market-driven development, ECOWAS, organic agriculture
ECOWAS prioritise organic agriculture

ECOWAS seeks market-driven development of organic agriculture in West Africa

The West African economic body, ECOWAS, is set to promote market-driven development of organic agriculture in the region.

The Head of the ECOWAS Commission, Agriculture Division, in Nigeria and Chairman of Regional Steering Committee for Ecological Organic Agriculture (EOA) Initiative- West Africa, Mr Ernest Aubee, has said strategies are in place to enhance the visibility of organic agriculture in the region, as well as its market, to drive development.

In his presentation on the “Benefits of Harmonised Organic Standard in West Africa”, at the 5th West Africa Organic Conference in Ghana, Aubee said the General Assembly of West Africa Organic Network (WAfrONet) had recommended the need for a harmonised organic standard for West Africa.

He said the development would encourage regional trade and the establishment of the Bio West Africa Fair (regional organic exhibition in West Africa) to benefit organic farming on the continent.

Market-driven development of organic agriculture and organic standards

According to him, the processes involved in having a harmonised organic agriculture standard in West Africa and its benefits for all stakeholders in the region were the subject of the Economic Community of West African States led EOA workshop in 2021.

He said, “This may be the first in the region, and it will lead to the improvement of the economy in West Africa as a result of the trading of organic produce in the region, increase demand for organic agriculture products, as well as its awareness.”

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Furthermore, Aubee said a harmonised organic standard in West Africa would lead to increased quality control in the organic agricultural sector in the continent.

market-driven development, ECOWAS, organic agriculture
ECOWAS office

Speaking on the progress of the organic agriculture standard document for West Africa, Aubee said “Collation of available PGS organic standards in West Africa and a draft of a harmonised standard by a committee appointed during the 5th WAOC in Ghana – May to December 2020, while the first public presentation to stakeholders and review by the GA appointed Constitution Committee was on March 15 to 18, 2021.

“The revision of the 1st draft, based on inputs received during the first public presentation was in May 2021 and the presentation of an update on the process during 6th WAOC November 26, 2021, while the transmission of draft of the harmonized standard and reports to ECOWAS Commission was done for further technical and political actions.”

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Meanwhile, he said the final version of the ECOWAS-led Harmonised Organic Standard in West Africa is expected to be ready in 2022.

The Economic Community of West African States is a regional political and economic union of fifteen countries located in West Africa. Collectively, these countries comprise an area of 5,114,162 km², and in 2015 had an estimated population of over 349 million.

The main goal of ECOWAS is to promote economic cooperation among member states in order to raise living standards and promote economic development. ECOWAS has also worked to address some security issues by developing a peacekeeping force for conflicts in the region.

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