What is organic farming?
Organic farming is an agricultural system that seeks to provide the consumer, with fresh, tasty food that is produced in natural ways.
This is a business opportunity that serves a niche market and is therefore very attractive to entrepreneurs in the agricultural sector. The recent debate on the introduction of Genetically Modified Organisms should serve as a pointer on the demand in the market for healthy and natural food produce.
Some of the principles that are followed in natural production of food include;
- Wide crop rotation – for an efficient use of on-site resources
- Very strict limits on chemical synthetic pesticide and synthetic fertilizer use, livestock antibiotics, food additives and processing aids and other inputs
- Absolute prohibition of the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs)
- Using livestock manure instead of artificial fertilizer.
- Choosing plant and animal species that are resistant to disease and adapted to local conditions
- Raising livestock in free-range, open-air systems and providing them with organic feed
- Using animal husbandry practices appropriate to different livestock species
Organic Marketing in Kenya
As a conservative estimate, the organic markets are growing by between 15- 20%, most of growth being experienced in the vegetable market sector. This shift of consumption to healthy foods has been pushed by widespread cultivation of vegetables along polluted rivers with a risk of heavy metal contamination. There has also been mushrooming of herbal clinics all over the country which have a common message: eat local, traditional organic foods.
Organic food market comprises mostly of upper-middle income population. Expatriates and well educated Kenyans lead the way. Shopping malls in the up market areas have recorded impressive growth of health shops most of which are selling imported health supplements. This trend will continue to facilitate faster development of organic markets in Kenya.
The Kenya Organic Agricultural Network (KOAN) is the National Coordinating body for Organic Agricultural activities in Kenya. You can join them to get training and marketing services.
Kenya Institute of Organic Farming (KIOF) is a Non Governmental Organization (NGO) that specializes in training and offering support services to organic farmers.
Other Businesses in Agriculture: