Highlights of the AU led Ecological Organic Agriculture Initiative (EOA-I)

Dr. David Amudavi, the Director of Biovision Africa Trust talks about the the growth and achievements the EOA has made since its inception.

The EOA is an initiative emanating from the African Heads of State and Government decision on organic agriculture in Africa against the background of inadequacy and lack of sustainability in Agriculture and food security systems on the continent. The African continent is food insecure and threats from excessive external-input based agricultural practices on agroecosystems are becoming more and more evident.

What is not consensually agreed upon is how best to slow or reverse the trend. The EOA initiative is one of the initiatives that is rethinking and changing course of how we should manage our agriculture and food production systems to match the growing demand for food while avoiding to mortgage the potential of our natural resources for quick fixes.

Dr. David Amudavi, BvAT Director

After several meetings, the EOA initiative has became a reality. Following the famous small workshop by a few NGOs held in May 2011 in Thika, a small industrial town to the north of Nairobi, an African Organic Action Plan was developed seeking to mainstream the initiative into national agricultural production systems by 2025. The initiative embraces holistic approaches that sustain the health of ecosystems relying on functional natural cycles, rather than the use of expensive synthetic inputs adversarial to our total health (human, animal, plant and environmental).

 

The Plan is anchored on six interrelated pillars:-

  1. Research, training and extension,
  2. Information and communication,
  3. Value chain and market development,
  4. Networking and partnership,
  5. Policy and programme development, and 
  6. Institutional capacity development.

The development of the EOA strategic Plan (2015-2025) has been realized following extensive discussions and consultations among various stakeholders and partners in Africa and beyond. The strategy is aligned with the AU-Department of Rural Economy and Agriculture (DREA) agenda, the Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Plan (CAADP) Results framework, the Malabo declaration and Agenda 2063, all aiming to drive nationally tailored policies and programmes on the continent to ensure African people live quality, healthy and well nourished lives. The strategy serves as a guideline in mainstreaming the EOA Initiative in agriculture across policy instruments in research, training and extension; information and communication; value chain and market development; and institutional capacity development. Structures and strategies of implementation at various levels (national, regional and continental) are being established.   

There are areas of similarities between EOA and Agro-ecology. Both are driven by science, traditional knowledge and application, and innovation. They require our deep understanding of their common contribution to production, productivity, stability, resilience and sustainability of agroecosystems and livelihood improvement of producers and consumers. Both require strengthening scaling-up through appropriate policies, plans and programs. We expect this to lead to stable and sustainable food production systems of the African people with fewer or no negative environmental and social impacts.

Biovision Africa Trust (BvAT) is one of the leading civil society organizations supporting the EOA agenda in Africa. Founded in June 2009 by the Biovision Foundation for ecological development in Switzerland and supported by the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE) in Nairobi, BvAT is a not-for-profit organization established under Kenya Laws. The Trust’s goal is to alleviate poverty and improve the livelihoods of smallholder farmers in Kenya and other African countries through bridging the gap between research and application, with a strategic focus to translate, package and disseminate information related to human, animal, plant and environmental health. Having started in East Africa (Kenya and Tanzania) in 2011, the Trust has slowly increased its presence in seven more countries (Ethiopia, Uganda, Nigeria, Benin, Zambia, Mali and Senegal), working through partners to promote EOA.

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