Uganda  Country Profiles for Organic Agriculture

Legal and Institutional Framework

Legislation relating to organic agriculture
Government policy for organic agriculture
Inspection and certification of organic products marketed domestically
Inspection and certification of organic export products
Domestic market of organic products
Research, training and extension for organic agriculture
Profile Status


Legislation relating to organic agriculture

Legislation for organic agriculture is not yet finalized in Uganda. The stakeholders in Uganda and the Government of Uganda are currently working on developing a national organic agriculture policy.

Uganda has a strong organic movement, the National Organic Agriculture Movement of Uganda (NOGAMU). NOGAMU developed national organic standards and formed a national organic certification company (UgoCert). NOGAMU developed national organic standards, in association with stakeholders and the Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS), a parastatal body under the Ministry of Trade and Industry


Date: 1 Dec 2005



Government policy for organic agriculture

There is no clear government policy on promotion of organic products, neither is financial or other support available to entrepreneurs. Organic agriculture in Uganda has developed to the present level without any official government policy support. Indirectly, however, it has benefited from two main government policies:

 The economic liberalization policies of the early 1990s which allowed unfettered free enterprise. These policies meant that any individual or company could set up a business, produce and export what it wanted and in any form it wanted. They created a favourable environment for the development of private initiatives.

 The NGO Act (1999) that formally recognised NGOs as important development agents in a liberalised economy. This policy opened the door for alternative schools of thought to develop. Alternative approaches to agricultural development could now be developed with farmers by other development agents. Where there had been a single source of funding for agriculture extension services, NGOs could now mobilise resources from alternative sources. The availability of resources for agricultural development, with fewer strings and the emphasis on the relevancy of support for farmers, made it possible for farmers to express themselves and to be heard. They also made it possible for NGOs to invest in developing new practices with farmers.

Currently, government policy for agricultural development is based on the Plan for the Modernization of Agriculture (PMA). PMA does not mention organic agriculture, but stresses the development of sustainable agriculture. The PMA is part of Uganda's Poverty Eradication Action Plan (PEAP, 1997). It aims at improving incomes, reducing food insecurity, creating gainful employment and a good environment for sustainable natural resource management. The PMA provides the principles and framework for the design and implementation of programmes and projects that impact on the agricultural based livelihoods. One of the Uganda's Poverty Eradication Action Plan’s main conditions is that the economic growth must be sustainable

The Ministry of Water, Lands and Environment, although not having published a finalized regulation for organic agriculture, stresses in its mandate on the need to “promote and ensure the rational and sustainable utilization and development and safeguard of land and water resources and environment”. Also the official Mission of the Ministry is to “ensure the wise use of the country's natural resources by the present generation without compromising their availability for use by the future generations”.

The Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA), a parastatal that falls under the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF), and established by the Coffee Statute 1991, recognizes the commercial potential of organic coffee. MAAIF organized, in cooperation with the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM), the 3rd International IFOAM Conference on Organic Coffee (6-8 October, 2004, Entebbe, Uganda). The event attracted over 200 participants from about 30 countries from all over the world with strong presence of the African coffee sector. Uganda, with about 21 000 organic coffee producing smallholders, has become the leading country for organic coffee production in Africa. The conference covered a broad range of topics from organic coffee production to certification as well as the synergies that come along with fair trade. A special focus of the conference was on small-scale organic coffee production. The director of UCDA, Henry Ngabirano, emphasized this in his conclusion: “Especially as small scale organic coffee farmers we can collectively have a tremendous impact on the lives of the families and the environment. We are confident that the future belongs to the organic coffee sector”.

National Organic Agriculture Movement of Uganda (NOGAMU) The aim of NOGAMU is to coordinate and promote sustainable organic agriculture development, networking and marketing. NOGAMU was launched at an Open Meeting in Kampala, on the 15 January 2001, where over 80 interested stakeholders unanimously agreed to establish NOGAMU to unite producers, processors, marketers and trainers, who are interested in promoting organic production and export in Uganda. NOGAMU main objectives are: promotion of organic agriculture systems promotion of certified organic production, marketing and export from Uganda; standardization of the principles and practices of organic farming following recommendations from acknowledged bodies; promotion of networking amongst members; promotion of research, education, training and extension in organic production systems; creation of a data base and resource centre in organic production and marketing; lobby and advocate for organic agriculture and marketing nation-wide.

The Advocates Coalition for Development and Environment (ACODE) is also working with the Government to reach official policies regarding organic agriculture. ACODE is an independent public policy research, analysis and advocacy think tank. It was established and registered as an NGO in 1999. ACODE undertakes independent public policy research and analysis of global, regional and national public policy issues. Through proactive advocacy, they work to democratize the process of policy making and to link policy making to local level realities.


