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    South Africa occupies the southern tip of the African continent, its long coastline stretching more than 2,500 km and across two oceans, the Atlantic and the Indian. It borders the countries of Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and Swaziland. The nation of Lesotho forms an enclave in the eastern part of the country. South Africa extends some 1,500 km from east to west and 1,000 km from north to south, comprising a territory of 1,219,090 km2. South Africa enjoys a generally warm, temperate climate. Most of the country experiences light rainfall and long hours of sunshine.

    Agricultural sector

    South Africa is not only self-sufficient in virtually all major agricultural products, but in a normal year it is also a net food exporter. However, with very low average rainfall and high variability within and between seasons, its agriculture is vulnerable to the effects of drought. The agricultural sector contributes 3.4 % of GDP, accounts about 7 % of exports and employs 10 % of the population. Production includes Maize, cattle and chicken meat, grapes, dairy produce, sugarcane, wheat, eggs, fresh fruits and vegetables. South Africa has a growing reputation as a producer of quality wines, which represent the country's main export commodity by now (FAO, 14.07.2006).

    Overview of organic farming

    South Africa has had an organic sector for many years, although it has grown in 'fits and starts'. It comprises 250 certified farms and 45,000 hectares of certified organic land, which account for 0.05 % of the country's total agricultural area (IFOAM & FiBL 2006). South Africa is one of the two countries - the other is Egypt - with a robust domestic market, although it is underdeveloped and there are few, if any, price premiums for organic products. Most organic growers therefore look to Europe as their outlet area (IFOAM 2003). South Africa is also a market destination for organic produce from nearby southern African states, particularly Mozambique.

    Key organic products

    Certified organic production started with rooibos tea, mangoes, avocados, herbs, spices, and vegetables (ITC 1999). It has expanded to include a much wider range of products: organic wines, olive oil, speciality vegetables and berries, citrus, sub-tropical fruit, and dairy products have become major export commodities (IFOAM 2003). Different sorts of vegetables and culinary herbs form the core of the organic produce sold in South Africa itself (EPOPA 2006).

    The network

    Two key organizations promoting organic agriculture in South Africa are the Organic Agricultural Association of South Africa (OAASA) and the Biodynamic Agricultural Association of South Africa (BDAASA). Both non-profit membership organisations intend to further the organic movement by providing a network for all stakeholders. Their activities comprise public relations, teaching and training, publishing and other forms of information dissemination.

    Two local certification agencies exist. Afrisco, which is associated with Ecocert, is in the process of becoming ISO accredited, so that it will soon be able to provide EU certification.

    Biodynamic Agricultural Association of Southern Africa (BDAASA)
    Coordinator: Piet A. Gernaat
    P.O. Box 115
    Paulshof 2056, South Africa
    Tel./Fax: +27-11-8037191
    Email: pietgernaat@hotmail.com
    Website: www.bdaasa.org.za 

    Organic Agriculture Association of South Africa (OAASA),
    a.k.a. Organics South Africa (OSA)
    Coordinator: James Moffett
    P.O. Box 98347
    Sloane Park 2156, South Africa
    Tel.: +27-11-7062672
    Fax: +27-11-7942169
    Email: oaasa@ananzi.co.za
    Website: www.oaasa.co.za 

    External Support

    The South African organic agriculture sector has been receiving support from the following external organisations amongst others:

    African Organic Farming Foundation (AOFF)
    Centre for the Promotion of Imports from Developing Countries (CBI)
    Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO)
    International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movement (IFOAM)
    International Trade Centre (ITC) 


    • IFOAM & FiBL (2006): The World of Organic Agriculture. Statistics and Emerging Trends 2006. International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM), Bonn & Research Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBL, Frick, pp. 27-35.
    • IFOAM (2003): Organic and Like-Minded Movements in Africa. International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM), Bonn, pp.102-108.
    • FAO, 14.07.2006: Key Statistics of Food and Agriculture External Trade. Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Statistics Division. URL: www.fao.org/es/ess/toptrade/trade.asp?dir=exp&country=3&ryear=2004 and www.fao.org/es/ess/top/country.html?lang=en.
    • EPOPA (2006): South African Organic Market Study. Export Promotion of Organic Products from Africa (EPOPA).
    • ITC (1999): Organic Food and Beverages: World Supply and Major European Markets. International Trade Centre (ITC), Geneva.
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