New Standard for East African Organic Products to be Launched at Tanzanian Conference May 28th - June 1st Organic label expected to boost profits for small farmers, expand exports and domestic and regional sales

Bonn, May 24th, 2007 -? A uniform set of procedures for growing and marketing organic produce has been established for East Africa and will be introduced by the Prime Minister of Tanzania at a conference to be held in Dar es Salaam from May 8th to June 1st 2007.

The East African Organic Products Standard (EAOS) is the second regional organic standard in the world, following that developed by the European Union. The EAOS and associated East African Organic Mark will ensure to consumers that produce so labeled has been grown in accordance with a standardized method based on traditional methods supplemented by scientific knowledge, and based on ecosystem management rather than the use of artificial fertilizers and pesticides. As organic produce generally sells at premium prices in rapidly growing overseas markets, it is hoped that the standard will increase sales and profits for small farmers in the region.?

The standard was developed by a public-private sector partnership in East Africa, supported by the UNEP-UNCTAD Capacity Building Task Force on Trade, Environment and Development (CBTF), a joint initiative of the United Nations? Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM).

Tanzanian Prime Minister Edward N. Lowassa will present the standard and organic mark on May 29th during a week-long series of meetings and workshops titled "East African Organic Conference: Unleashing the Potential of Organic Agriculture."? Also on May 29th, Secretaries of Agriculture and other high-level government officials from Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi will take part in a roundtable discussion on "Unleashing the Potential of Organic Agriculture in East Africa."

Other events during the week will include a May 28th workshop on "Developing Local and Regional Organic Markets"; a May 29th-30th workshop on "Moving the Organic Agenda Ahead"; a May 28th-29th exhibition of East African organic products; a May 29th public East Africa Organic Forum; and field trips to organic agriculture sites on May 30th and June 1st. Over 250 public and private sector participants from 25 countries will attend, making it the largest organic agriculture event ever in Africa.

Angela B. Caudle, IFOAM Executive Director, concludes “East African producers are poised to take advantage of the rapidly growing organic markets worldwide. We are gratified by the participation of Tanzanian Prime Minister Edward N. Lowassa and the diverse ministers and dignitaries in this conference, which is indicative of the vast potential that organic production systems represent for this region.

Herve Bouagnimbeck, IFOAM Africa Office Coordinator emphasizes “The coalescence of public and private entities to systematically develop organic agriculture in East Africa is a sustainable model of development for the world to behold and replicate.”

The conference is jointly organized by the CBTF, IFOAM, the Tanzania Organic Agriculture Movement (TOAM) and Export Promotion of Organic Products from Africa (EPOPA), in cooperation with the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Cooperatives of United Republic of Tanzania, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), and the? International Trade Centre (UNCTAD/World Trade Organization (WTO)).? The conference is part of the East African Organic Agriculture Initiative being implemented with the financial support of the European Union and Sida.

The EAOS and the conference are expected to boost organic trade and market development in the region, raise awareness about organic agriculture among farmers and consumers, and create a unified negotiating position that should help East African organic farmers win access to export markets and influence international standards related to organic agriculture. In addition to its economic benefits, organic agriculture offers an array of environmental, social, health, food security and cultural benefits for developing countries.
Work on the East African Organic Standard began in 2005.

For more information about the conference, please visit:

The EAOS and other documents are available at the following websites:

See also UNCTAD Information Notes
December 11th 2006 (UNCTAD/PRESS/IN/2006/028)
March 6th 2006 (UNCTAD/PRESS/IN/2006/003), and
October 19th 2005 (UNCTAD/PRESS/IN/2005/034).

And IFOAM Press releases of December 13th 2006 and March 8th 2006.

Quick Links:
Overview of the current state of the organic sector in East Africa
UNCTAD Trade and Environment Review 2006
UNEP-UNCTAD Capacity Building Task Force on Trade, Environment and Development

IFOAM Press Release, Responsible: Angela B. Caudle, Contact: Neil Sorensen

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