Saturday, 30 June 2012

Organic farming system in Kenya

This is an agriculture system which excludes or strictly limits the use of manufactured fertilizers, pesticides, plant growth regulators such as hormones, livestock antibiotics and food additives. Genetically modified organisms or GMOs and their products are prohibited in organic farming.
The seed therefore must  not be GMOs or chemically treated.Organic agriculture therefore is a farming system which involves using a variety of techniques to achieve good plant and animal yields without harming the natural environment or the people who live and work in it. The natural farming system does not mean going back to traditional methods .Organic agriculture takes the best traditional methods and combines with modern scientific knowledge. The farmers’ use all the available knowledge, techniques and materials to work with nature. Therefore the farmer creates a healthy balance between nature and farming, where crops and animals can grow and thrive.  Kenya exports most of its crop to Europe and therefore the EUREGAP or good agricultural practices are supposed to be adhered to. The following are some of the regulations that should be observed in organic agriculture, in order to acquire European Union certification.

The following rules and regulations shall apply to organic plant farming in accordance with law EC 834/2007 of the European Commission.
a)      Organic plant farming shall use tillage and cultivation practices that maintain or increase soil natural matter, enhance soil stability and biodiversity, prevents soil compaction and soil erosion.
b)     The fertility and biological activity of the soil shall be maintained and increased by multi-annual crop rotation which includes legumes and other green manure crops and by application of livestock manures or organic material both preferably composted from natural materials.
c)     The use of biodynamic preparations is allowed.
d)     Fertilizers and soil conditioners may only be used if they have been authorized for use in this system of farming
e)     Mineral nitrogen fertilizers shall not be used.
f)      All plant growing techniques used shall prevent or minimize any contribution to the contamination of the environment.
g)     The prevention of damage caused by pests, diseases and weeds shall rely primarily on protection by natural enemies, choice of species and varieties, crop rotation, cultivation techniques and thermal processes.
h)     In case of an established threat to a crop, plant protection products may only be used if they have been authorized for use this system of farming under article 16
i)     For the production of products other than seed and vegetative propagation material, only organically produced seed and propagating material shall be used. to this end the mother plant in case of seed and the parent plant in case of vegetative propagation material shall have been produced in accordance with The rules laid down in this regulation for at least one plant generation, or two growing seasons in case of  perennial crops.
j)   Products for cleaning and disinfection in plant production shall only be used if they have been authorized for use in organic farming.
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