Kenya expands organic farming

13-10-2006 | | |

Kenyan farmers are planning to cash-in on increased demand for organic food through further expansion of local organic farming.

Food scares across the world, including bird flu and E. coli outbreaks, offer a market opportunity for Kenya’s growing pool of organic farmers.
Ms Sue Kahumbu, an organic farmer in Kenya, says that global demand for organic foods is increasing by 20 percent every year, while supply is increasing by only 5 percent.
In addition to the market opportunity that this present to farmers, lack of supply also means that organic foods attract a premium price of up to 80 percent more than conventionally grown foods, she said.
In Kenya, hotels owned by Fairmont Hotels and Resorts have already begun serving organic foods to their customers, and are aiming to use 100 percent organic food in the near future.
According to statistics from the Ministry of Agriculture, there are currently more than 180,000 hectares of land under organic farming in Kenya and more are being added every day.
The ministry recognises the important role of organic farming, although it is yet to develop a specific policy on this system. Organic industry players under the grouping of Kenya Organic Agriculture Network (KOAN) suggest that more efforts need to be directed to support this type of farming, which they say will create local jobs and improve the economy and the environment. 
KOAN is currently running a training and awareness programme to educate a cross-section of small-scale farmers about organic farming and obtaining certification so that produce is recognised as being on par with global standards.