Participants at Regional Workshop on Organic Standards and Certification @Bellecote, Abidjan

The African Union Commission in collaboration with West Africa Organic Network (WAfrONet) organises a four-day workshop titled Regional Workshop on Organic Standards and Certification from July 30 to August 2 at Belle Cote, Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. This event brings together major stakeholders in organic sector from different countries of the Region. This workshop draws its participants from the ECOWAS Region, specifically from Nigeria, Ghana, Benin, Burkina Faso, Sierra Leone, the Gambia, Mali, Senegal and Côte D’Ivoire.

Mr Jonathan Nyarko Ocran while delivering the opening statement

 In his opening statement, Mr Jonathan Nyarko Ocran, Policy Officer, Department of Rural Economy and Agriculture of the African Union Commission, welcomed the participants to the workshop which is seeking to train organic farmers, exporters and practitioners on organic standards and certification systems. He reiterates the undeniable fact that the agriculture sector including organic agriculture plays a prominent role in the economies of most African countries.  He stated that the sector contributes more than 50 percent to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the countries and provides livelihoods to many men and women in Africa. He underlines the fact that organic produce from African farmers is destined for export and that organic certification is key to those markets, hence, the need for the workshop.

Mr Jonathan Nyarko Ocran highlighted the main focus of the workshop which include the following:-

  • To reduce cost of certification and increase access to organic certification for organic producers, processors and exporters in the ECOWAS Region.
  • To increase organic trade between ECOWAS countries and the main export markets of the United States, the European Union and Japan.
  • To develop organic certification training packages for farmers and exporters in the ECOWAS Region.
  • To improve compliance with organic standards; and
  • To develop a system of recognizing African trained inspectors through the formation of African Organic Inspectors Association.

Mr Jonathan Nyarko wished the participants a successful and enjoyable training programme and officially declared the training workshop opened.