|November 2006, Vol.1, no.6|
- Harmonization of the East African Organic Standards - Regional Cooperation for Organic Standards and Certification capacity in East Africa (OSEA)
- OPPAZ hosts a smallholder market access workshop
- The IFOAM Africa Office launches its website
- German company seeks organic products from Africa
- Upcoming Events
1. Harmonization of the East African Organic Standards - Regional Cooperation for Organic Standards and Certification capacity in East Africa (OSEA)
| ||The three East African Countries, Kenya, Uganda & Tanzania have been meeting under the auspices of the Regional Cooperation for Organic Standards and Certification capacity in East Africa (OSEA) facilitated by the three National Organic Movements. Namely, the Kenya Organic Agriculture Movement (KOAN), the National Organic Agriculture Movement of Uganda (NOGAMU) and the Tanzania Organic Agriculture Movement (TOAM) have been discussing the harmonization of the organic standards in the region at a national and regional level. Each of the three countries has a National organic standard in place, but are coming to realize the benefits that can be accrued in the long term through the establishment of a regional standard. Working as a block bears certain advantages that cannot be achieved single-handedly. Among other things, the regional standard will aid in promotion of organic products, and it can be used as a platform for negotiation for equivalence with other governments worldwide. It will also allow a unified input to the IFOAM and Codex Standards, will foster further cooperation among the states and enhance domestic and regional trade. The standard can also be used for self-claim, PGS or certification. It is in the spirit of the East African Community (EAC) that the three governments have played a key role in the formulation of the standards through the specific country bureaus. These are the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KBS), Uganda Bureau of Standards (UBS) and Tanzania Bureau of Standards. It must however be noted that this is a private sector initiative and that governments participate as stakeholders in the process.
The first meeting towards the harmonization process was held in Kampala, Uganda on October 20 2005, where the Regional Standard Technical Working Group (RSTWG) was formed. The working group has been meeting biannually to reflect upon outcomes of the National meetings where the standards are discussed by each country. A first and second draft were circulated widely for comment and regional inputs will be incorporated at the third RSTWG meeting to be held in Nairobi, Kenya in December 2006. Afterwards, the standard will be ready for field testing to be carried out in Uganda. Thereafter a final draft and results of the testing will be incorporated into the final standards and discussed before the standards can be implemented, which is scheduled for mid-2007. UNEP, UNCTAD-CBTF & IFOAM have played a key role in facilitating this whole process by co-financing the meetings and providing consultants and experts who have worked together with the East African Countries. Without them this process would not be achieved as concisely as it has and their support and insurmountable knowledge has gone a long way in making the regional standard a reality.
2. OPPAZ hosts a smallholder market access workshop
| ||The Organic Producers and Processors Association of Zambia (OPPAZ), in cooperation with HIVOS (International Humanist Institute for Cooperation with Developing Countries), organized a regional workshop from October 10-12 2006 with the theme Smallholder Access to the growing Organic and Natural Product Niche Markets through Certification and Quality Management Procedures. The workshop provided an opportunity for participants to gain an understanding of the opportunities, challenges and procedures for access to these markets. Some of the market issues raised included what, where and who benefits, market expectations, tendencies and procedures for smallholder access to niche markets. Fair trade (including Fair Trade Standards Development for Non Timber Forest Products), forest stewardship, biotrade, smallholder perspectives on market access requirements and Internal Quality Management were also covered.
Fairtrade’s Timothy Ngom and Simon Mawele from the Mpongwe organics cooperative society admitted being very proud to be associated with fair-trade, but nonetheless noted that information about fairtrade is not readily available to those without internet access. It has also been a challenge to meet volume demands on fairtrade goods as they are a growing organization. Extensive documentation and procedures and lengthy conversion periods (annuals 2yrs Perennials 3 yrs) pose a challenge for their cooperative. Other challenges noted included poor roads, farmer geographical locations being too far apart, inadequately trained and committed staff and low initial organic yields. Workshop participants were from Zimbabwe, Malawi, South Africa, Mozambique, Namibia, Uganda, Germany and Zambia.
3. The IFOAM Africa Office launches its website
| ||As part of its activities to institutionalize the organic sector in Africa and to facilitate information flow within the African Organic movement, the IFOAM Africa Office recently launched its website at http://www.ifoam.org/about_ifoam/around_world/africa.html. The website is totally dedicated to the topic of organic agriculture in Africa and is integrated into the official IFOAM website. It provides useful and up-to-date information to African organic stakeholders, such as:
- An explanation of the role of the IFOAM Africa Office.
- The most recent and also archived issues of the newsletter Africa Organic News in both French and English.
- An overview of and links to existing organic movements in Africa and to on-going regional organic projects on the continent.
- Links to existing organic market surveys relevant to the marketing of African produce.
- Links to available virtual marketplaces for African organic produce.
- An overview of IFOAM Contact Points in Africa and links to their organizations.
- Links to IFOAM publications about organic agriculture in Africa, etc.
In the near future, the website will also host discussion forums open to the broad public on topics of relevance to Organic Agriculture in Africa. If you wish to contribute to the development of the website by sharing your ideas or proposing links to your project, publication, etc, then please contact email@example.com.
4. German company seeks organic products from Africa
| ||The following company is in search of fair trade and organic products, particularly: cacao, coffee, fruits, vanilla and all sorts of spices.
Their contact information has been included below. They speak English, French and German.
Franz Joseph Witte
Rohstoffagentur Witte & Partner
Tel + 49 251 1627837
Fax + 49 251 2007685
5. Upcoming Events
| ||There will be an organic standard forum in Nairobi on 13th December at the Stanley Hotel. |
The objectives of the Standards Forum are:
- to give participants a better understanding of the international context for organic standards, certification and regulations
- to present the East African Organic Standard for regional stakeholders, international participants and the public
- to give invited international guests an understanding of the perspectives from East Africa
Participants are decision makers in the area of agriculture, trade and standardization, leaders in the organic sector in Africa and regional and international organizations active in East Africa.
Participation: Attendance is by invitation and there is no funding available for travel cost.
Participation in the Forum is free including the organic buffet dinner for selected participants.
For those who would like to be considered, please apply by sending your full Name, the name of your organization, telephone number and email address to firstname.lastname@example.org not later than 12 November 2006.
NB: Confirmation for participation will be sent no later than 1 December 2006.
In Nairobi Kenya:
OSEA Advisory Committee Meeting 10 & 16 December 2006
IFOAM Standards Committee Meeting 9 -11 December 2006
Policy Workshop 11 December 2006
The Regional Standards Working Group 14 & 15 December 2006
Africa Organic Advisory Committee 12 December 2006
Head Office Contact Information
53113 Bonn, Germany
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