COALITION FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF ORGANIC FARMING (CAOF)

CAOF is a coalition of individuals, private, non-profit, voluntary non-governmental organizations in Ghana. The aim of the Coalition is to enhance the development of individuals, Private and Voluntary Organizations and actively engage in policy dialogue with Government to promote an environment, supportive of the development initiatives of its members.

Vision

  • Increasing farmers income through sustainable agricultural practices.
  • Partnership objectives: Advocacy, Developing market for Agricultural products.

Mission

Working with farmers in sustainable agriculture and engage in policy dialogue to promote an environment supportive of the production and marketing of healthy farm products

Objective

  1. Promote the development of individuals and member organizations in Ghana acting as both a focal point in the dissemination of information and a catalyst synergizing the promotion of organic agriculture.
  2. Collect, analyze, share and disseminate information relevant to the development process and practice in Ghana, including information on current Government policies and programmes as they relate to socio-economic problems in both urban and rural areas.
  3. Co-ordinate the activities of member organizations as they relate, especially, to the aim of the Association, and liaise between them, Government and the business sector.
  4. Seek funding to support approved projects and support activities of CAOF and its members from both local and international sources.
  5. To advise the Government on matters of interest of the Association and to integrate NGO efforts more effectively into National Development Programmes.
  6. Promote gender equity at both organizational and programme levels within the Association and its associate members
  7. Undertake any other activities necessary for the realization of the stated aims and objectives of the Association.

History

The Coalition for the Advancement of Organic Farming (CAOF) was formed in 2008/09 and is working with the Ghana Grows Organic project in order to create a “strengthened and vibrant movement of organic producers and consumers promoting Ghanaian organic products nationally and internationally.” The organisations under CAOF have been working with their farmers, training and educating them on the benefits of organic farming both in terms of income sustainability and environmental sustainability. Currently CAOF has a membership of 17 Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) working closely to promote organic farming in Ghana.

CAOF over the years have undertaken various projects successfully, some of which include;

  • Working with the BUSAC Fund to advocate on the dangers involved in the misuse of chemicals. This advocacy process was carried to even the parliamentary select committee on Agriculture. This has led to the establishment of an organic desk at the Ministry of Food and Agriculture office in Accra and we hope the next medium term agricultural policy of Ghana will include organic farming.
  • We have also featured in the Time for Climate Justice and We Have Faith Conference and made contributions at COP17. Time for Climate Justice is a global movement led by APRODEV, the association of the 17 major development aid organizations in Europe and working close partners in the global south. We Have Faith is a Pan-African movement of people, faith communities, faith leaders and youth mobilized to represent Africa at COP17.
  • CAOF has been working with the Ghana Grows Organic Consortium which is made up of Christian Aid Ghana, Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) Ghana and Concern Universal Ghana to implement the Northern Ghana Green Markets Projects since 2010. This project piloted the Ghana Green Label Standard in the north and contributed a lot to fine-tuning the Ghana Green Label scheme which was finally launched in September, 2015.
  • CAOF is currently working with Christian Aid Ghana to promote and develop the value chains of selected vegetables in Ghana.

The new strategy for CAOF looks at moving away from a purely advocacy focus to a more practical work in supporting farmers to grow organic food and find markets for the produce. Growing organic still remains the long-term goal but in light of the high standards and costs for organic certification required of farmers to grow organic, supporting farmers to follow good agricultural practices will be used as a stepping stone in the future for our farmers to comply with organic standards. We will do this using all the best organic practices needed to enable us comply with the set standards with or without certification.

CAOF is currently the only viable and vibrant agricultural coalition in the country and seeks to expand to other regions. This will make the coalition even stronger with a bigger voice to influence policy in the sector and help in mitigation and adaptation to climate change.

Partners

The coalition does its work through partners and these partners we acknowledge as being the most important in our quest to realize our aims and objectives. These partners include;

  • Ministry of Food and Agriculture
  • District and Municipal Assemblies
  • The Ghana Standard Authority
  • The Food and Drugs Authority
  • Environmental Protection Agency
  • Ghana Revenue Authority
  • Christian Aid Ghana
  • Concern Universal Ghana
  • Voluntary Services Overseas Ghana
  • Busac Fund
  • Farmers and Farmer based organizations
  • Partner NGOs
  • Individuals and private consumers of our products
  • Ghana Irrigation Development Authority
  • Ghana Shippers Authority
  • Ministry of Trade and Industry
  • Ghana Private Road Transport Union.
  • Ghana Education Service

Planning Process

The participatory approach is our hall mark. Members and partners come together to identify challenges and find ways of addressing them. Planning starts from the grassroots, from farmers’ level to management. Problem analysis is usually carried out with partners to identify core problems and find solutions to them.

Publications

CAOF have prepared two publications based on empirical research they have facilitated and collaborated on. These publications are available to download below.

The Sack Bag Garden Technology paper introduces this innovative technology for food production for people without access to land to farm. The paper presents the results from a pilot study undertaken by Peter Okoth, a volunteer with Youth Harvest Foundation, Bolgatanga. The paper is available here: The Sack Bag Technology CAOF Paper (opens pdf).

CAOF, in collaboration with Voluntary Services Overseas (VSO) Ghana, undertook as study on the potential for the consumption of organic/green fruits and vegetables among middle class consumers in Bolgatanga, Upper East Region. The report, written by Amanda Sturgeon (VSO) and Gerard Agana (CAOF), presents the findings of this study. The paper is available here: Potential for Consumption of Organic Fruit and Vegetables in Bolga CAOF Paper (opens pdf).

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