The Head of the Agriculture Division of the ECOWAS Commission in Abuja, Mr. Ernest Aubee, said the harmonization of organic farming standards in West Africa will help develop trade in the region. .
Aubee made the claim during an online presentation on the “benefits and opportunities of organic farming” hosted by Go Organic Journalists Initiative.
He said there was a need for harmonized organic standards for Participatory Guaranteed System (PGS) activities in West Africa to encourage quality regional trade.
“The standards will improve the visibility of organic agriculture and the development of the market-oriented sector throughout the region.”
“The key in this regard is product diversity, simplicity of process, empowerment of farmers, development of sustainable agriculture, easy access to standardized products and products.”
“It will also lead to awareness of the health benefits of organic products, easy access to practical experience sharing, the possibility of an expanded market and a premium for producers.
He said it will also improve better organization of stakeholders, better management of value change, promotion and increase in the supply of organic products and products, among other benefits in the region.
Aubee, who is also Chairman of the Regional Steering Committee for the Ecological Organic Agriculture (EOA) Initiative, West Africa, added that the harmonized standards will increase the interest of policy makers.
“This will improve the economy of West Africa through trade in organic products, and will also increase the demand for organic agricultural products in the region.”
“It will also improve the livelihoods of actors in the organic agriculture value chain in the region through the creation of jobs and wealth.”
He noted that the West African Biological Network (WAFRONET) is working with stakeholders to ensure that the dream of having harmonized standards in the region becomes a reality.
“The first public stakeholder presentation and review took place from March 15-18, 2021, while the presentation of the process update took place at the 6th West Africa Biological Conference in November 2021 in Burkina Faso”.
“At present, the draft harmonized standards and reports have been forwarded to the ECOWAS Commission for further technical and policy actions.”
“And the final version of the harmonized organic standards in West Africa led by ECOWAS should be ready in 2022,” he assured.
Aubee therefore called for the commitment of political leaders in the organic agriculture sector as it has better opportunities when governments intervene in the development of the organic agriculture sector.
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Harmonization of standards will promote the growth of organic agriculture in West Africa —ECOWAS