More than half of all people living on the African continent base their livelihood on agriculture, yet a fifth of the population is malnourished. Compared with the rest of the world, this is extremely high. At the same time, our planet’s boundaries in terms of the exploitation of its raw materials have already been exceeded in some places.
Hence, the challenge is to promote food systems that both create food security and respect the Earth’s environmental limits. Organic agriculture can help achieve this. Currently, only 0.2 per cent of agricultural land in Africa is dedicated to organic farming. An important reason for this is the limited knowledge of how organic products are produced, processed and marketed. The Knowledge Centre for Organic Agriculture (KCOA) works towards closing these knowledge gaps.
Knowledge hubs in all five regions of Africa are disseminating information on organic agriculture. This knowledge is tailored to the needs of the different target groups. The hubs also provide support for shaping a continental network connecting important protagonists from the organic sector of all regions with each other.
Regional knowledge hubs are designed to fill the knowledge gaps hindering large-scale expansion of organic agriculture.
The project is coordinated from Germany. Its measures are being implemented in the five regions of Africa in cooperation with the following non-governmental organisations (NGOs):
- Eastern Africa: Biovision Africa Trust
- Southern Africa: Sustainability Institute
- West Africa: Enda Pronat, FENAB & Agrecol Afrique
- North Africa: SEKEM
- Central Africa: selection process ongoing
The project supports the NGOs to develop technical and methodological knowledge on organic production, processing and marketing. Together they create information products focusing on small-scale farming practices, education, advice, and scientific knowledge. Through trainings, pilot farms, a digital knowledge plattform as well as communication on the radio or in cinemas, the project passes on this knowledge to multipliers, such as associations, advisors, trainers, producers, processors, retailers and consumers.
For specific areas of expertise, the project works together with the following international organisations:
- FiBL (research institute in organic agriculture), in order to support the implementing NGOs in defining how to collect and validate knowledge.
- Access Agriculture (NGO specialised in farmer-to-farmer training videos in agroecology and organic agriculture), for the translation of farmer-to-farmer training videos into local languages and their promotion.
- IFOAM (global umbrella organisation for the organic agriculture movement) for trainings on organic agriculture.
The project also promotes networking between key actors in production, processing and marketing along selected value chains, focusing on efforts to improve access to markets via alternative certification methods.
It is part of the special initiative "ONE WORLD No Hunger" of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).
Last update: January 2021