- First West Africa Summit on Organic Agriculture
- IFOAM Advocacy Training in Conjunction with the West Africa Summit on Organic Agriculture
- Participatory Guarantee Systems Session at the West Africa Summit on Organic Agriculture
- The Africa Pavilion is Ready for Another Year at BioFach
- Creating an Organic Culture Could Save Africa: View of David Wolstenholme from South Africa
- News from the Organic School Garden Project Ghana
- Upcoming Organic Agriculture Related Events
1. First West Africa Summit on Organic Agriculture
| ||From November 17th to 21st 2008, the Organic Agriculture Project in Tertiary Institutions in Nigeria (OAPTIN) and the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Nigeria, are organizing the West African Organic Summit on Organic Agriculture. |
The aims of the conference are:
The theme of the conference is “Organic Agriculture and the Millennium Development Goals.” The conference sub-themes are the following:
- Spread current knowledge, competences and technology development in Organic Agriculture throughout Africa
- Experience-sharing among Organic Agriculture scientists and practitioners in West Africa
- Enhance collaborative opportunities in West Africa and beyond
IFOAM is involved in this event and will organize several activities such as a training on advocacy in conjunction to the summit, a session on the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, a Participatory Guarantee Systems (PGS) workshop and a presentation of IFOAM’s work on “Building sustainable organic sectors”, an information package which gives guidance for appropriate development options for emerging organic sectors, with a focus on developing countries. It includes recommendations on possible options for governments, the private sector, development agencies, and consultancies on how to achieve sustainable development of the sector.
- Organic Agriculture and poverty alleviation
- Organic Agriculture and environmental health
- Organic Agriculture in HIV/AIDS and other health issues
- Organic Policy and trade
- Gender issues in Organic Agriculture in developing countries
- International cooperation in Organic Agriculture
For more information on the West Africa Summit on Organic Agriculture, please contact Olugbenga O. AdeOluwa, PhD.
2. IFOAM Advocacy Training in Conjunction with the West Africa Summit on Organic Agriculture
| ||From November 17th to 18th 2008, IFOAM is organizing an advocacy training for representatives of the African movements in conjunction with the West African Summit. The training aims to improve knowledge and skills about how the IFOAM African Organic Agriculture network can become more effective in its advocacy efforts at national and continental level. Specifically the training will provide useful guidelines and tools that can be used to:|
A preparatory group composed of four members of the African movements plus the trainer and the IFOAM Africa Office coordinator will be engaged in preparing the content of the training.
- Strengthen the network’s capacity to cooperate and make concerted action.
- Help the network to achieve changes through advocacy work.
- Influence governments, policy makers and international organizations.
Representatives coming from IFOAM Contact Points and other member organizations are eligible for receiving this capacity building training. Besides some fixed places, there is (limited) opportunity for participants of the West African Summit to also participate at the training. Interested persons are invited to apply with a short application. The application should include the following information and be submitted by e-mail to Hervé Bouagnimbeck at firstname.lastname@example.org:
Applications should be submitted by October 20 2008.
- Name and acronym of the organization
- Country or region of activity
- Activities currently performed to support Organic Agriculture in the country or region
- Reasons why you would like to attend the training.
All applications will be registered and confirmed by e-mail. Attendees will then be chosen by a screening process. Applicants will be informed by IFOAM about the final decision.
3. Participatory Guarantee Systems Session at the West Africa Summit on Organic Agriculture
| ||Participatory Guarantee Systems (PGSs) are locally focused quality assurance systems. They certify producers based on active participation of stakeholders and are built on a foundation of trust, social networks and knowledge building and exchange.|
PGSs are viable organic quality assurance complementary alternative to third party certification, commonly they are applied where:
They are particularly appropriate for local markets and smallholder farmers due to low financial costs and less paperwork involved in the verification process. In Africa, PGSs could become the primary means by which organic producers are certified and organized for supplying and expanding the local organic market. In East Africa, pilot PGSs have already been started in Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya. In South Africa, the Bryanston Organic Market operates a successful PGS. In West-Africa, although some PGS-like initiatives can be identified, the potential of PGS remains much untapped. The session will be an occasion to learn from existing African and international PGS experiences, and to identify opportunities and possible actions for the development of PGS in West-Africa.
- There is support for strengthening the ability of farmers to better access local markets;
- Farmers willing to be directly involved in the certification process (perform peer appraisals, be involved in decision making, etc).
- Farmers willing to learn and share knowledge with other farms about production techniques and to maintain an open gate policy and transparency of their processes.
- Situations where other stakeholders (NGOs, consumers, government, etc) can be directly involved.
The workshop will cover aspects such as:
The session will be open to all interested persons.
