Monthly Archive: October 2012

Oct 29

I Am Organic

I am organic. It is how I live, make decisions, eat, raise my family, create my livelihood and visualise the future.

Organic is my culture. I am passionate about the mountain ‘Pukematekeo’ that I am enveloped by, and springs that feed the streams that soften the land that nurtures me and my family. I am intimate with these details, and give thanks to the simple pleasures I am gifted. By having an attitude of gratitude, I find I am open to learning. I protect these gifts and share the knowledge, practice and intelligence of my culture when asked. My children learn by doing.


Organic is being human. It joins me with others irrespective of their race, creed or language. The roots of our practices that binds us is like jazz; collective, spontaneous improvisation.  Deep Organics is not complicated, nor is its essence found in rules and regulations, but I acknowledge these constructs as symptoms of human frailty. I am not afraid of these; I see them for what they are and am happy to work with them.

Being Organic, I am part of the mosaic of life. I love the ‘big picture’, being part of the raising of human consciousness. My focus however is always based from the daily rhythms of our family farm, gardens and the food on our table shared with family and friends. Organics is a simple, gentle life that keeps me humble.

IFOAM is the home of the global family of Organics. Like those before me I am proud to work to make the home strong and more hospitable. I cherish the knowledge openly shared by others. I trust as you do in me that we strive to make the world an Organic one. This gives me courage.

Leadership serves. I have been a World Board (2005-2008), chair of the nomination committee for the 2011 elections and have worked on GOMA. I am currently a Board member of BioGro (IFOAM accredited member) on the IFOAM Standards Requirements Committee and actively participate in the Sustainable Organic Agriculture Action Network (SOAAN).

Brendan Hoare


Oct 24

IDEAL Providence Farms: Be Open for any Improvement towards Organic Development

I, Georgina Komsoon, was greatly honoured to participate as a representative for Africa within the IFOAM-INOFO delegation at the UNSCF. My expectations were very high and the presentation and results of Rio + 20 show that ORGANIC Farming and the way of life has a future. This gives me hope. For me, my family, my sisters and brothers (not only) in Africa.

I will try my very best to transmit the lesson learned as soon as possible and to as many farmers as possible here in Ghana and especially to the groups of women to whom I cooperate. Only our common efforts on the working level can bring the necessary bottom-up change. And if the political level participates, it is even better.

To accelerate the organic movement we have to engage in a stronger way women and young people. Especially the young people believe that their future is in the urban areas and not in the rural area.

May I introduce to you one member – Akua Siedu – of the women group I work together with and who is now the supervisor in the processing of the organic shea butter.  Few years ago she could not even afford to pay her children’s school fee. But today, due to the economic progress the group has made within the project, she is able to put up the livelihood for her family and herself. And this is not common for the Muslim communities in the rural areas in northern Ghana. She never went to school (which is also common in the rural area and especially for a girl) but she can write and read. She was trained as much as possible and today she understands the principles of organic farming and the importance of sustainable agriculture.

Akua Siedu: Georgina explained to us the targets of RIO+20. Even if Brazil is far away, we in the rural area of the northern Ghana will be affected by the results of this conference. For communities like ours, living in a subsistence economy, it is important if the results are positive or negative. The information we got concerning food security, improving local seeds for better food, improving the production and the conservation of local food for more health and nutrition were very helpful for us. It will also contribute to the improvement of the environment.

Georgina Koomson
IDEAL Providence Farms

Oct 16

Saudi Organic Farming Association: A Country Committed to Sustainable Food Production

On request of the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Agriculture, GIZ started to support the development of the Kingdom’s organic agriculture sector in April 2005. The overall mission of the Organic Farming Project was to establish a functioning and sustainable organic agriculture sector in Saudi Arabia. Within a mere 7 years, essential policy and support functions have been set in place and the project together with its partners of the Ministry’s Department of Organic Agriculture (DOA) and the Saudi Organic Farming Association (SOFA) has turned organic agriculture in the KSA into a remarkable example for organic sector development.

Consumer demand for healthy and high quality foods is growing in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. At the same time, domestic organic markets are emerging. Organic agriculture offers substantial opportunities for small farmers in the Kingdom since the shift from severe competition at local conventional markets to an organic niche market offers attractive price premiums in a growing market environment. However, the benefits of organic agriculture are not confined to business opportunities. In addition to market considerations, the Kingdom acknowledges organic as environmentally friendly and emphasizes the potential to protect the Kingdom’s valuable resources by strengthening soil fertility, biodiversity and other ecosystem services.

Beyond national interests, Saudi Arabia has taken up an important role in promoting organic throughout the entire Arabic peninsular. In 2011 the Kingdom has acknowledged the advocating role of IFOAM together with its standard equivalence initiatives and joined IFOAMs Family of Standards. The first Saudi Organic Regulation and Standards are currently under revision in order to fully comply with the Common Objectives and Requirements of Organic Standards (COROS) in the near future. The formation of an IFOAM Middle East Group is on the way; with Dr. Saad Khalil (Ministry of Agriculture Organic Farming Supervisor and Secretary General of SOFA) Saudi Arabia has engaged in both a facilitating and mediating role to strengthen organic in the Middle East, ease equivalence and support regional trade of organic products.

