Organic farming

Organic farming

Organic farming is the practice of farming using natural & biological pesticides from plant and animal
The practice enables to improve the health of the soil, plants, humans, animals and the
environment at large. The practice has gained a lot of interest around the world recently as a result of a
number of issues including high rate of lifestyle diseases, soil degradation, global warming. A large
population of people are becoming cautious about where the food is coming from and how it was

The organic sector in Kenya is still relatively small but growing fast. Over 182,000 hectares of land are
under organic management, which accounts for 0.69 % of the total agricultural area in Kenya. About
30,000 farms have changed over to organic cultivation methods so far (IFOAM & FiBL 2006).

The growth and development of organic agriculture (farming) in Kenya was initially an initiative of Non-
Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and private organizations like the Kenya Institute of Organic
Farming (KIOF)
, formed back in 1986. However, from the mid-1990s, efforts were shifting from isolated
individual to more collaborative with the establishment of organizations such as the Kenya Organic
Farmers Association (KOFA), initiated by farmers participating in KIOF extension and training programs.
The association published organic farming standards for members based on standards by IFOAM and the
European Union. KOFA wanted particularly to develop a vibrant organic market – both locally and
internationally – for their produce. Larger companies and commercial farmers already in the export
market, though, have organized themselves into the Kenya Organic Producers Association (KOPA). In
2005, organic agriculture stakeholders in Kenya, including KOPA and KOFA, formed the umbrella
network KOAN to support the continuing successful growth of the organic sector.

In Kenya, Kenya Organic Association Network (KOAN) is a membership body housing organic
stakeholder. They are tasked in coordinating certification of organic licenses to farmers. Kenya Bureau of
Standards (kebs) is also mandated in manufactured products said to be of organic origin. There are five
international certification bodies that are involved in Kenya, namely: Soil Association (UK), Ceres (USA),
EcoCert, (France), IMO (Germany) and Bio Suisse (Switzerland). However, to minimize the cost of
certification by the external certifiers, most of the certifiers use locally trained inspectors. A national
certification body Encert was established in 2005 to certify for the national markets. In May 2007, the
East African Organic Products Standard (EAOPS) was launched after a consultative process, which
started in 2005 by harmonizing organic standards that existed in the East African region. Together with
the EAOPS, the ‘Kilimohai’ brand was purposely developed to help promote and boost regional trade.


  1. Improved working conditions. The omission of pesticides improves the working conditions for
    farmers and farmworkers. Unfortunately, quite a number of farmworkers actually die each
    year because of pesticide use, especially in third-world countries. Organic waste has little to no
    physical harm to farmers working on the crops.
  2. Reduced erosion and better water management. Both soil improvement and the concept of
    keeping the ground “covered” as much as possible, either by mulches or cover crops, reduce
    soil erosion. Soils with improved structure and higher content of organic matter and the more
    compact growth of an organic crop also reduce the water consumption in agriculture.
  3. Benefits of Nutrients. Foods from organic farms are loaded with nutrients such as vitamins,
    enzymes, minerals, and other micro-nutrients compared to those from conventional farms. This
    is because organic farms are managed and nourished using sustainable practices. In fact, some
    past researchers collected and tested vegetables, fruits, and grains from both organic farms and
    conventional farms.
  4. Natural and Better Taste. Those that have tasted organically farmed foods would attest to the
    fact that they have a natural and better taste. The natural and superior taste stems from the
    well-balanced and nourished soil. Organic farmers always prioritize quality over quantity.
  5. Improved health. Organic food boosts the health of people as a result of eating essential
    nutrients. E.g food rich in antioxidants can help obese people lose weight as well as reduce
    Organic farming has a lot of benefits to our environment as a whole, we can all embrace the lifestyle and
    watch our health and wellness improve enormously.

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