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KCOA is a collaborative country-led partnership that aims to scale up adoption of organic and agroecological farming practices through a network of five Knowledge Hubs in Africa. Within KCOA, the implementing organisations have three main objectives: to improve access to knowledge on organic agriculture and agroecology; to strengthen the technical and professional capacity of multipliers; and to foster networking and strengthen relationships in the sector across the continent.

Organic agriculture: promoting knowledge exchange and networks

Global project Knowledge Centre for Organic Agriculture and Agroecology in Africa

Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)​​​​​​​
Overall term: 2019 to 2026

Context

More than half of all people living in Africa base their livelihood on agriculture; yet, many farmers are impoverished and one-fifth of the population suffers from malnourishment. At the same time, ecosystems and resources must be used carefully.

Organic agriculture promotes food systems that increase food security and improve living conditions, while also respecting the Earth’s ecological limits. Currently, only 0.2 per cent of agricultural land in Africa is dedicated to organic farming. In the past, this has been due to limited knowledge of how organic products are produced, processed and marketed. The Knowledge Center for Organic Agriculture and Agroecology in Africa (KCOA) is working to fill these knowledge gaps by establishing five knowledge hubs.

Objective

Throughout all five African regions, these knowledge hubs intensively promote organic agriculture and agroecology.

Approach

The project is coordinated from Germany. Its measures are being implemented in the regions in cooperation with the following non-governmental organisations:

 
These organisations manage the five knowledge hubs and operate in three fields of action:
  1. They expand access to knowledge on organic agriculture and agroecology by collecting, validating and converting it into suitable formats and languages, as well as making it available on a centralised database.
  2. They boost the technical and professional skills of multipliers in the areas of organic agriculture and agroecology. To this end, they train master trainers and  multipliers on how to disseminate the knowledge in a manner adapted to target groups.
  3. For the purposes of networking across the continent, they strengthen the working relationships between representatives from the value chains, civil society, private sector and state organisations. Furthermore, they promote cost-effective and participatory certification alternatives.
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Knowledge Hub for Organic Agriculture and Agroecology in West Africa
The KHWA is managed by Enda Pronat, FENAB and Agrecol Afrique, each of which coordinates one of the three KCOA fields of action in the region, under the overall supervision of Enda Pronat.
The three organisations are also implementing the project in Senegal and Gambia, with the support of a national consultant.
In the other countries of the cluster, the project is run by the CNOP in Mali, the Centre Songhaï in Benin, and NOAN in Nigeria. 

In particular, the KHWA is working to enhance the value of traditional agro-ecological, agricultural and organic knowledge in the 5 countries, which is conscientiously collected from its holders, verified and validated with the communities and an external committee of experts.  

The KHWA also stands out for its capacity-building and dissemination of knowledge products to multipliers through a multitude of planned distribution channels.

Finally, innovative flagship activities, such as the organic weekends and awareness-raising for the PGS, are helping to create or strengthen networks between the various players in the value chains in the five countries, and to stimulate policy dialogue on scaling up agroecology and organic farming in West Africa.
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Knowledge Hub for Organic Agriculture and Agroecology in North Africa

KHNA enables leading organic institutions in Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco to implement their mission focusing on knowledge management.
KHNA runs under the motto: “Let the knowledge flow for the development of the organic sector and its stakeholders with a focus on smallholders, women and youth.” 
Partners collect traditional and scientific knowledge and support the verification, validation, and dissemination of knowledge products to practitioners and multipliers along the organic and agroecological value chains within KHNA and the whole KCOA network.
KHNA also promotes connections with other actors, improving the sector’s coordination and collaboration.
A cascade system of trainings enables multipliers to implement organic and agroecological innovations in their communities and to disseminate knowledge to them. KHNA has so far facilitated over 250 small projects ranging from enabling conversion to organic agriculture and mitigation of climate change, addressing fertilization and plant protection challenges, to opening and consolidation of new markets. Trainings and other forms of knowledge facilitation and exchanges happen on demonstration plots, where innovative and effective experiments are used as learning methods.

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Knowledge Hub for Organic Agriculture and Agroecology in Southern Africa

KHSA works with country partners in Zambia, Malawi, Namibia and South Africa who deploy sector-wide approaches (with nation-wide stakeholders) or longer-term multiplier support programmes (MSP) with lead farmers or training institutions. The South African-based Sustainability Institute supports project implementation in the region.

PELUM Zambia works with policymakers, lead farmer organisations and media to create awareness of the need for an agroecological farming systems approach. They created a series of knowledge products (KPs), including the multi-ministerial policy briefing pack.
Kasisi Agricultural Training Centre in Zambia works with Farmer Training Centres, creating tailored training curricula and posters.
In Malawi, the Kusamala Institute of Agriculture and Ecology works with media developing the Jargon Dictionary for Food and Farming Systems.
Soils, Food and Healthy Communities conducts a MSP with their Farmer Research Team, creating local-language videos, participatory theatre training guides and a recipe book.
The Namibian Organic Association works with academia and the commercial beef sector to support organics.
The Namibia Nature Foundation runs a MSP with lead farmers transferring the skills and capacity needed to share knowledge.
The South African Organic Sector Organisation and Participatory Guarantee System South Africa conduct the PGS Pollinator Programme, training multipliers to establish and manage PGS groups across the country. 
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Knowledge Hub for Organic Agriculture and Agroecology in East Africa

The Knowledge Hub for Organic Agriculture and Agroecology in Eastern Africa (KHEA) is one of the five Knowledge Hubs under the KCOA project. 

This KHEA Hub is being coordinated by Biovision Africa Trust (BvAT) in Kenya as the lead agency with a co-hosting arrangement with PELUM Uganda. KHEA is currently being implemented in five Eastern Africa countries with Country Implementing Partners (CIPs) as follows: Kenya; PELUM Kenya, Uganda; PELUM Uganda, Rwanda; ROAM, Tanzania; TOAM and Madagascar; GSDM and SYMABIO

The main goal of the KHEA Hub is to integrate Ecological Organic Agriculture (EOA) into the participating countries’ agricultural systems by generating, capturing, and sharing information know-how and integrating these into agricultural practices and decision-making for improved livelihood.

The KHEA Hub has three strategic focus areas of intervention: 

1)    Collecting and or validating knowledge.
2)    Dissemination/Knowledge Sharing.
3)    Market Systems Development and Networking.
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Knowledge Hub for Organic Agriculture and Agroecology in Central Africa

Launched in June 2022 in Cameroon, the Knowledge Hub Central Africa (KHCA) is the last of the 5 hubs set up in the 5 regions of Africa as part of the Knowledge Centre for Organic Agriculture and Agroecology in Africa (KCOA) project.
The KCOA project was launched in 2019 by the German Cooperation (GIZ) supported by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).
For the implementation of the KHCA, which covers Cameroon only for the time being, 5 Cameroonian NGOs have been selected by the German cooperation (GIZ).
They are the Centre International pour la Promotion de la Création (CIPCRE), the Groupement d’Appui pour le Développement Durable (GADD), the Centre Polyvalent de Formation de Mbouo (CPF), the Service d’Appui aux Initiatives Locales de Développement (SAILD) and the Institut Africain de Développement Economique et Social – Formation (INADES Formation).

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