Area: Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania
Participants: University of Copenhagen, Aaarhus University, Univresity of Nairobi, Makerere, Sokoine, ICROFS
Products: Vegetables, Fruits, Dairy
Intensification drivers: Certification of organic produce, training and resource use efficiency, changes agronomic practices, some processing
Report: Please download the complete Light Case Study report here.

Through a series of studies, researchers have investigated the effect of organic certification on farming system practices and livelihoods. The study includes a variety of researches, across a number of projects for the past 10 years or more.

The studies touch upon two main aspects: Firstly, technical aspects of organic farming, agronomic constraints, aspects of crop handling, pest control etc. Overall, the work shows that agronomic challenges for certified farmers are not the major challenges, and that they do not differ substantially for those of comparable conventional producers. The second aspect deals with issues of certification, value chains and innovation systems. The studies demonstrate the power or certification, training and organisation of farmers to reach high values markets and negotiate good prices.

While these characteristics of organisation are not unique to organic farmers, they are characteristic, in that group certification of smallholders is the preferred (and only low-cost option) model for organic certification in the region. Studies also show that revenues are generally higher for certified farmers, although direct comparison is problematic, due to problems of reference groups. Profitability is mainly ensured through lower input prices, rather than necessarily increased production or substantially higher selling prices.

The importance of training, certification and quality insurance are highlighted throughout the studies, and the importance of development incentives, eg through individual grading of produce and quality premiums as an important driver of agronomic development. In summary, the case demonstrates the organic production as an important and growing development pathway, for smallholder farmers across a large range of products in the region.