Tag Archive: policy

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

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 24

National Organic Program, Ministry of Agriculture and Forests of Bhutan: Living Growth National Happiness

Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Bhutan delivering the speech entitled “Living Growth National Happiness: Making a Full Policy Commitment to Organic Agriculture”

Sustainable Development as per its dictionary reads “a pattern of economic growth in which resource use aims to meet human needs while preserving the environment so that these needs can be met not only in present but also for the generations to come”.

Rio+20 (United Nations Conference on sustainable Development) is a platform where initiatives to promote sustainable development are sought after for achieving a greener economy and a healthier and stable environment for all to live in. On that occasion, at the Opening Session of IFOAM Sustainable Development Learning Event at Rio+20 on June 19, 2012, the Prime Minister of Bhutan delivered a speech “Living Growth National Happiness: Making a Full Policy Commitment to Organic Agriculture”.

The first step towards official adoption of sustainable development strategy at the National level was instigated in Bhutan in the year 2004, with the embracement of Gross National Happiness (GNH) as the Nations Developmental indicator.

Here in Bhutan, our system of Sustainable agriculture includes different production methods, systems and approaches that aim to meet the goal of profitability, stewardship and quality of life as in accordance with the GNH principles.  One of such approaches, we feel, by no means the only one is ORGANIC FARMING. We are determined to make our agriculture genuinely sustainable through working with the nature to enhance rather then degrade, and to farm in such a way as to enrich rather then deplete soil nutrients.

The theme for our eleventh five year plan “Rural Prosperity” is in equivalence with the Rio+20 themes of Greener economy and Sustainable Development, where both are aimed towards the same target of achieving sustainable development and lifting rural people out of poverty.  As stated by our Honorable Prime Minister at the opening session of the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movement (Rio+20), I quote” without food security there is no other kind of security. And without sustainable agriculture, there is no food security.” And I believe Organic Agriculture is the only means for sustaining agriculture and so all forms of life on earth.

We as Bhutanese strongly welcome and encourage more and more of such initiatives thus facilitating a happier life in harmony with our mother nature!

Thinley Gyem
Horticulture officer
National Organic Program, Department of Agriculture, Ministry of Agriculture and Forests of Bhutan


Sep 10

Helvetas Kyrgizstan: Organic farmers in Kyrgyzstan

Helvetas Kyrgizstan sending a sky lantern with their message to the Organic community

After the break up of the Soviet Union in 1991, the economy of Kyrgyzstan has undergone significant changes. In the agricultural sector, with the transition to a market economy, large collective farms were fragmented into smallholder farms. In a result the farmers faced difficulties to access fast growing markets, consequences of monoculture in the past led to soil degradation and production costs for individual farmers have increased. In order to address these issues the BioFarmer Cooperative in South Kyrgyzstan introduced organic farming in 2004 by joining 1000 smallholder farmers into one cooperative and establishing links to international organic markets.

The organic and fairtrade farmers have increased their net income by 27% and improved their living. The organic farmers Ms. Baktykan Primkulova and Mr. Raimbek Karimov are cooperative members since 7 years. They live in the village called Beshikjon (literal translation would be “creddle”), which is located 25km away from Jalalabat city. Raimbek says that since he joined the organic cotton project his income has increased due to sales to international market. He mentions the German textile processor Elmertex as the most fair and committed buyer for Kyrgyz cotton. With the returns he is even able to build a house for his children. And Baktykan says she likes the innovative ways of this project, especially growing organic medicinal plants, like Calendula due to its medical features. She called all her neighbours to join the cooperative and today around 70 farmers are growing organic cotton, beans, chick peas and medicinal plants.

The “BioFarmer” Cooperatives continues promoting organic agriculture in the country and helps all farmers to convert to better farming methods.

The message of Kyrgyz organic farmers to the Organic community would be:

  • To establish a common national strategy on organic agriculture and for that using existing experiences to replicate the best practices in other parts of the country
  • Support the organic producers to enter and develop local and regional markets
  • Support in establishing a network of organic and fairtrade producers and other value chain stakeholders in the country and allow exchange of experiences with others

HELVETAS Kyrgizstan

May 31

Soil Association: Better Together!

Helen BrowningI was delighted to be asked to contribute to IFOAM’s 40th anniversary blog, as the Soil Association has been an enthusiastic member and supporter of IFOAM for many years. At the heart of the organic philosophy is a recognition that all things are linked parts of a larger whole, but we must be mindful of this, and act to make sure that we keep our links healthy – we can achieve very little acting alone. Our work with IFOAM allows us to share and learn from many other groups, and we ignore this knowledge at our own peril.

And this idea of working with others is absolutely crucial to the success of Rio+20 if we are to develop workable solutions to the global threats of climate change and future resource constraints. Over the last 65 years The Soil Association has endeavored to bring the organic principles of care, ecology, fairness and health, into a world seemingly determined to ignore these values. As we know, there is only one planet with finite resources to provide for the needs of our growing world population, and we must find ways of meeting our needs while not compromising the prospects of future generations.

For us, that starts with the soil, that fragile vital layer of living material which sustains and recycles all life. Building healthy soil is the most reliable way to ensure we produce enough good food for everyone, while minimizing non-renewable inputs and increasing resilience in the face of climate change and a resource-constrained future.

But the future is about people too. We will always campaign for human scale activity, meaningful and varied employment, family farms and businesses, grassroots and community enterprise, and business models that allow for an ethical focus.

We need solutions that balance the needs of all: society, consumers, business, the natural environment and farm animals, both in the UK and globally. We work with those businesses and community initiatives which are putting organic principles into practice. We help policy makers both with pragmatic next steps and with adjusting the economic and legal framework to ensure that the right incentives are in place to encourage best practice to become the norm, not the exception.

As we move towards an uncertain future we need innovation in our farming practice, and innovation in our economic structures, and we need to bring bring all perspectives around the table, to find the best ways of meeting our aspirations to develop healthy, humane and sustainable food, farming and production systems across the globe. The Soil Association is working towards these goals in the UK, and we urge everyone across the world to get involved with the goal of making sustainable livelihoods and development the goal of Rio+20.

Helen Browning
Chief Executive
Soil Association

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