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Mar 9, 2010

German Grant Backs African Organic Export Drive

The FAO Media Center reports that a $2.4 million German grant is now helping the West African farmers qualify for organic produce certification and other related matters including supply chain from production, harvesting and packaging to certification and marketing.

The German grant was used to underwrite a FAO program that assists African farmers with organic certification standards that are necessary for organic exports.  In addition to adding with certification, these funds helped farmers during the crucial period when they were converting from convention to organic farming but had not yet met standards to receive the organic label that  leads to high profits for their produce. 

The FAO notes that this German grant was used to help 5,000 farmers in Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ghana, Senegal and Sierra Leone.  The project also supported national networks of organic farmers, exporters and fair-trade organizations, including the Fédération Nationale de l'Agriculture Biologique (FENAB) in Senegal.

The FAO's Trade Economist Pascal Liu discussed the success of the project noting that, "[s]ome farmer groups had never exported products before, at best they offered them to the local market at a low price. Most of them had a very low level of institutional capability, technical capacity and financial resources ... Now most of the groups have legal status, meet regularly, keep records and are now made up of ‘real members' who pay dues."  According to the project's manager, farmer groups are now better able to negotiate contracts and find export markets for their produce. 

For more see: FAO Media Center, African Organic Export Drive, African Farmers Take Advantage of Niche Sectors on International Markets, 9 March 2010.

Photo Credit: FAO Media Center

About Margaret

CEO and Curator (The Food Museum) | Managing Director and Chief Editor (GR2 Global LLC) | Educator (UCLA PhD) | Researching and writing on global food issues, nutrition and health, sustainability, history (preservation), conservation (natural resources), and design.
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