Biofach, the world’s largest trade fair for organic agricultural products, will at the 2008 show have a special Africa-themed group of exhibition stands.
Over the years, Biofach has established itself as a meeting place for those involved in organics, including traders, exporters, researchers and many others. The African Pavilion will bring together the more than 50 African exhibitors who are expected to participate, making it easy for those interested in the state of organic agriculture on the continent to view the range of developments in a one-stop venue. It will also offer an opportunity for exhibitors to exchange information and contacts with relevant businesses from all over the world.
Annually held in Nuremberg, Germany, the 2008 edition will take place from February 21st to 24th. In addition to the African Pavilion, there will be a day-long symposium on 23rd February to highlight the status of organics in Africa. Participants will hear about the opportunities for, and the challenges of organic trade and development.
Among issues to be discussed are the impact of organic agriculture on smallholder farmers, as well as what is being done to promote the sector by governments, the private sector and organizations involved in development work. A panel of policy and opinion-makers will discuss the potential of organic agriculture to help achieve the U.N. Millennium Development Goals.
The Africa sub-theme of Biofach2008 comes at a time when increasing numbers of African horticultural producers, large and small scale, are interested in accessing the price premiums the export organic market offers over the prices in currently small, poorly developed local markets. Those attractive premiums are widely seen as being worth overcoming the considerable cost, regulatory and other barriers to entering the export market.
Africa’s nascent organic sector has in recent months been shaken by proposals in the U.K. to limit the importation of air-freighted organic produce over “carbon mile” concerns, a development which would deal a severe blow to current and prospective exporters. Some industry players believe that even if a measure less drastic than an outright ban is adopted, public perceptions about the contribution of air freight to pollution already require new and innovative coping strategies by African exporters of organic produce.
This passionately debated issue, on which the livelihoods of many in a growing horticultural niche depend, is likely to loom large at Biofach2008. The African Pavilion should provide an interesting forum for the various points of view to be discussed by concerned stakeholders.
related links: http://africanagriculture.blogspot.com