Sources:

Advocates Coalition for Development and Environment (ACODE), 2004 (available at http://www.acode-u.org/);

Ministry of Water, Lands and Environment (available at http://www.mwle.go.ug/index.html);

Plan for Modernization of Agriculture, 1997 (part of the Uganda's Poverty Eradication Action Plan - PEAP,) (available at http://pma.go.ug/about.php), 2005;

Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA), 2005 (available at http://www.ugandacoffee.org/queries.php).

Waniala N., 2005. In: United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), 2005. Trading opportunities for organic food products from developing countries - Strengthening research and policy-making capacity on trade and environment in developing countries (available at http://r0.unctad.org/trade_env/test1/publications/organic.pdf?docid=4502%2b%22itemid=2068)


Date: 1 Dec 2005



Inspection and certification of organic products marketed domestically

The plan to develop a Uganda Organic Certification programme was first mooted in September 1998 when Ugandan organic agriculture stakeholders (consumer protection organizations, private business companies, NGOs and the Uganda Coffee Development Authority) held their first meeting. The meeting brought to the constitution of the National Organic Agricultural Movement of Uganda (NOGAMU) in 2001, and made the development of a national certification programme possible. The certification programme steps were the establishment of an organic standards committee (2001), which published the Uganda Organic Standards (UOS) and of a certification body to provide certification services.

The certification body, the Uganda Organic Certification Ltd (UgoCert), was established in 2004, with technical support from Grolink AB (a Swedish consultancy company working in the field of organic agriculture) and financial support from the Sweden International Development Agency (SIDA), through the Export Promotion of Organic Products from Africa (EPOPA) project.
UgoCert is the sole local certification body working within Uganda. It works also in the United Republic of Tanzania and Democratic Republic of Congo. UgoCert has four full time employees and ten inspectors; it operates mainly in the organic sector, and the certification is based on the Uganda Organic Standards. It is owned by National Organic Agricultural Movement of Uganda (NOGAMU), with shares for educational, research institutions and processors.

Sources:

UgoCert, 2004 (available at http://www.grolink.se/epopa/ugocert/);

The National Organic Agriculture Movement of Uganda (NOGAMU), 2001 (available at http://www.linksorganic.com/minilisting/nogamu/);


Date: 1 Dec 2005



Inspection and certification of organic export products

In Uganda, organic agriculture has developed over the years into a booming subsector and an increasing number of farmers have responded to the rising international demand for certified organic produce from developing countries. Uganda is currently exporting coffee, sesame, cotton and fruits to the European Union, Asia and North America. Some of the cocoa and vanilla production is under conversion.
Organic certification services for projects targeted at accessing the international market are currently provided by three international certification companies:
 Ecocert (Germany);
 Institute for Market Ecology (IMO) (Switzerland);
 KRAV (Sweden).

The sole local certification body working within Uganda is the Uganda Organic Certification Ltd (UgoCert) (Uganda Organic Certification Ltd). For the export market it cooperates with the Swiss Institute for Marketecology (IMO), an ISO 65 accredited, internationally acting inspection and certification body conducting inspection and certification worldwide. UgoCert-IMO certifies for EU, USA and Japan respectively with EU, NOP and JAS standards. Apart from UgoCert, these foreign standards are directly implemented in Uganda by the commercial projects and international certifier.

The certification is based on their organic standards and/or on the organic standards of the countries or region to which the organic produce is to be exported. Modifications of the applied standards are made where necessary in order to meet the specific conditions of Ugandan farming systems. However, because these standards were developed in northern countries with different social, economic and ecological conditions, there are often problems associated with their application, such as the required length of the conversion period and the level of farm documentation. Another major problem has to do with the cost involved in accessing the services of a northern-based certification company.

At present, producers/outgrowers do not pay certification costs; these are borne by the exporter/promoter, who has to arrange for inspections by foreign certifying bodies. The exporter pays not only the certification fee, but also for the certifiers’ stay in Uganda. Thus, due to the high associated costs, certified organic agriculture is currently practised only on a limited scale.
Uganda produces and exports the following organic products:
 Fresh fruits and vegetables (pineapples, passion fruit, bananas and avocados);
 Dried fruits (pineapples);
 Oil seeds (sesame and sunflower);
 Traditional cash crops (coffee and cotton);
 Spices (vanilla, ginger and chilli).

