Conversion to organic farming through training and coaching

Case studies from Ghana and Zimbabwe

Launched in 2022, the Fit For Market Plus (FFM+) programme is committed to assisting the agriculture sectors of African, Caribbean, and Pacific countries in transitioning to more sustainable agricultural and food systems. This aligns with the action priorities outlined in the EU Green Deal’s Farm to Fork strategy. To date, we have responded to 870 applications for support under the FFM+ programme and implemented of the first development projects is well underway, through a combination of collective training and individual coaching sessions. The post-training support is crucial as it allows partner beneficiaries to tailor what they’ve learned to their unique professional contexts. In the second half of 2023, COLEAD conducted 70 collective training courses, with an additional 100 foreseen during the first semester of 2024. These courses (see training catalogue here) cover eight key themes in sustainable agriculture.

Post-training support was organised for MSMEs in Ghana and Zimbabwe following their participation in the collective distance learning course on “organic farming”. A COLEAD expert was brought in to evaluate how their shift to organic farming intertwined with the revision of their respective action plans.

In Zimbabwe, the tailor-made support was specifically directed at the sweet potato value chain, examining how to certify products from farmer groups across various regions. The expert analised the complex supply model and identified additional challenges in adhering to the new EU organic farming regulation. This analysis offered the company a more pragmatic timeline and aided in making more informed decisions regarding the time and investment required to enter the European market with organic sweet potatoes.

In Ghana, support was made available to companies involved in producing and processing citrus fruits and fresh vegetables. For a business already certified organic but looking to establish group organic certification, the focus is on advisory support in developing an internal control system and managing certification from the production stage to the final processed product. For a company seeking to certify its own operations, the post-training support centers on clarifying the significant operational and financial implications of transitioning to organic production, as well as identifying further capacity-building needs. This comprehensive post-training support facilitates a more informed decision-making process regarding the feasibility and profitability of entering the organic export market.

This activity is supported by the Fit For Market Plus (FFM+) programme, implemented by COLEAD within the Framework of Development Cooperation between the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS) and the European Union. This publication receives financial support from the European Union and the OACPS. The content of this publication is the sole responsibility of COLEAD and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Union or the OACPS.