Organic Farming and its Economic Opportunities in East Africa, Arusha International Conference Center, Tanzania (1-2 June 2017)

01 June 2017

Organic farming is a growing industry in East Africa, and tourism and agriculture are important contributors to economic growth in the region.

This week in Tanzania, UNCTAD co-organized an event aimed at helping East African countries leverage the benefits of sustainable tourism and agriculture.

The event called the East-African Organic Policy Forum (EAOPF) is organised as part of the United Nations Inter-Agency Cluster on Trade and Productive Capacity.

The objective of the forum is to gather local and regional stakeholders to discuss strategies for developing organic agriculture in East Africa.

The event will discuss coordination among market players and regional governments, as well as support for the sector's stakeholders and linkages to other sectors.

The forum will be an important opportunity to mobilise policy makers in the East African Community and those from the national level on the importance of organic agriculture and the various barriers and opportunities that affect the sector, including potential linkages with local and regional tourism hubs.

At the event, UNCTAD will present two relevant studies, the first is on the financing of organic farming in Africa; the second explores the linkages between sustainable agriculture and tourism in Tanzania. The latter report identifies areas for pro-poor tourism development in the country and highlights the positive impacts of developing the two in tandem.

Attendees at the Forum will include leading focal points and officials from organic agriculture, tourism, catering and hotel sectors. Beneficiaries from UNCTAD's EMPRETEC training project (Tanga Fresh) will also be in attendance; as well as key contributors to the UNCTAD studies that are being presented.

Key institutions attending include Organic Trade and Value Chain East Africa (OTEA), One Stop Shop Organic East Africa (OSOSEA). Other co-organizers of the event include the African Organic Network (AfrONet) and the Tanzania Organic Agriculture Movement (TOAM). The event is financially supported by the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA), the Trademark East Africa Challenge Fund (TRAC) and the Government of Switzerland (SECO).

While governments in East Africa are slowly but increasingly recognising the benefits of organic agriculture, comprehensive government policies to support the sector have not been fully realised. If organic agriculture and its associated positive effects are to be scaled up, an enabling policy environment is crucial.