An official of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), Dr Henrique Pacini, yesterday said that dealing in organic agricultural products could increase income of rural communities.
Pacini made this statement at the third African Organic Conference holding at Sheraton Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos from October 5 to October 9.
He said that one of the goals in promoting organic products in Africa was to ensure an improved environmental sustainability.
“UNCTAD has been working in developing organic market since 2004 because organic products support healthy nutrition and lifestyle,” he said.
The official said that UNCTAD worked at developing linkages between organic agriculture and tourism industries.
Pacini said that a case study of two African countries, Loas and Tanzania, had shown that a large share of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) comes from agriculture.
Mr Musa Muwanga, Chief Executive Officer, National Organic Agriculture Movement of Uganda (NOGAMU), said that agriculture was the backbone of most African countries.
“Agriculture is the primary activity of more than 60 per cent of the population in Africa accounting for more than 30 per cent of the GDP in many sub-Sahara countries.
“Agriculture’s ability to generate income for the poor, particularly women, is more important for food security than the ability to increase local food supplies,” he said.
Muwanga said that organic farming and trade was a successful tool in reducing the rate of poverty in Africa.
He, however, said that the major challenge in sustainable organic agriculture was that small holder farmers and the value chain were not mobilised and organised.
Muwanga said it was, therefore, expedient to strengthen the institutional capacity of smallholder farmers association and network for the development of agriculture in Africa.
Miss Kate Kibara, the Managing Director of Kates Organic Limited and Rejuvenate, Kenya, spoke on the potential for youth entrepreneurial development in ecological organic agriculture.
“Over 40 per cent of Africa’s population is made up of youths and most of the unemployed people are young people.
“There has been growing social problems in many African countries among the youths; they, however, have the potential to engage in innovation,” she said.
– Anthony Awunor