Tag Archive: food security

Nov 12

SEKEM – a Bio-pioneer for Food Security

The SEKEM Initiative was founded by Dr. Ibrahim Abouleish in 1977 to strengthen sustainable development in Egypt. Part of the Initiative is the SEKEM Group of companies which produces, processes and markets organic and bio-dynamic foodstuffs, textiles, and phyto-pharmaceuticals in Egypt, the Arab World, and on international markets. SEKEM is known as the bio-pioneer of the region which significantly contributed to food security through desert land reclamation. With part of their profits the SEKEM companies co-finance the social and cultural activities of the SEKEM Development Foundation that runs, among others, several schools, a medical centre, an academy of applied sciences, and other institutions in Egypt.

In 2009, SEKEM co-founded the Heliopolis University for Sustainable Development which opened in September 2012 with the faculties of Business and Economics, Pharmacy and Engineering. The university aims at empowering students to become entrepreneurs and activists of sustainable development in all spheres of life.

In the coming years, it is planned to open a faculty of Organic Agriculture in order to utilize the vast experience and knowledge that has been built within the Heliopolis Academy of the SEKEM Development Foundation. Intensive research has been conducted for years in:

  • Microbiology,
  • Composting,
  • Food security,
  • Carbon sequestration potential,
  • Carbon foot-printing,
  • Desert land reclamation,
  • Clean technologies such as subsurface irrigation,
  •  Water foot-printing
  • Agroforestry practices,
  • Comparative analysis of organic and conventional agricultural practices regarding costs, yields and water consumption in Egypt.

SEKEM and Heliopolis University will continue to spread organic agriculture in the region in order to meet the great challenges of our times such as food and water insecurity, climate change and poverty.


Oct 01

Friends in Village Development: Organic Farming in Bangladesh – Importance from Global Perspective

Bangladesh is the ranks eighth most populated country in the world and is the fifth such country in Asia. Agriculture plays a very important role in populated countries like Bangladesh. The conventional agriculture of Bangladesh after the green revolution depended on chemical compounds that had a negative impact on soil, human health and the environment.

Organic agriculture is considered to be a suitable agricultural production process to ensure harmonization between human welfare and sustainable development. In recent years some organic agricultural technologies have proven to be effective and accepted by the farmers in Bangladesh. These include integrated rice–duck farming practices, organic vegetable production in sack, pheromone-trap for insect control, compost (kitchen waste, vermin-compost, pile compost, basket compost etc.)  and so on.

Until now, however, a domestic market that pays for organically produced food has not emerged and Bangladesh has not been able to benefit from the growing global organic market. The Asian countries together currently account for only 7% of the total global organic land, China and India being major contributors. To develop the organic agricultural sector in Bangladesh, the Government needs to develop appropriate policies providing incentives for organic research and adoption. Promotion and practice of organic farming is not only important for Bangladesh for maintaining safety of its environment and ecology, it is also important in the global organic market context.

Bangladesh being a major agro-based populated country, the global organic industry will benefit from its participation in the international organic market.

Dr. Shaikh Tanveer Hossain
Friends In Village Development Bangladesh (FIVDB), Bangladesh
E-mail : tanveer107[at]yahoo.com

Sep 03

Helvetas Nepal: Nepali Organic Coffee – Promotion, Potential and Prospect

A cup of fair-trade organic coffee a day changes producer’s lives!

Organic agriculture practices are part of agriculture systems in Nepal from time immemorial. Coffee, an exotic crop, however, quite suitable to soil and climate of Nepal has been able to generate curiosity, enthusiasm and sustainable income for the smallholders within a decade. Efforts and initiatives of the Coffee Promotion Program (CoPP) of HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation Nepal, on capacity building of the smallholders on production, processing, marketing and institutional development has made organic coffee a sustainable income generating crop. Moreover, for over a decade ago it would be strange talking about promoting organic coffee in the mainstream agricultural policy deliberations and forum. Nevertheless, CoPP has been able to mainstreaming coffee at the policy level having its recognition as a high value export potential crop.

CoPP now actively supports smallholders through their cooperatives and associations producing high quality specialty organic coffee (in an altitude range of 800 to 1600 m.) in the mid hills  of central and western Nepal. Coffee growing is quite compatible with the existing agricultural system while enhancing food security from the additional income derived from certified organic coffee sales. “Life was difficult particularly to cope with the ever increasing family expenses before the good income from sale of coffee” says Sabitri Jamakatel from Thula Durlung – a smallholder in remote village south of Kathmandu valley.

Specialty organic coffee is now sold in local urban markets and is exported to fair trade markets abroad. Now more and more farmers are associated in the organic coffee cooperatives because of increasing demand at domestic and international level. With hard working farmers in the background, Nepal’s organic coffee has a bright future for the benefit of both producers and the country itself; however, challenges still lie to expand this economic opportunity in other potential districts.



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

Aug 17

Biosun Certifier: Passengers, all aboard!

It is with our utmost excitement and pleasure to seize the opportunity in such allegory of grace and beauty on the wings of Organic Agriculture, flying to the sustainable livelihoods. Development in every dynamic society such as the I.R. Iran even at the beginning of the organic way and organic movement is indispensable event many challenges still lay ahead and it takes heroic innovations to overcome them. Awareness to the organic farming and organic products is growing rapidly in Iran. Both governmental and private authorities are trying to enhance organic chains in the country. Iran, because of different climatic conditions has a good potential to produce different kinds of agricultural products which are mainly Saffron, Figs, Grapes, Citrus, Date Palm, Pomegranate, Almonds, Pistachio, Walnuts, wild collection of medicinal and ornamental plants and all other crop plants. In most cases, traditional agriculture in Iran is a kind of non-certified organic (neglected organic production) because most of  the practices and processes in these agro ecosystem are compatible with organic agriculture. Many farmers in Iran do not use chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Then, it caused that Iran’s land for agriculture is not too much contaminated with agrochemicals.

Results of Rio+20 can and should be the stop en route to the perspective horizons of sustainability, where bright spots become recognized and a clear pathway paved for the future generations of every entity on earth. We do believe that Organic does imitate nature and there should be no boundaries or barriers if we are destined to preserve the integrity of our planet. None of the expecting conditions of sustainability are beyond the technical or resource reach of our societies if we listen to the whispers of every beating heart, appreciating the giving hands and cherishing the talented bright minds. Let organic becomes the journey, beginning in delight and ending in wisdom.

Together we stand, divided we fall and the spirit should carry on.

Biosun Certifier

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