOAM and GOAN, was selected for the Spirit of Organic Award 2006, based on Ms. Georgina Koomson’s efforts to create a successful organic business from a humble beginning. Ideal Providence Farms currently has about 150 rural women and their families depending on the company for a living. Ideal Providence is now the biggest organic shea butter exporter from Ghana. This recognition from the international partners and stakeholders in Organic Agriculture is therefore a motivational push to encourage businesses in Sub-Saharan Africa to invest in Organic Agriculture production.
7. Natural & Organic Products Exhibition, South Africa, 20-22 October 2006
| ||The growth of the South African organic industry over the past few years has been phenomenal. In this context, the Natural and Organic Products Exhibition’s role has developed to facilitate business to business networking and assist the continued growth of the industry in this way. The exhibition will have numerous speakers from Brazil, Cuba, Egypt, India, Kenya and Uganda lined up to share their experiences of organic, at the level of job creation and sustainable development. The exhibition will be showcasing the top new natural and organic products for 2007 from all over the world. Natural & Organic Products Exhibition targets a wide audience including interested conventional farmers, big agri-business and government. This year’s exhibition will take place in Gallagher Estate, Johannesburg, South Africa, from the 20th to the 22nd of October. For more information on the event, please visit http://www.naturalandorganic.co.za/no/index.asp.|
8. Update on the FAO project “Organic and Fair-Trade Exports from Africa”
| ||This project is funded by the German government. The project provides technical assistance to producers to obtain certification and to export organic and/or fair-trade labeled products. A glimpse of this year’s activities:
In Sierra Leone, Kpeya Agriculture Enterprise properly registered its 700 members and started Farmer Field Schools.
The representative of the Unité Agropastorale du Cameroun (UNAPAC), a pineapple exporting association, attended BioFach and paid a visit to the importer in France. UNAPAC has started the fair-trade certification process and established an organic demonstration plot.
In Burkina Faso, Burkinature, the exporter of organic fair-trade mangos organized training for the harvesting and packing teams. For the Club des Productrices de Beurre de Karité Biologique, the project organized a refresher training on organic standards.
In Ghana, Weija Agriculture Development Ltd. a tropical fruits exporter, has renovated its packing facilities. Agro Eco has helped to improve the Internal Control System and provides training for the producer association supplying pineapples to WAD.
Furthermore, a manual on import requirements and certification has been produced for producers and exporters from West Africa (French & English). Copies may be requested from: Cora.Dankers@fao.org (please indicate language).
This newsletter is provided to you by IFOAM and its Africa Organic Service Center. For feedbacks, contributions or to subscribe or unsubscribe to the newsletter, please contact email@example.com
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