Organic Business Guide/About this book

The Organic Business Guide
Developing sustainable value chains with smallholders

by Bo van Elzakker (Agro Eco Louis Bolk Institute, The Netherlands, (
and Frank Eyhorn (Helvetas Organic & Fair Trade Competence Centre, Switzerland, (

Sales of organic products are steadily increasing, and so is organic production in low and middle income countries. For good reason: for farmers it is an opportunity to increase their income and manage their land in a more sustainable way. Getting the produce from the field to the market requires a certain level of organisation, management and finance; a well-functioning organic business. Whether set up in the form of a producer cooperative or a private company, the organic business needs to be efficient, well structured and profitable.

This guide is written for those who are actively engaged in setting up or managing organic businesses with groups of smallholders. It provides practical know-how and essential information for planning, managing and expanding such a business. Covering topics from designing production and internal control systems to business planning and marketing, it attempts to be a comprehensive reference book for organic entrepreneurs, cooperatives and facilitators.

The guide was developed in a participatory process involving people who are active and experienced in managing or supporting organic businesses in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. It draws on a wide range of practical examples and provides links to useful resources available on the internet.

In cooperation with:

  • HELVETAS - Swiss Association for International Cooperation
  • Agro Eco - Louis Bolk Institute
  • ICCO - Dutch Interchurch Organisation for Development Co-operation
  • UNEP - United Nations Environment Programme

English language editing: Sheila Taylor (Kulika, Uganda)
Set-up of wikibook version: Patrick Bottermann

The Organic Business Guide provides you with several tools that will help you to get your business started and keep it running - some of which were already displayed in the Annex. The link below will take you to some "ready-to-use" word and excel documents, which are hosted on the website of the Organic and Fairtrade Competence Center:

Tools to The Organic Business Guide

Print copies of this publication are available via the IFOAM web shop at The tools in the Annex are available in electronic format from -> Publications. Any reproduction in full or part of this publication is encouraged, but must identify the title of the publication and IFOAM as the publisher.