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Namibia: Demand for organic produce exceeds supply

During a recent regional training workshop on marketing and extension support to organic farmers and practitioners held in Gaborone, Botswana, the chairperson of the Namibian Organic Association (NOA), Manjo Smith, said demand for organic agricultural produce exceeds supply, resulting in a need to strengthen organic capacity in the agricultural sector. She said training opportunities are invaluable in this regard.

During the workshop, organised by the African Union (AU), Smith said there is a high demand in Namibia for organic agricultural produce as people prefer food that is healthy, nutritious and free from harmful pesticides or genetically modified organisms (GMOs). In addition to providing training on organic farming operations, the workshop covered natural management techniques for pests, marketing of produce and compliance with organic standards.

The AU Department of Rural Economy and Agriculture Policy Officer, Jonathan Nyarko Ocran, said development of organic agriculture is a key component of the 2014 AU Year of Agriculture and Food Security. Ocran said the programme also marks the 10th anniversary of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP). CAADP, a flagship programme of the African Union, encourages AU members to allocate at least 10 percent of their total public expenditure to agriculture.

Currently, 50 of the 54 AU countries use the CAADP framework to develop their agriculture. Ocran said that organic and near-organic agricultural methods and technologies are ideally suited for many poor and marginalized smallholder farmers, as they require minimal or no external inputs and also use locally and naturally available materials to produce high-quality products.

Source: allafrica.com

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