A first organic agricultural policy concept has been introduced in October 2012, depicting adequate policy support measures for strengthening the Kingdom’s organic sector  in a long-term perspective. First reactions by the Saudi government have been very positive and a translation of the policy into an operational organic action plan can be expected in 2013. The policy combines market oriented and resource oriented goals to an intermediate strategy reflecting both productivity  and resource objectives. Strengthening consumers’ awareness via a national PR campaign in 2013 is among priorities as well as supporting and strengthening basic governmental functions such as  Organic Research and Extension.

Organic agriculture research in dry climatic environments such as Saudi Arabia offers great future opportunities to deliver substantial solutions for smallholders in the Kingdom and elsewhere. In the light of extreme climates, Organic Research & Extension is among key issues which can make a difference for organic producers to help shape global sustainable organic systems development in future. Saudi Arabia has taken up this challenge and is about to develop and strengthen its Organic Agriculture Research Sector together with the GIZ in close collaboration with FiBL Switzerland. There is a lot to do, yet at the same time a lot of confidence and motivation to provide solutions to producers in arid climates in Saudi Arabia and beyond.

Dr. Marco Hartmann
Organic Farming Project
Team Leader/Project Director

Dr. Saad Khalil
Organic Farming Supervisor, Ministry of Agriculture
Secretary General, Saudi Organic Farming Association (SOFA)



Oct 10

Artebio: Active in the European Market? Protect your Interests. Support IFOAM EU.

As the European umbrella organization for organic food and farming, we take on the hard work of lobbying for the inclusion of organic ideas and solutions in mainstream agricultural policy. The European institutions see us as a key contact for matters of agriculture, environment, research and health issues. Our wide network at the institutions and alliances with like-minded civil society organizations and NGOs, enable us push through amendments to EU regulations and weigh in on decisions of importance for the organic industry.

The fact that we represent so many diverse stakeholders gets OUR voice heard; together we have much more impact than any individual stakeholder could. That’s possible due to the great depth of knowledge and commitment of our board, e-board, diverse membership and Brussels-based staff.

Read more about IFOAM EU Group on

IFOAM EU is not just a regional group for me: the important decisions on agricultural policy and as a consequence agricultural practices are taken in Brussels. If we want to work for a better agricultural future, Brussels is therefore the place to be. In the organic industry our hearts and minds are set on being the leader in sound solutions for the challenges humanity is facing, so we must have a strong representation in Brussels. Join me in sponsoring the good work of IFOAM EU!”

Alexandra Thöring, artebio – International Agency for Organic Products

Oct 05

Pacific Organic and Ethical Trade Community: Traditional Organic Farming meets the Challenges of the Pacific

We believe that our traditional organic farming methods when strengthened, coordinated and shared will meet the changing needs of our region and peoples and carry us forward into the future.

Many of the creation legends of the Pacific islands involve our lands being ‘fished up’ from the vast oceans – or conversely torrents of trapped waters being released and dividing people into separate islands creating the ‘ocean of islands’ in which our diverse peoples live: a population of around 9.5 million people scattered across an ocean area of approximately 30 million square kilometres of which less than 2% of this area is land. Some of our islands lay low in the water – less than a metre above sea level, and we are aware everyday that our survival in this great ocean continent is dependent on our protection of the small amounts of land we have.

The Pacific is facing a number of region-wide challenges, including the effects of climate change, degradation of ecosystems due to unsustainable use of both land and marine resources, and the need to generate livelihoods to maintain populations in the islands. Increased consumption of imported, highly refined foods, accompanied by decreased local food production and consumption, is also having serious effects on the health of island populations. The recent escalation in food prices can be added to the list. We are vulnerable, we are at risk and we don’t have a lot of options.

For the founders of the Pacific organic movement there was no doubt that organic agriculture can contribute to answering these challenges, there is also no doubt that we cannot act soon enough.

The work initiated and supported by IFOAM to develop the Pacific Organic Standard plus the formation of the Pacific Organic and Ethical Trade Community (POETcom) in 2009 to present a united voice for organic practitioners and stakeholders of the region has created considerable impetus in the region and organic agriculture is now included in the national development plans of almost all our Governments or Ministries of Agriculture. Increasingly organics is being recognised by our policy makers for the solutions it can offer and were greatly encourage by our Pacific Island leaders including support for organic agriculture in their submission to the Zero Draft.

We look forward to closer links with the organic world as we move on our path, none of us can do this alone. We are proud to be working with IFOAM who have provided not only great leadership in the organic world but also endless support and encouragement to us as we work to make organic agriculture the key contributor to sustaining our cultures, improving farmer livelihoods, communities and people health and the environment in the Pacific.

Karen Mapusua



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