AOSA to strengthen Africa’s food security through Organic Standards
The Africa Organic Standards Association (AOSA) has reiterated its commitment to promoting food security in Africa using crop biotechnology advances in the development of new standards for Africa’s growing organic industry.
In a communiqué to the press from AOSA’s headquarters in Zimbabwe, the association decried the lack of a proper networking structure between Africa’s research experts in developing home grown standards that will guarantee the future of Africa’s food security.
“As Africa’s population keeps growing, there is the need to adopt science and technology to sustain the growing demand for nutritious food. AOSA is therefore calling on all agroecologists, crop and soil researchers, scientists and value chain experts across Africa to combine their efforts to move Africa from over dependent on food imports to sustainable food supply in Africa.” Part of the statement read.
AOSA is an international organization registered under the International Federation for Organic Movements (IFOAM) with its headquarters in Zimbabwe, and regional branches in over twenty African countries. The main objective of the organization is the development and coordination of organic and sustainablestandards for Africa’s growing organic industry.
In an Interview with Mr. Charles Ziwa; lead agroecologyconsultant for AOSA, he revealed plans by AOSA to delve into areas of research that are underdeveloped in Africa thus helpingfarmers on the continent to increase their yield while producing nutritious and organic foods.
“As Farmers, we strive to grow delicious, nutritious, pest-free produce. We buy the right fertilizers and pesticides, measure pH and PPMs, prune, stake and monitor our environment. Even withall this effort, there is one measurement that many overlook; the brix. Increasing this one measurement will improve the flavor, nutrition and shelf- life of your produce. It will also keep pests at bay.
Low brix values mean poor nutrition, which leads to pests’attacks. Pests are nature’s clean-up crew. They ensure natural selection in plants. Only the strong survive. Plants with a brix value over 12 per cent are much less likely to have pest issues, if they have them at all. It’s only when a plant is weak and sick that bugs attack to clean up the mess. When a plant has deficiencies, simple sugars and incomplete proteins leak out to the surface of the leaves and stems, drawing the bugs in for lunch. Brix (symbol °Bx) is essentially a measurement of the sugar content, vitamins, minerals, proteins and other solid content in the sap of a plant, expressed as a percentage.
This is an example of some of the research and training that AOSA is ready to provide for farmers across Africa to increase food safety and security; Farmers are not even aware that simply rebalancing our soils and increasing microbial activity will help to improve brix levels in plants. That is what AOSA is here for”, he revealed.
The country director for AOSA Ghana and lead organic value chain expert for AOSA, Mr. Dwomoh-Doyen Benjamin also disclosed plans by AOSA to develop working value chains to meet Africa’s growing organic food export demand.
“The value chain concept in organic farming is becoming an important component of the development of proper organic standards for the African organic food industry. A properly researched and implemented value chain will help in implementing and improving agroecological farming practices for developing and strengthening robust and resilient farming systems that maintain soil fertility and are adaptive to climate change. This will in turn help to grow the African organic food industry.
Farmers and processors in Africa will be trained on adaptive organic value chains that have been developed for the African terrain and systems by the team of experts at the Africa Organic Standards Association”, he disclosed.
AOSA has experts in food safety, organic value chain, microbiology, permaculture, agroecology, organic inspection, climatology and a range of modern-day expertise to assist farmers and consumers across Africa.