SAOSO is guided by the
Section 24 of the South African Constitution which states that everyone has the right to an
environment that is not harmful to their health or well being, and to protect the environment for present and future generations.
SAOSO is a NATIONAL
non-profit organisation consisting of individuals, groups, and organisations of people throughout Mzanzi, who identify with the aims of SAOSO.
SAOSO has launched a set of South African Organic standards, that are supported by key stakeholders within the Organic sector.
The standards will allow for consolidation of the Organic sector in South Africa and furthermore, will allow for ethical access by farmers to the marketplace.
A grassroots movement toward organic culture
Through supporting small-scale local farmers and at this critical time where a focused ecological action is needed, SAOSO will help enable agroecology systems to flourish across the country, proving vital for her food system.
The Emerging Organic Sector is defining our Food Heritage and best-practice land use.
Support of local farmers will assist to transform South Africa’s economy through a vibrant agricultural sector that will lead to social reform that will benefit all the people of South Africa.
Interacting with Government
SAOSO is the sector body that will engage with government around legislation, advocating environmentally sound practices that will allow our food system to develop toward a sustainable African model.
We aim to positively influence Government policy and legislation as it affects the organic sector. SAOSO does this through quarterly meetings of the Organic Sector Strategy Implementing Committee (OSSIC). This Committee is represented by The Department of Trade and Industry (dti); Department of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries (DAFF); Department of Land Development and Land Reform (DLDLR); Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA); Agricultural Research council (ARC); AgriSETA and; SAOSO.
SAOSO is pushing to have both the National Policy on Organic Production (10th draft), and the National Strategy on Agroecology (4th draft) promulgated. Without an organic policy, there is no budget allocation for farmers who would prefer to farm using the principles of Agroecology.
It is important to note that ‘Conservation Agriculture’ is deemed by Government as broadly following the principles of Agroecology. 'Conservation Agriculture' does not follow the principles of Agroecology, as it is not a sustainable agricultural method and is not supported by Organic Agriculture. Advocacy and education are ongoing with SAOSO on a national level.
In addition to matters of policy, SAOSO is actively engaging with partners to overcome challenges in respect of the continued push for GMOs. We will continue to advocate for safe food for consumers and will agitate for food and soil safety tests for herbicide residues.
South Africa has lagged behind the rest of Africa in realising organic agriculture. The existing chemical based farming methods are proving to be unsustainable and are not delivering on their promises to combat the effects of the current drought and climate change. (Read, the 30-year study of Organic Agriculture vs. Conventional, here.)
With local demand for organic produce growing and South Africa a net importer of organic produce, we see increasing distribution opportunities for farmers of organic produce. The sector has grown through third-party international standards which are only affordable for larger farms. Now, through the Participatory Guarantee System (PGS), we see the smallholder farmers able to enter into the sector, supported by knowledge exchange and distribution mechanisms.
SAOSO aims to create, maintain, and service a vibrant, cooperative and credible organic community, providing valuable services to the environment and society while providing healthy food for local communities and opening up opportunities with international markets.
To realize economic value from local and global markets through support of triple-bottom-line-values and benefits that are generated from sustainable and fair trade practices. For this to happen, we need a strong well represented and supported South African Organic Sector Organisation.
Uganda leads the way in Africa, experiencing a growth in the number of organic farmers of 359% during the five years 2002 – 2007 and a 60% increase in land under organic production, yet in South Africa, the recent FiBL report reflected an overall decline in the total farm land under certified organic management. (Link )
SAOSO promotes organic and agroecological practices in line with IFOAM’s definition and principles and other leading agroecology organisations
Many international organisations such as OXFAM and FAO promote Agroecology as the only sustainable farming method in these times of climate change and drought (Organic agriculture, environment and food security, 2002)
South Africa, and Namibia through maize imports, are the only countries in the word whose staple food is genetically modified.
Food safety issues around pesticide use have been mainstream with a number of countries banning GMO’s and their companion herbicide, Glyphosate. Despite the fact that the majority of our population consume maize as a staple, of which 86% is genetically modified in South Africa, there seems to be little concern for the health consequences that impact our population despite the fact that the World Health Organisation has declared Glyphosate a ‘likely carcinogen’.
SAOSO Steering Committee
082 719 7263 (Gauteng)
076 433 4578 (Western Cape)
079 486 8249 (Eastern Cape)
082 298 6020 (Limpopo)
082 808 9471 (Secretariat, Gauteng)