Organic agriculture can be good for food security in Africa, says a study launched in Geneva today by a joint UNCTAD-UNEP task force.
Entitled “Organic Agriculture and Food Security in Africa”, the study demonstrates that organic agriculture can be equal or better for food security than most conventional systems and is more likely to be sustainable in the longer term, as it builds up levels of natural, human, social, financial and physical capital in farming communities. It also favours the use of low carbon footprint production methods and local resources.
The UNEP-UNCTAD Capacity Building Task Force on Trade, Environment and Development (CBTF) is one of two international partnerships through which UNCTAD conducts its work on organic agriculture as a trade and sustainable development opportunity for developing countries. The other partnership is the UNCTAD-FAO-IFOAM International Task Force on Harmonization and Equivalence in Organic Agriculture (ITF).
Today´s launch – attended by delegates to UNCTAD´s Trade and Development Board meeting – marks the close of the first phase of the CBTF East African Organic Initiative. That initiative has led to vibrant public-private partnerships in East Africa and beyond, including the development of the East African Organic Products Standard, the second regional organic standard in the world, which will promote production and trade in East African organic products.
The launch was followed by a quick overview of five years of work on the ITF, whose work will culminate on 7 October with the launch in Geneva of two tools produced by the Task Force. The EquiTool and the IROCB, a minimum set of international requirements for organic certification bodies, will facilitate organic trade by establishing equivalence and recognition among organic standards and conformity assessment systems.