For use of information media - Not an official record

23 May 2007

Organic label expected to boost profits for small farmers, expand exports and domestic and regional sales

A uniform set of procedures for growing and marketing organic produce has been established for East Africa and will be introduced by the Prime Minister of Tanzania at a conference to be held in Dar es Salaam from 28 May to 1 June 2007.

The East African Organic Products Standard (EAOS) is the second regional organic standard in the world, following that developed by the European Union. The EAOS and associated East African Organic Mark will ensure consumers that produce so labelled has been grown in accordance with a standardized method based on traditional methods supplemented by scientific knowledge, and based on ecosystem management rather than the use of artificial fertilizers and pesticides. As organic produce generally sells at premium prices in rapidly growing overseas markets, it is hoped that the standard will increase sales and profits for small farmers in the region.

The standard was developed by a public-private sector partnership in East Africa, supported by the UNEP-UNCTAD Capacity Building Task Force on Trade, Environment and Development (CBTF), a joint initiative of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM).

Tanzanian Prime Minister Edward N. Lowassa will present the standard and organic mark on 29 May during a week-long series of meetings and workshops titled "East African Organic Conference: Unleashing the Potential of Organic Agriculture." Also on 29 May, Secretaries of Agriculture and other high-level government officials from Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi will take part in a roundtable discussion on "Unleashing the Potential of Organic Agriculture in East Africa."

Other events during the week will include a 28 May workshop on "Developing Local and Regional Organic Markets"; a 29-30 May workshop on "Moving the Organic Agenda Ahead"; a 28-29 May exhibition of East African organic products; a 29 May public East Africa Organic Forum; and field trips to organic agriculture sites on 30 May and 1 June. Over 250 public and private sector participants from 25 countries will attend, making it the largest organic agriculture event ever in Africa.

The conference is jointly organized by the CBTF, IFOAM, the Tanzania Organic Agriculture Movement (TOAM) and Export Promotion of Organic Products from Africa (EPOPA), in cooperation with the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Cooperatives of United Republic of Tanzania, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), and the International Trade Centre (UNCTAD/World Trade Organization (WTO)). The conference is part of the East African Organic Agriculture Initiative being implemented with the financial support of the European Union and Sida.

The EAOS and the conference are expected to boost organic trade and market development in the region, raise awareness about organic agriculture among farmers and consumers, and create a unified negotiating position that should help East African organic farmers win access to export markets and influence international standards related to organic agriculture. In addition to its economic benefits, organic agriculture offers an array of environmental, social, health, food security and cultural benefits for developing countries.

Work on the East African Organic Standard began in 2005.

For more information about the conference, please visit: | conference to be held in Dar es Salaam |

The EAOS and other documents are available at the following websites: | IFOAM | UNEP-UNCTAD |

See also UNCTAD Information Notes:

And IFOAM Press releases:

For more information, please contact:
UNCTAD Press Office
T: +41 22 917 5828
IFOAM, Neil Sorensen,
T: +49 228 926 5016
UNEP, Hussein Abaza
T: +41 22 917 8179


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