Tag Archive: advocacy

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 www.ifoam-eu.org

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

Aug 31

Zakho Small Villages Projects: Pushing for Organic Agriculture in Iraq

In 1997, Zakho Small Project Villages (ZSVP)started its organic agriculture activities in Iraq. Through the dissemination of organic agriculture techniques, awareness raising on environment and pesticide hazards, rural extension and  training courses for farmers, rural women, agriculture department staff and students, ZSVP pushed for Organic Agriculture in Iraq.

At that period, we (as an NGO interested in Organic Agriculture) faced many problems with the government, first because of economic sanctions. Indeed, the main goal of the government was to produce food without taking any consideration to the value, health and environmental issues. Secondly, we faced problems with the FAO policy in Iraq, as the FAO due to the UN resolution 986 (Oil for Food) was regularly importing a lot of agriculture chemicals  and distribute to or oblige farmers to receive these chemical inputs as a condition to receive other equipments.

Until 2003, organic activities were focused on Northern governorates of Iraq, but after this date, our organic program expanded to cover other areas of Iraq thanks to the support of international organizations.

In 2009, the Organic agriculture department is founded in the Ministry of agriculture in Iraq which expected to play an important role in dissemination of organic agriculture among farmers especially in middle and southern governorates.

During 2010-2012, many conferences and meetings arranged by universities and Iraqi academics recommended to adopt organic agriculture as a mean to reduce the deterioration in the environment and agriculture land which was caused by the successive Gulf wars between 1980-2003.

Organic Grape Production in Iraq

In 2010 and for the first time in Iraq, 37 farmers (Grapes growers) were organically certified  and work is ongoing to increase the land organically cultivated and certified farmers.

Today, organic agriculture is studied in colleges of agriculture in the Kurdistan region and Iraq especially to graduate students.

These are important achievements that need to be underlined, however there are still many challenges the organic farmers have to face in Iraq. They include:

  • Drought and desertification problems and lack of will from the government to tackle this problem;
  • Lack of law and legislation in Iraq to provide a legal framework for organic production;
  • Non availability of organic inputs and high prices if available;
  • Lack of organic marketing of farmers’ produce;

These challenges can be overcome by organizing advocacy campaigns for the protection of agricultural land in Iraq against unsustainable practices, procedures and the government’s mismanagement of soil and agricultural land. The governement should be pressured to create a legislation and framework for organic production, as well as for marketing and certification of organic products.

IFOAM can contribute and play an important role in arranging training programs on organic agriculture for farmers and rural women. This is why ZSVP is Proud member of IFOAM.

Dr. Abid Alli Hasan
Zakho Small Villages Program Coordinator in Iraq
zsvp@yahoo.com