“Ecological and Organic Agriculture Strategies for Viable Continental and national Development in the Context of the African Union's Agenda 2063”
Organic agriculture is fast emerging as a common household slogan amongst most African families because of rising awareness on the need to consume wholesome food that can nourish the body, improve livelihoods and family incomes through the exploits of the stakeholders of the ongoing continental project on Ecological Organic Agriculture Initiative (EOAI). The 4th edition of the African Organic Conference is holding in Palm Beach hotel, Saly Portudal, Senegal on November 5 – 8, 2018 with the theme 'Ecological and Organic Agriculture Strategies for Viable Continental and national Development in the Context of the African Union's Agenda 2063'.
Agriculture remains the major job provider (>70% of jobs) and significant contributor to the Gross Domestic Product (30%) in the Continent. The importance of organic agriculture is being underscored in the Continent because the small holder farmers that constitute the major food producers (90% of food in the continent) are keying into the principles and practices of organic agriculture.
Consequently, there has been a sizeable increase (33.5%; 0.4 million hectares) in the total land area under organic agriculture in Africa between 2014 and 2015. Unfortunately, the 1.7 million hectares of land under organic agriculture in Africa still constitutes just 3 percent of the world's organic agricultural land. There is therefore, the need to scale up all the modest achievements hitherto recorded under the EOAI with a view to boosting agriculture output of the continent. This can only be achieved through sharing the potentials of EOAI in transforming the fortunes of the teeming African population, remaining focused on the set goal of mainstreaming EOA into national and continental agricultural production systems in Africa by 2025 and demonstrating the relevance of EOAI in actualizing the objectives of the African union's Agenda 2063.
The role of agricultural research in achieving the above captioned goals is very crucial. As such, efforts should be stepped up to support research projects that address the major challenges African farmers are facing as advocated by United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in 2016 through a publication titled “Financing Organic Agriculture in Africa”. To this effect, the 4AOC Scientific Track of the 4AOC is being organized as a forum whereby scientists can exchange ideas, share knowledge, experiences, breakthroughs and skills with a view to creating new frontiers
of knowledge that will benefit the entire populace of Africa. Consequently, total of fifty three (53) papers were accepted for presentation in the conference. The papers were submitted by scientists from twelve (12) countries namely Cameroun, Benin Republic, Nigeria, Uganda, Kenya, Ghana, Rwanda, Morocco, Zambia, Czech Republic, France and Finland. The papers are from different disciplines such as agronomy, livestock production, aquaculture, socio-economics, rural sociology, plant health, etno- vetmedicine etc.
The 4AOC Scientific track has been put together as Book of Proceedings for Scientists worldwide to make reference to in their future research endeavors. This exercise has been facilitated by International Centre for Research in Organic Food Systems (ICROFS) through the organic e-print platform for the submission of papers, International Society of Organic Agriculture Research (ISOFAR), and African Organic Network (AfrONet) for funding the production of the Proceedings. Hopefully, a download of the Proceedings shall be made available for ISOFAR members under the webpage of ISOFAR (www.isofar.org) after the conference.
The contributions of all the Stakeholders that have assisted in the organization of the 4AOC and Scientists that volunteered to assist in manuscript review are highly appreciated. The authors take full responsibility of the content of their papers as the editors only edited the manuscripts submitted.
GEROLD RAHMANN (Germany)
VICTOR IDOWU OLOWE (Nigeria)
TIMOTHY IPOOLA OLABIYI (Nigeria)
KHALID AZIM (Morocco)