Since 1997, the Swedish International Development Co-operation Agency (SIDA) has financed a programme called Export Promotion of Organic Products from Africa (EPOPA); it has projects present in Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. The total number of farmers affected by the EPOPA programme amount to around 19 000 in Uganda. The latest evaluation made in 2004 showed a high impact and significant improvements in the livelihood of some 27 000 farmers from Tanzania and Uganda. EPOPA aims to give African smallholder farmers a better livelihood through developing local and international organic markets. EPOPA is also developing activities like setting up domestic certification bodies, providing training to a wider public, and linking up with national networks so as to provide a solid basis for the organic sectors in the countries.


Sources:

The Organic Standard, 2005. The Organic Certification Directory; Issue 52, August 2005;

Grolink AB, Export Promotion of Organic Products from Africa (EPOPA), 2005 (available at http://www.grolink.se/epopa/);

Export Promotion of Organic Products from Africa (EPOPA), 2004. An evaluation of the program “Export Promotion of Organic Products from Africa”, phase II (available at http://www.grolink.se/epopa/Publications/EPOPA-Phase-2-Evaluation-04.pdf);

Michael Hauser, 2002. Livelihood Security and Organic Agriculture. The Case of Uganda (abstracts available at http://www.tropentag.de/2002/proceedings/node205.html);

Walaga, C., 2005. Organic agriculture in Kenya and Uganda (abstracts available at http://www.anancy.net/uploads/file_en/Study%20Visit_Organic%20Farming%20NEW.pdf)

Waniala N., 2005. In: United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), 2005. Trading opportunities for organic food products from developing countries - Strengthening research and policy-making capacity on trade and environment in developing countries (available at http://r0.unctad.org/trade_env/test1/publications/organic.pdf?docid=4502%2b%22itemid=2068)


Date: 1 Dec 2005



Domestic market of organic products

In Uganda there is a lack of a distinct local organic market. This makes commercialised organic agriculture risky as it relies solely on the export market.

Since the late 1980s, organic agriculture has expanded rapidly in the country. More than 33 900 farm households are now certified organic. Uganda is the African country with the widest organic managed area (122 000 hectares), representing 1,39 percent of the total cultivated land in the country. It is estimated that three times as many farm households manage their farms under non-certified arrangements, but comply with internationally accepted organic standards and guidelines.

Ugandan organic agriculture has moved beyond the pioneering stage and is now being consolidated. Since the early 1990s, hundreds of NGOs and community-based organizations specializing in organic agriculture have been formed and are active as farmers’ organizations or technical service agencies. It is difficult to estimate the exact number of practising organic farmers in Uganda; the number would include those farmers who are being supported by NGOs and other development programmes, but who are not certified, as well as those farmers who are working on their own and whose farming practices follow organic principles.
The NGOs initiatives represent a productivity-based organic approach, aimed at the sustainable intensification of farming in Uganda.


Sources:
IFOAM, 2005. The World of Organic Agriculture. Statistics and Emerging Trends, 2005 (Editors: Helga Willer and Minou Yussefi)

Walaga, C., 2005. Organic agriculture in Kenya and Uganda (abstracts available at http://www.anancy.net/uploads/file_en/Study%20Visit_Organic%20Farming%20NEW.pdf)


Date: 1 Dec 2005



Research, training and extension for organic agriculture

There are many local and foreign associations and NGOs working on organic agriculture training for farmers and smallholders, such as:

Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa (ASARECA). This is a non-political organization of the National Agricultural Research Institutes (NARIs) of ten countries: Burundi, D. R. Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Rwanda, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda. It aims at increasing the efficiency of agricultural research in the region so as to facilitate economic growth, food security and export competitiveness through productive and sustainable agriculture.

Ceres Institute of Organic Farming (CIOF). It is a local NGO, working on training and demonstrating organic farming methods to the small holders in the Rwenzoris region.

Export Promotion of Organic Products from Africa (EPOPA). Since 1997, the Swedish International Development Co-operation Agency (SIDA) has financed a programme to promote exports of organic products from Africa. The programme is the Export Promotion of Organic Products from Africa (EPOPA), which has projects in Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. The business idea of EPOPA is to capture the organic premium, to assist exporters and farmers to certify that the crops were organically produced, and then to increase the incomes. The latest evaluation made in 2004 showed a high impact and significant improvements in the livelihood of some 27 000 farmers from Tanzania and Uganda. EPOPA aims to give African smallholder farmers a better livelihood through developing local and international organic markets. EPOPA is also developing activities such as setting up domestic certification bodies, providing training to the public, and linking up with national networks so as to provide a solid basis for the organic sectors in the countries.

