Tag Archive: RIO+20

Nov 19

From a Strong Supporter of IFOAM’s Poverty Eradication Policy, a Message to the Organic Community

Poverty eradication still remains the over- riding priority for developing countries including Turkey and the greatest global challenge is, we have to care about Mother Nature that nurtures us. With the recent global economic crisis, financing for development of the developing world by the developed countries has been increasingly coming under acute pressure and requirement of enhanced development assistance is all the more critical when developing countries are faced with curtailed capital flows, austerity measures and increased programming requirements. Even the EU Food Program is under threat. Development operational activities of the Global System under UN policies must have the ability to respond and adapt to the evolving environment and expectations of individual countries, scientific communities, NGOs (as IFOAM did) stressing that the programming activities need to be harmonized with the budgetary plus other precautions and policies.

IFOAM recognized that agro-ecological based farming (Organic farming) practiced by small-scale farmers as the most effective approach in addressing climate change, food and water security, biodiversity loss, poverty eradication and sustainable development. World population reached over 7 billion in 2011 and 880 million rural poor people living on less than $1.0 per day/Per Person and 70 percent are partially or completely dependent on agriculture, livestock and food security.  IFOAM came up with a slogan and sent a message through Rio+20 in July 2012 Organic Agriculture: Smart Solutions to Overcome Hunger and Poverty and have been cooperating with local and international members, working with international organizations: FAO, the World Farmers Organization, UNCCD and others. IFOAM is trying to eliminate GMOs and antibiotics use, fighting against industrial harassment and aggressive policies of agriculture industry (i.e. Monsanto.).   That is why it is worth to declare IFOAM “SELIKOFF* OF THE WORLD ORGANIC AGRICULTURE AND LIVESTOCK PRODUCTION” because in a broad spectrum its purpose is to eliminate “Hunger, poverty, natural disasters and feeling powerlessness and hopelessness that represent biggest threat to the world peace” aiming to raise healthy generations by practicing healthy organic agriculture principles.

“The Right to Food” principle stimulated IFOAM’s efforts by prioritizing increased investments in local food production, smallholders, youth, indigenous farmers and paying special attention to women and a commitment to ensure proper nutrition for all. 17th of October is the International Poverty Eradication Day that tries to help “Ending the Violence of Extreme Poverty: Promoting Empowerment and Building Peace” where IFOAM dedicated itself to serve to this purpose.  Despite some important gains, several critical gaps remain that may be solved through the application of the organic agriculture principles through women, standards, flexibility and adaptability is the key to the success.  Increasing opportunities for women in organic agriculture and livestock production can have a powerful impact on productivity and agriculture-led growth.  Women tend to devote a larger fraction of their income to their children’s health and nutrition, laying the foundation for their children’s lifelong cognitive and physical development.

The Rio+20 efforts and the followed correct policy provided by IFOAM which involves scaling up pilot programs to create transformational changes: Legal reforms, especially related to land rights, are often important to ensuring access and use. Expand leadership and participation of women in organic agricultural decision making at all levels and in all institutions related to its policies “Feed the Future” will ensure the food security programs.  The problem is complex, however IFOAM is working on creative solutions that will help women, families and smallholders attain long-term food security for happier and healthier lives of all. Happy 40th anniversary IFOAM, the job is well done.  Thank you and congratulations!


Associate Professor Sümer Hasimoglu, MS, PhD
Adviser to Dogu Anadolu Tarim ve Besiciler Birligi Dernegi (DOGTARBESBIR- Eastern Anatolian Agriculture and Livestock Producers Association) Erzurum, Turkey/ Schafer Str. 20, 19053 Schwerin, Germany,


* Dr. Irving Selikoff: He began to publicize his famous research on the health effects of asbestos in 1964.  The industry started a multiyear attack on him and his research. To his credit, Dr. Selikoff endured this sustained industry-generated harassment.  While asbestos is still being exported from and used in some countries, credible scientists agree on its devastating health effects.Similarly to above, it is also worth to mention that one of the research scientists Prof. Dr. Onur Hamzaoglu is chosen as Selikoff** of Turkey who is prosecuted by the Turkish Government and the University administration because he published and explained his research findings and declared that Izmit Province industrial waste is a threat to the health of the people (Increased number of the cancer incidences) live in the area. He was harassed and accused that he had intended to cause panic among people (Cem Terzi, 2012)


Nov 02

La Esperancita Dies Last

I heard it 1980 at the Brussels 3rd IFOAM Scientific Conference: “The Maintenance of Soil Fertility”, and now, 32 years later at the Rapunzel-IFOAM One World Award, we saw our beloved Profesora Ana Primavesi, who’s whole life was on that topic, she being one of the great teachers and investigators in soil fertility. All social, cultural, philosophic, human dimensions of organic agriculture are at the end about this: fertile soils for everybody and everywhere and for a very very long time.

