A recent article notes that more producers in central Kenya are turning to organic coffee in order to take advantage of price premiums. This is welcome news, as over the last 15 years or so, Kenya has been one of the heaviest users of pesticides on its export crops, with around 60% of its pesticide use on coffee (primarily the large estates). The FAO reports that in 2001 (last year full data is available) Kenya used 303 metric tons of insecticides on its crops (215 of which were nasty organophosphates) versus 153 in Ethiopia and 69 in Rwanda.
Inadequate training, sanitation, and protective gear meant workers and the environment suffered from contamination. Less than 1% of Kenya’s total agricultural area is now organic, but organic agriculture stakeholders have formed the Kenya Agriculture Organic Network to support the successful growth of the sector.