Let the Knowledge Flow:
For an integral and sustainable future of our environment and people
Organic agriculture plays a crucial role in overcoming hunger and malnutrition of the people living today and through its sustainability creates the conditions for future generations to feed a growing world population permanently. The Knowledge Hub for Organic Agriculture in North Africa (ORGANAK) shall become an innovative network for promoting organic agriculture. It is one out of four knowledge hubs for organic agriculture of the project Knowledge Centre for Organic Agriculture in Africa (KCOA) financed by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and implemented by GIZ. Actors in the region include Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco. The Hub provides important knowledge on organic agriculture for all people along the entire value chain. Not just policy makers and big producers or processors shall be reached and be the ones to profit but also small farmers and every single consumer who is interested in learning about organic agriculture and the benefits of sustainability. We want to reach as many people as possible: it is in everybody’s hand to be part of the change to make our future greener and brighter.
The network is also guided by common principles and visions regarding a sustainable future of the economy as well as the social and cultural sphere. True cost accounting, awareness of individual opportunities and development as well as a holistic education are examples of these visions.
The first part of the mission consists of collecting organic knowledge in manifold ways. Validating the collected knowledge is the second part and is carried out by expert staff. The validated knowledge then needs to be disseminated in order to make it broadly used in the everyday practice of all stakeholders. Spreading the knowledge is an essential part of our mission.
With those three parts of the mission successfully undertaken, the final part can be completed: stakeholders in the organic sector are well interconnected and improve their conditions, thereby contributing to an integral and sustainable future of our environment and people.
Main Principles at a Glance
- We are a network of people in North African villages who are committed to bring knowledge on organic agriculture to community members.
- We collect knowledge and create a database including texts, videos, podcasts, social media posts etc.
- We verify knowledge and display it well-organized on a virtual platform and in demonstration sites.
- All interested people are welcome to subscribe free of cost to benefit from knowledge sharing and to receive relevant information regularly.
- Selected Rural Service Providers are trained to implement micro-interventions in their communities to disseminate the knowledge.
- Our network penetrates the whole value chain as well as governments in order to promote the flow of sector knowledge and thus enhance trade and development in an improving policy environment.
Why and How: Project Details
Numerous impact studies have shown the potential of organic farming and agroecology. All participants and supporters of the ORGANAK strongly believe in the great positive impact that organic agriculture has on the environment and the people. They want to raise awareness for this fact, and they want to invite as many stakeholders as possible to join them on their mission for more sustainability.
Organic farmers manage an entire ecosystem geared to producing food. Thus, their work influences not only the environment of today and tomorrow but also the well-being and the food security of their present community and future generations. Organic agriculture protects the consumer and the environment while serving the high-potential organic market which in turn leads to enhanced economic possibilities and an improved livelihood.
The studies concluded that more knowledge would be key to any effort to boost sustainability in farming. Conventional farmers and even established companies or institutions often not only lack the knowledge but also the access to knowledge about the advantages of sustainable organic farming. Many times, only a small impulse is needed to start something big. This is true for every part of the value chain, i.e. farmers, processors, traders, service providers, government and consumers.
Therefore, we are working hard to collect, verify and spread organic knowledge. The Hub is strictly impartial towards stakeholders and is purely oriented on the overall objective. Our knowledge management system relies on various interconnected elements. The most important elements rely on the participation of interested and like-minded individuals.
Multipliers are individuals who are well rooted in their communities. They have the ambition and motivation to contribute to the sustainable development of their village and play a key role as agents for the delivery of knowledge. They may come from all walks of live and may be, for example, farmers, traders, teachers, intellectuals and returning university graduates, government representatives, advisors or seeker of an individual business.
The multipliers, organize face-to-face micro-interventions to spread knowledge to farmers, farmer associations and processors and promote, for instance, information about business opportunities.
The social platform unites like-minded people from remote areas. It enables a lively interactive dialog with information and debates relevant for organic farming – no matter if certified or not. Examples of such information and debates could be GMO legislation trends, latest research findings, seed access opportunities, organic events, donor project opportunities etc.
We share newsletters on a regular basis and give users the chance to comment and discuss. The platform provides the opportunity for associates to publish their posts and news and to present and promote themselves and their activities. Using and interacting on the platform is free of charge.
The demonstration plots in Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco offer public access to important basic information discussed in the national organic movement.
Interested people can visit the plots and see first-hand how organic farming looks like. Visitors for example may experience and learn about soil fertilization strategies, cropping technologies, use of companion plants or livestock plant production interactions. In addition to the information on the display panels, there are also print materials to take along, plus a publicly accessible library.
Behind the social platform, we established a knowledge database including a wealth of leaflets, website links, videos, podcasts, e-books, photo series, social media posts, experience reports, conference papers, slide presentations, posters etc. The sources include traditional, practical and scientific knowledge, nationally, regionally, across the continent and across continents. We give free access to all this organic knowledge to all subscribers.
Background and Backbone: Our Partners
German Development Cooperation
The German Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) identified potential for organic agriculture in Africa to contribute to food security, sustainable development and the conservation of biodiversity. In order to promote organic agriculture, GIZ on behalf of BMZ initiated a network of four regional knowledge hubs for organic agriculture in Africa and mandated mainly African partner organizations to implement these hubs in Southern, Eastern, West and North Africa.
SEKEM Friends Association Germany coordinates the North African Organic Knowledge Hub. We chose three countries to build up the ORGANAK and hope that many others will join. Our partner institutions are highly qualified, long experienced and deeply connected to the organic sector in their countries. Learn more about our partners:
SEKEM (Heliopolis University for Sustainable Development and SEKEM Development Foundation)
Since 1977, SEKEM is the umbrella of a multifaceted agro-industrial group of business companies and NGOs encompassing a variety of socio-cultural-human development institutions. SEKEM institutions are regarded as outstanding world-class, socio-business corporations. In 2003, the Right Livelihood Foundation awarded SEKEM and its founder with the prestigious “Alternative Nobel Prize”.
Heliopolis University for Sustainable Development (HU) is the 1st non-profit university in Egypt and the Middle East with Sustainable Development as its main underlying principle. HU consists of 5 faculties, including the Faculty of Organic Agriculture, as well as a Social Innovation Center. The foci are educational and research efforts on the advancement of sustainable development in Egypt and in the world.
CTAB is an institution of the Government of Tunisia and represents its competence center for nationwide knowledge management for organic agriculture. The mission of CTAB includes organizing training and extension activities for organic operators in the country and to conduct applied research on all aspects of organic agriculture to be applied and adapted to farm conditions in different regions in the country. Its other objectives include providing technical support to organic operators and working with organic producers to oversee the diffusion and communication of information that can enhance their productivity.
FIMABIO is officially recognized as the umbrella representative of the organic sector. Its mission is to define and implement together with the government a strategy for the future development of organic agriculture. It also offers technical assistance to farmers and engages in the extension of good practices. FIMABIO unites three professional associations representing the three key organic actors in Morocco:
- Production with “ANAPROBIO” the Moroccan Association of Organic Producers;
- Valorization with “VALBIO MAROC” The Moroccan Association of Organic Processors; and
- Distribution with “ANADEXBIO” The Moroccan Association of Organic Distributers and Exporters.
If you want to learn more about the project or if you have any questions, contact us – we are happy to hear from you!