National Organic Agriculture Movement of Uganda (NOGAMU) The aim of NOGAMU is to coordinate and promote sustainable organic agriculture development, networking and marketing. NOGAMU was launched at an Open Meeting in Kampala, on the 15 January 2001, where over 80 interested stakeholders unanimously agreed to establish NOGAMU to unite producers, processors, marketers and trainers, who are interested in promoting organic production and export in Uganda. NOGAMU objectives are: promotion of organic agriculture systems (e.g. Agroforestry, Permaculture and Biodynamic Farming); promotion of certified organic production, marketing and export from Uganda; standardization of the principles and practices of organic farming following recommendations from acknowledged bodies; promotion of networking amongst members; promotion of research, education, training and extension in organic production systems; creation of a data base and resource centre in organic production and marketing; lobby and advocate for organic agriculture and marketing nation-wide.

Network for Ecofarming in Africa (NECOFA). This organization was founded under the sponsorship of the Government of Germany, the Food and Agriculture Development Centre (ZEL) of the German Foundation for International Development (DSE), in cooperation with the German Institute for Tropical and Subtropical Agriculture. NECOFA aims at acting as a forum to support all national and international activities supporting ecologically and sociologically sustainable land use management in Africa. NECOFA assists national groups and members to sensitize political and administrative decision makers regarding issues of ecofarming, to elaborate information and extension materials and to organize meetings, information and training workshops.

Organic Farm and Training Centre (KOFT). This is a community-based organization situated in Karusandara Sub-County, Kasese District, established in 1995. Objectives are: carry out training courses for households and farmers in organic agriculture, to assist farmers to set up their organic gardens, to set up demonstration plots and facilitate the marketing of organic products.

Rural Community in Development (RUCID). This is a rural based NGO, which started in 1995 in Mityuna, Mubende District, Uganda. It has a staff of six qualified persons, of which four are fully trained Agriculturalists, two are supporting staff. The organisation has an office in Mityana Town, and a demonstration garden of 4 acres where it practically carries out its trainings. The organisation offers training, both for farmers and extension workers and offers also consultancy in the field of sustainable agriculture. Courses are as short as 1 week and long up to 2 months.

St. Jude Training Centre. It pursues a family-based approach to agricultural training, catering particularly for women, children and vulnerable persons. The increase of household incomes, healthcare and education are key aims. The practice of sustainable organic farming systems and practices are the concept that is promoted. The approach of the St. Jude Training Centre is to maximize the use of local resources; this includes natural and human resources. Therefore, the outreach approach is strongly farmer-based and uses mainly the methodology short-term trainings and farm visits. More than 120 000 farmers have been trained during the past seven years. The rate of illiteracy among the farmers trained is very high. The Centre is equipped with all Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) facilities that support the use of internet-based information services such as OISAT Info (OISAT is the Online Information Service for Non-chemical Pest Management in The Tropics, a project lead by the German NGO PAN-Germany, aiming to eliminate the use of hazardous pesticides, reduce overall use, risk and dependence of pesticides, and increase support for community-based control over a sustainable produced food supply). However, there is need for training the extension workers in the use of computers and information search in the OISAT Info database and other electronic information providers.

Uganda Community Resource Programme (CRP) of SPW (Student Partnership Worldwide). It is an international development charity working in Africa and Asia, is training volunteers to create environmental awareness and promote the use of organic farming methods to communities in the rural areas around Mbale, Jinja, Kamuli and Soronko.

Women of Uganda Network (WOUGNET). It is an NGO initiated in May 2000 by several women’s organizations to develop the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) among women as a tool to share information collectively. The empowerment of women farmers with agricultural information on best practices, markets and market prices, sources of agricultural inputs, pest and disease management through the use of ICTs are key themes of WOUGNET. For the dissemination of information they are using a variety of media both ICT and non-ICT. The use of the mobile phone technology is increasing. They collaborate with PAN Germany.


Sources:

IFOAM, 2005. Organic Agriculture Worldwide

GTZ Ländliche Entwicklung web site, 2004 (available at http://www.gtz.de/de/index.htm/a>)

PAN Germany, 2005. Report on the Regional Workshop „From Web to Field to Web” (available at
http://www.ipmeurope.org/download/pan-2005.pdf)

The National Organic Agriculture Movement of Uganda (NOGAMU) (available at http://www.linksorganic.com/minilisting/nogamu/default.htm)


Date: 1 Dec 2005



Profile Status

This is a provisional document pending government confirmation.



Date: 29 Nov 2005