There are less than 10 years left to implement the United Nations 2030 Agenda for sustainable development. The goal of the agenda is to ensure a better and more sustainable future for all people around the world. To achieve that, there are 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) which address challenges the world is facing such as poverty, inequality, climate change, environmental degradation etc.
East Africa is one of the top destinations for African safaris. Some of the highlights for wildlife safaris in East Africa include mountain gorilla tours, wildebeest migration safari, hiking Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.
Away from the traditional safari activities is the growing interest in rural and community tourism. Home stays and community tours in east Africa provide an authentic experience and better understanding of people, their arts and culture.
One of the positive impacts of rural tourism to the local economies is greater demand for food that is produced locally as many people travel to a destination. The more food that is demanded by hotels and restaurants to serve their guests, the more the ability local food has to contribute to the development of rural communities that produce it.
This brings us to the concept of organic tourism. In East Africa, there are opportunities to visit organic farms as part of a safari experience. This can be done through connecting with one of the destination hosts for the World Wide Opportunities On Organic Farms (WWOOF).
World Wide Opportunities On Organic Farms
This movement was founded in 1971 in the United Kingdom with the goal to link travellers with organic farmers, promote a cultural and educational exchange and build a global community conscious of ecological farming and sustainable practices.
East African has become a region of interest for the WWOOF. In Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya and Tanzania there are members who have established their organic farms and properties which can be included on safari itinerary. Some of the farms operate on commercial and non-commercial work with a common goal.
These sustainable farms connect travelers who want to live and learn on organicfarms. The hosting communities provide food, homestay accommodation and opportunities to learn about the organic and self-sufficient lifestyles. Visitors participate in a number of daily activities that take place on the farm and family at a home/ farm visited.
Benefits of Visiting Organic Farms in East Africa.
- Eating fresh food from the farms.
- Home stay experience where you share meals with the host family
- Authentic cultural experiences
- Share daily life with farmers and growers
- Learn about agro-ecological methods and sustainable tourism.
Organic tourism can be defined as a form of tourism that brings travelers into direct contact with agricultural activities at organic farms. Organic tourism falls under eco-tourism which is defined by The International Ecotourism Society (TIES) as responsible travel to natural areas that conserve the environment, sustains the wellbeing of the local people and involves interpretation and education. In other words, agro-tourism represents a driving force for 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s). In particular Sustainable Development goal 2: Zero Hunger. There are targets set to achieve zero hunger by 2030; agro-tourism fits in the need to “ensure sustainable food production systems and implement resilient agricultural practices that increase productivity and production, that helps maintain ecosystems that strengthen capacity for adaptation to climate change, extreme weather, drought, flooding and other disasters and that progressively improve land and soil quality”
Therefore, farm tours and homestays are linked to how sustainable tourism is helping rural communities and travelers alike to live sustainable lifestyles. Below are the organic farms you can visit in Destination East Africa.
WWOOF Featured Hosts in Uganda
There are about six featured hosts and members of Worldwide Opportunities For Organic Farming. These include the following: –
- Loof Eli farm located in Bujuko, Wakiso district along the Kampala-Masaka highway. This Farm is established on 28 acres of land with both commercial and no commercial operations. This host type offers agri-tourism, community farming, education, family gardening, fruit tree nursery and livestock farm that includes animals like turkeys, bees, cows, poultry, ducks and goats.
- Eco-retreat is located in Kole district northern Uganda. The farm is established on 2.4 acres of land owned by an Italian lay missionary whose goal is to support elders in the area by building their homes.
- Eran Farm House in Kayunga district eastern Uganda
- Kitoma Community Based Organization in Isingiro district. This CBO is certified by the government of Uganda. It has a farm established on 3 acres of land offering herb garden, mushroom garden, flower garden, fruit garden, eco-homestay experience. The animals reared at the farm include fish, rabbits, frogs, bees, birds, chicken, cows, pigs and goats.
- Masika Calvin farm along Kasese road
- Tourism city organic farm in Fort Portal town, western Uganda.
WWOOF Featured Hosts in Kenya
Kenya has the largest number of Worldwide Opportunities for Organic farming. There are over 87 featured hosts found in areas like Nairobi the capital of Kenya, Kisumu, Kendu bay, Kisii, Mfangano Island, Mbita and Homa bay.
WWOOF Organic farms in Tanzania
Tanzania has 7 hosts of worldwide opportunities for organic farming. The farms are found in areas of Arusha town, the safari capital of Tanzania, Dodoma town, Kazimkazi beach in Zanzibar islands, Kilimanjaro and Ruvuma southern Tanzania.
WWOOF featured hosts in Rwanda
There are three WWOOF hosts in Rwanda. One is found in Kigali city, the second in Huye and the third in Nyanza southern province.