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IPM and Organic Agriculture for Smallholders in Africa

ABSTRACT

The markets for organic produce offer the opportunity for smallholders in Africa (and elsewhere) to increase their income through access to the price premiums paid in Europe and North America. Facing declining soil fertility, the high cost of off-farm inputs and the collapse of state or para-statal input credit schemes, organic farming offers a sustainable solution for resource-poor farming communities, quite apart from the lure of price premiums. The use of purchased inputs is already at a low level in the smallholder sector in Africa and this may allow farm produce to immediately meet organic standards. The principles of IPM can be applied to organic agriculture to achieve adequate pest and disease control with the restricted use of pesticides that is required for farm produce to meet organic standards. The paper describes some of the problems facing smallholders wishing to access organic markets and describes the IPM options available, which meet the standards of organic certification.