1982. I wanted to bring different dreams together: working in the field of organic agriculture and doing it in a revolutionary country: Nicaragua! But there was no “bioland” at the time, so Elba Rivera and I had to found it — and so we did!

1985. La Esperanzita became member of IFOAM, our campesino school of eco-agriculture in the humid tropics. Visitors from abroad questioned our work, asking if it was justified to “go bio” for European customers, when the Nicaraguan people was hungry. But we explained that European meals were way down on our priority list. Our aim was to rescue and improve soil fertility in a region that had been a rainforest only 15 years before, and where the degradation of soils had already begun. We discovered soon that ecological agro-forestry is the answer to the forest vocation of humid tropics.

1998. The farmers organized their own association – Sano y Salvo – Safe and Sound, which became member of IFOAM.

And we are proud to be with IFOAM in its 40th year. We are part of the biggest worldwide democratic member organization (after UN, maybe…)!

But there is a sad side, too: Nicaragua has now about 7.000 organic farmers, and not 400.000! It has 2 members of IFOAM, and not 200. The economy lives on gold export, on palm oil export, on work force export, on jungle trees export and of cattle. It doesn’t live on ecological agro-forestry, or on all the immense possibilities connected to it. Forests are becoming less and less each year, water resources are contaminated, many fall dry for long periods, and the climate change starts to be felt. Agro-chemical imports go up. GMOs enter uncontrolled.

Has it been our deficiency? IFOAM’s? Or is it unavoidable? Even the revolution died and doesn’t act as it should. Rio+20 did not leave a visible impact in peoples’ minds or plans. Market and business make the rule. But, of course, la esperancita dies last …

Gerd Schnepel

Sano y Salvo – Safe and Sound, Primera Asociación Campesina de Cultura y Producción Ecológicas en la Región Autónoma del Atlántico Sur, Nicaragua

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

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


Aug 24

Wolf + DiMatteo Associates: What are the lessons from Rio+20 and who will provide the leadership forward?

The lack of resounding endorsement from Rio+20 for sustainable agriculture and food systems will not stop us from moving forward individually and collectively, as we have been doing for 40 years, to put the principles of organic agriculture into practice and model the future we want.




What are the lessons from Rio+20 and who will provide the leadership forward?

As an outside but interested observer of the Rio +20 Summit – one who followed the blogs and news reports, and read the proposed language from NGOs, business, and governments, I was profoundly impressed with the level of preparation for and participation in Rio+20 and its side events.  The disappointment expressed about the final declaration was, in my opinion, amplified because of the high expectations going into the Summit.  From one viewpoint, Rio+20 was a success because of the fact that so many diverse opinions and perspectives came together with the hope of mapping out a way forward to a sustainable future.  Realistically there could not have been a truly revolutionary outcome because governments, and international bodies of governments, are rarely leaders of change.  Inspirational leadership, creative solutions, and risk-taking actions remain the role of non-government, public interest, or civil society organizations.  Rio+20 provided many of these organizations the opportunity to debate, negotiate and work on common ground, and to deliver unified messages.  The strength and presence of the NGOs, and even business groups, was well-reported during and after the Summit – another positive outcome!

But what happens now?  Will the NGOs, that were at Rio+20 and found like-minded partners, continue to work together to achieve the future that they had envisioned?  Will their collaborations begun at Rio+20 be short-term or long-term?  What lessons were learned about reframing discrete organizational interest areas to contribute to a larger sustainable vision?  How will these leaders leverage the relationships built at the Summit?  There haven’t been many answers to these questions since June, perhaps because organizational resources, personal and financial, are tapped out or time is needed for thoughtful reflection on best next steps. The Bonn Sustainability Days: Addressing Our Future Today, November 22-28th, organized by IFOAM may provide answers, but hopefully more – actions that we can take within our organizations and businesses as part of the global movement to shape an equitable, resilient, diverse, and sustainable world.

Katherine DiMatteo
Wolf, DiMatteo + Associates

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