- Background to the development of PGS around the world
- IFOAM and information available
- Key characteristics of PGS
- Examples of how different PGS have evolved to fit with their local situations
- A PGS case study (how it works)
- PGS and Internal Control Systems interrelationships
4. The Africa Pavilion is Ready for Another Year at BioFach
| ||BioFach is the largest organic trade fair in the world. Exhibitors and buyers come from Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, Oceania, Latin and North America to take advantage of this major business boosting opportunity. Over the years, BioFach has established itself as a meeting place for those involved in organics, including traders, exporters, researchers, national Organic Agriculture movements, consultants, NGOs, policymakers, and development partners.|
At this year’s BioFach, African exhibitors were grouped together for the first time in an “Organic Africa Pavilion”. This fantastic initiative brought more visibility to African exporters and was a great success. At this year’s Africa Pavilion, about 73 exporters from 13 African countries were displaying the specialties from the Sub-Saharan countries ranging from fresh and dried fruits, herbs, spices to essential oils. Besides the exporters 14 other related organizations had stands within the African Pavilion. Over 3000 people visited the Pavilion and talked directly to the exhibitors.
The organizers and partners think it is useful to continue with the African Pavilion concept for a number of years. They wish to organize an organic African Pavilion at the BioFach 2009-2011, building on the success of and the experiences gained from the African Pavilion 2008.
The organizers sincerely hope for continued support to make this happen.
For more information, please see http://www.organicafrica2009.com/.
5. Creating an Organic Culture Could Save Africa: View of David Wolstenholme from South Africa
| ||The survival of the African continent is in the balance. Record food and oil prices, political corruption, lack of services and climate change all add up to a perfect storm that could see the lives of 100 million Africans severely threatened.|
According to the Food & Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), Sub-Saharan Africa is the most threatened region in the world when it comes to food security and could see as many as 40 million people starve to death over the next 6 years.
Africa is naturally organic. Its people have, by default, farmed organically because the vast majority of small-scale farmers have never been able to afford the chemical inputs. Today’s big commercial farmers produce mono-crops. They buy large automated equipment and hire almost no one. Organic farmers by contrast rotate crops, use no-till methods and rely heavily on lots of labour doing the work by hand. This environmentally friendly production method creates thousands of jobs that are so badly needed in Africa.
Why are we not looking at organic solutions to the food crisis?
Why aren’t the multi-national organisations talking to the Chinese, Indians and now the Middle Eastern countries about supplying organic growing programmes to African farmers? Instead of sending contract farmers, why not send mentors and trainers to teach emerging farmers organic crop farming techniques?
This simple solution will provide millions of well-paid jobs throughout Africa. Managed properly, it will provide much needed high nutrient foods at very affordable prices.
What will the result be after a few years? Africa – with healthy soils, protected water supplies and skilled farmers – producing food that will feed the continent and creating wealth through the export growing programmes.
For more information, please contact David Wolstenholme, Exhibition Director of Natural & Organic Products Exhibition.
6. News from the Organic School Garden Project Ghana
| ||In January 2008, the Organic School Garden Project (OSGP) in Ghana started its activities. The project is implemented by Agro Eco and GOAN, the Ghana Organic Agriculture Network, and is complementary to the existing activities of the School Feeding Programme in Ghana, which aims to provide a healthy meal for children at school. The OSGP also organizes Farmer Field Schools for farmers in the area around the schools. |
During the first phase of the project 10 school gardens were established in the southern and northern regions of Ghana and are now being used by schoolchildren and farmers. The land has been cleared by participating farmers, nursery beds were established and the seedlings transplanted in the school garden. The school children started to learn organic agricultural practices in their own school gardens.
For more information, please contact Ivy Osei-Sampah.
7. Upcoming Organic Agriculture Related Events
| ||Natural and Organic Products Exhibition|
October 17-19 2008
Cape Town, South Africa
IFOAM members will be granted a reduced stall fee of 10% at the exhibition!
National Organic workshop
October 23-26 2008
For more information, contact Andrianjaka Rajaonarison.
PELUM’s Triennial General Meeting
October 27-30 2008
For more information, please contact Marjorie Chola Chonya.
West Africa Summit on Organic Agriculture
November 17-21 2008
Abeokuta, Ogun State, Nigeria
For more information, contact Olugbenga O. AdeOluwa, PhD.
Ecological Agriculture: Mitigating Climate Change, Providing Food Security and Self-Reliance for Rural Livelihoods in Africa
November 26-28 2008
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
For more information, contact Sue Edwards.
Head Office Contact Information
53113 Bonn, Germany
© 2009 IFOAM - All rights reserved.
International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) e.V.
Trial Court Bonn, Association Register no. 8726
Executive Board: Gerald A. Herrmann, Alberto Lernoud, Mette Meldgaard