The 2024 Kenya Organic Data Survey report, conducted by the Kenya Organic Agriculture Network (KOAN), has shed light on the steady expansion of organic farming practices throughout Kenya. This comprehensive survey, based on data collected in 2023 from the annual organic data survey of 2022, aims to enhance the sector’s understanding and inform decision-making processes within the organic farming domain.

The findings of the survey reveal a notable surge in the adoption of organic farming methods among farmers, leading to an increase in cultivated acreage and the proliferation of organic farms across the country. Organic farming, characterized by its sustainable agricultural practices utilizing ecologically based pest controls and biological fertilizers derived mainly from animal and plant waste, has garnered increased interest among farmers.

According to the report, Kenya has witnessed a substantial rise in the number of organic farms, escalating from 8,004 in 2007 to 62,626 in 2022. Additionally, the country has experienced a surge in organic land area, escalating from 84,538 hectares in 2007 to 171,298 hectares in 2022.

Eustace Kiarii, the Chief Executive Officer of KOAN, addressed the growing trend during the 5th Organic Business Workshop in Nairobi, highlighting the escalating awareness and demand for organic products both domestically and internationally. He emphasized the recognized benefits of organic farming for human health, the environment, and the economy, attributing the sector’s growth to these factors.

Despite facing challenges such as access to markets and certification costs, stakeholders within the organic sector are actively exploring opportunities for innovation and collaboration to promote sustainable practices and cater to consumer demands.

Samuel Ndungu, the Programmes Manager at KOAN, revealed that during the reporting period, the organization facilitated the certification of 1,634 farmers under the Participatory Guarantee System (PGS) program, covering a total acreage of 2,520 acres. Certification under the Kiliomohai Organic mark ensures adherence to organic standards, ensuring healthy and chemical-free food production.

The organic market in Kenya offers a diverse array of products, encompassing 347 different items broadly categorized into organic vegetables, fruits, roots, and tubers. Ndungu highlighted the significant demand for various organic products, surpassing the available supply, presenting an opportunity for farmers and producers to expand operations and meet the escalating demand.

However, the report also identifies challenges within the organic sector, including farming techniques, marketing, distribution, and supply chain management. Ndungu stressed the importance of addressing these challenges to bridge the gap between demand and supply for organic products.

The survey further reveals notable growth in the production and consumption of various products, with sweet potatoes leading at 502,000 units, followed by butternut at 420,000 units. Despite certain products being well-supplied, others like passion fruit, arrowroots, and kale face supply gaps, indicating areas for improvement in production and distribution efforts.

To bolster the organic sector, Ndungu suggested increasing marketing efforts, expanding organic shops, and offering subsidies on organic products to raise awareness, enhance access, lower prices, and stimulate demand. KOAN’s systematic data collection since 2007 has provided valuable insights into Kenya’s organic farming landscape, guiding stakeholders towards sustainable growth and development.

The Kenya Organic Agriculture Network (KOAN), a national membership organization, plays a pivotal role in coordinating, facilitating, and providing leadership and professional services to members and stakeholders within the organic agriculture industry in Kenya.