Farmers call for recognition of organic farming

Members of the Coalition For the Advance of Organic Farming (CAOF) in the Upper East Region have appealed to the government to formulate a policy backing organic farming in the country.

The members of COAF, who made the appeal at a stakeholders’ meeting in Bolgatanga on Thursday, said Kenya had a policy backing organic farming and its produce and that had promoted organic farming.

Mr Richard Ananga, Consultant and Service Provider of Business Sector Advocacy Challenge Fund (BUSAC), presenting research findings carried out by BUSAC, said government agencies seemed not to attach much importance to the promotion of organic farming.

The study revealed that most farmers undertook various organic farming practices in one way or the other but lacked continuous organic agriculture extension advisory service and organic inputs.

“The  challenges of organic farming also include lack of organic inputs, lack of extension services, no certification, no premium prices, lack of technical know-how and the aggressive marketing strategies of conventional input dealers”, he said.

Mr Ananga said advice on organic farming largely came from college farmers and NGO field officers and that meant a lot still remained to be done by the government in terms of extension advice to farmers in general and organic farmers in particular.

Mr Ananga said the research revealed that crops that were produced organically include various indigenous and exotic fruits, fruit and leafy vegetables, onions, cereals, water melon, grain legumes, and sweet potato and land area for the production of those crops ranged mostly from half a hectare to three hectares.

He said organic produce was not recognized as organic produce and as a result they did not attract any premium prices and had to compete with other produce on the main market, thus making the farmers not to realize the full potential of their business.

The research recommended that it was also important that government ensured that measures were put in place to facilitate the processes of organic certification and promote a premium price regime for organic produce.

It also called for a National Organic Standard and Certification Authority (NOSCA) along the lines of Internally Controlled Systems (ICS) for each region or production zone.

Source: GNA

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