Organic agriculture has the potential to improve both crop yields and incomes of smallholder farms in sub-Saharan Africa substantially – this is shown in a unique collaborative study from the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL) and its partners that has just been published in the renowned journal Global Environmental Change. This study further demonstrates that in real smallholder farm setting, the potential mentioned is difficult to exploit fully and requires sound implementation.
- The now published study delivers new scientific evidence on the potential of organic agriculture and assesses different kinds of organic agriculture in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) in different real farm settings.
- It has enough sample size (1645 farms), detailed data over a two-year time horizon and a scientifically sound comparison with a comparable conventional control group.
- This study clearly showed how different forms of organic agriculture performed in different real farm settings in SSA and to what extent they can contribute to sustainable development.
- In conclusion, organic agriculture has the potential to substantially boost productivity and farm incomes while contributing to sustainable development in Africa if implemented well.
- But organic agriculture is certainly not a silver bullet for solving food insecurity issues in SSA. In particular, the implementation of organic agriculture in smallholder settings is complex and might fail if farmers don’t have the capacities to implement good organic management practices like crop rotations, compost making, mixed cropping systems.
- This study revealed the many different forms of organic agriculture practices in sub Sahara Africa and will help to develop policies and targeted support for sustainable agriculture and food security in SSA.
- David Bautze. Department of International Cooperation FiBL
- Christian Schader FiBL Head Sustainability Assessment · Forschungsinstitut für biologischen Landbau (FiBL)
- David Amudavi, Director of Biovision Africa Trust (BvAT)
- Gabor Figecsky, IFOAM Organics International
- Food Policy Forum for Change + survey to sign up: Food Policy Forum for Change: interactive network, primarily driven by state and regional policy makers to exchange about successful approaches, innovative policy instruments, and evidence to achieve sustainable food systems.
- Link to the scientific publication (30 August) How is organic farming performing agronomically and economically in sub-Saharan Africa?
- IFOAM (2017) Public Support to Organic Agriculture - Version adapted for Sub-Saharan African countries 156 p.
This report is an adapted version of the general report entitled “Guidelines for public support to organic agriculture”. This version has been simplified and summarized to fit the particular needs of Sub-Saharan African countries. Measures not particularly relevant to the current context of those countries have been removed from the report. The complete original report is available on the IFOAM- Organics International website, in the section of the Global Toolkit on Public Support to Organic Agriculture.
- ProEcoAfrica: Productivity, Profitability and Sustainability of Organic and Conventional Faming Systems in Sub-Saharan Africa: Comparative analyses (2013 – 2021)