Mainstreaming Ecological Organic Agriculture (EOA) into Agricultural Systems in Africa

Current agricultural and food systems rely greatly on non-renewable external inputs, impact negatively on soils, water, biodiversity, nutrition and health. Switzerland supports the Ecological Organic Agriculture Initiative that promotes a viable alternative in Africa to ensure sustainable agricultural development, food and nutrition security of smallholder farmers in an environmentally sustainable manner, thereby contributing towards a more sustainable global food system.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Agriculture & food security
Agricultural development
Agricultural services & market
Agricultural policy
01.05.2019 - 30.06.2024
CHF  7’200’000
Background Ecological organic agriculture has proven to be one of the viable options for sustainable agricultural development for Africa and more sustainable food systems globally. Since 2015, the organic agricultural land in Africa has increased by almost 119,000ha (7%). The increased local and global demand for healthy food products driven by consumers concerns for safe food and environmentally friendly production as well as growing opportunities for domestic and international markets and trade have contributed significantly to the increase in production. There is a growing recognition that organic agriculture plays a significant role in addressing food insecurity, land degradation, poverty and climate change. Evidence presented by the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food also reveals that smallholder farmers can double food production within 3-10 years in critical regions when ecological methods are applied. However, the organic sector is facing challenges like access to technologies, information, inputs, market infrastructures, price information and policy frameworks at national level. While the organic ecological agriculture strategic plan has been endorsed by the African Union as a continental undertaking, so far only few countries have legislations, data monitoring and evaluation systems in place to complement the implementation and progress tracking.
Objectives To mainstream Ecological Organic Agriculture into national agricultural production systems by 2025 to improve agricultural productivity, food security, access to markets and sustainable development in Africa.
Target groups Africa’s smallholder farmers and farmers’ organizations are the main beneficiaries. A special emphasis is given to maximizing the involvement of women and youth as producers, processors, marketers, PhD/MSc trainees, and policy makers. Furthermore, the EOA-Initiative addresses consumers to drive the demand-side.
Medium-term outcomes

Outcome 1: Knowledge needed by EOA actors in various value chains availed for dissemination.

Outcome 2: Adoption of EOA practices by EOA value chain actors enhanced. 

Outcome 3: Share of quality organic products increased at the local, national and regional markets.

Outcome 4: Structured management of EOA enhanced through coordinating, networking, advocacy, multi-stakeholder platforms and capacity building.


Expected results:  

  • EOA research information, knowledge and best practices needed by EOA validated, disseminated and documented.
  • EOA practices disseminated to stakeholders.
  • Business support services developed and implemented.
  • Competitiveness of EOA value chain actors enhanced.
  • Producers meeting organic market standards increased.
  • Synergies among EOA institutions strengthened.
  • EOA practices mainstreamed into public policies and investment plans.
  • Capacity of EOA institutions enhanced.
  • Fully Functional multi-stakeholder platforms at continental, regional and national levels strengthened and sustained.

Results from previous phases:  

  • The external evaluation of Phase I revealed that among project-involved farmers, production of EOA increased by 83% and unit productivity per area increased on average by 37%, while the organic producers registered more than 10% increase in incomes and quality of life improvements.
  • Ecological Organic Agriculture was newly introduced in curricula of formal learning institutions in Ethiopia, Uganda, Tanzania and Senegal.
  • Ethiopia, Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, Benin and Nigeria have implemented organic certification standards, processes and procedures, and in all cases producers were certified.
  • Organic farmers’ markets and tools for collecting market information and databases were established. At least 21’000 farmers were thereby linked to such markets.
  • Advocacy and support to policy makers let to the formulation of Ecological Organic Agriculture policy drafts, which are at various level of approvals in Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda and Ethiopia.
  • Multi-stakeholders’ platforms at the national, regional and continental levels were established.
  • EOA became increasingly institutionalized with the emergence of continental networks such as the African Union-led Continental Steering Committee or AfrONet.
  • Weak organizational procedures and frameworks by partners led to weak project and financial management and monitoring and evaluation, requiring improvements and justifying a performance-based grant management system in phase II.
  • National Platforms played the expected role of driving the EOA agenda at country level not satisfactorily, hence an enhancement is required in Phase II.
  • Limited systematic and structured resources were mobilized to ensure sustainability of the initiative, leading to the decision of decreasing support over Phase II, making fundraising an indispensable obligation to sustain the initiative.

Directorate/federal office responsible SDC
Credit area Development cooperation
Project partners Contract partner
International or foreign NGO

Coordination with other projects and actors
  • Productivity and Profitability of Organic and Conventional Farming Systems (Pro Eco Africa)
  • FiBL long-term system comparison
  • Knowledge Centers for Organic Agriculture by BMZ-GIZ
  • FAO Scaling-up Agroecology Initiative
Budget Current phase Swiss budget CHF    7’200’000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF    7’085’814
Project phases Phase 2 01.05.2019 - 30.06.2024   (Current phase) Phase 1 01.08.2012 - 31.12.2019   (Completed)