|May 2007, Vol.2, no.5|
- Registration for the African discussion forum
- East Africa Organic Conference
- Local organic inspectors training in Ghana
- International conference on Organic Agriculture and Food Security
- Compost use increased crop yields in Tigray, Ethiopia
- Upcoming organic agriculture-related events
1. Registration for the African discussion forum
| ||The participation in the discussion forum is subject to registration from now on. Anyone may view and read the messages posted on a forum, but registration is required for posting and replying to messages. |
The registration is quick, easy, secure, and confidential, and also protects the board from spammers.
The registration URL is: http://www.ifoam.org/forum_php/profile.php?mode=register.
You can also access the main forum page directly at
http://www.ifoam.org/forum_php/viewforum.php?f=1 and reach the registration URL there by clicking on the "Register" button.
The public forum has been set up to enable African organic stakeholders and others interested in the topic of Organic Agriculture in Africa to exchange views and experiences, get to know each other through the Internet and perhaps start identifying possible areas of cooperation for future actions.
All are invited to participate in the discussion forum at http://www.ifoam.org/forum_php/viewforum.php?f=1.
2. East Africa Organic Conference
| ||The East Africa Organic Conference will be held from May 28 - June 1 2007 in |
Dar es Salaam, United Republic of Tanzania.
The conference aims to mobilize support for organic agriculture in East Africa by sensitizing decision makers, development cooperation partners, and the public about the potential of Organic Agriculture as a market and sustainable development opportunity. It will also provide a platform for dialogue on the findings of studies and country projects being undertaken in the region and for the development of an action plan to take the organic agenda forward. The conference will also launch the East African organic products standard and the associated East African Organic Mark. The Conference is a manifestation of global partnership for promotion of organic agriculture in the region.
The International Federation of Organic Movements (IFOAM), the UNEP-UNCTAD Capacity Building Task Force on Trade, Enivironment and Development (CBTF), the Tanzanian Organic Agriculture Movement (TOAM) and the Export Promotion of Organic Products from Africa (EPOPA) are organizing the conference in cooperation with the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Cooperatives, United Republic of Tanzania, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and International Trade Centre (UNCTAD/WTO).
The conference is supported by the European Union, and Sida.
For further information visit: http://www.unep-unctad.org/cbtf/openDaressalaam2.htm.
3. Local organic inspectors training in Ghana
| ||Some 21 participants from 15 organizations attended in March 2007 in Ghana a four day training program on Internal Control Systems (ICS) and Local Organic Inspectors. The training was organized by the Fairtrade Fruits Project of CARE International and conducted by the Institute for Marketecology (IMO). The principal trainer was Britta Wyss, an IMO expert. She was supported by two IMO local inspectors from Ghana and Togo.|
The first of its kind to be organized in Ghana, the training was deemed extremely important for further development of the Fairtrade and organic sector in Ghana, in particular to increase the pool of local inspectors in this country.
The first training session focused on the ICS workshop for small farmer group inspectors. The main topics covered include internal organic standards, organic certification, organization of the ICS, risk assessment and risk management, ICS personnel buying procedures and farm control procedures. The ICS session included a day’s field trip to provide practical experience to participants.
The second training session concentrated fully on training local organic inspectors, with special emphasis on external inspection of smallholder grower groups with ICS. This session was very intensive. There were a series of group discussions coupled with brainstorming, and a short test in order to facilitate the selection of three participants to a follow up training. The main topics covered include introduction to organic inspection, the IMO inspection system, aspects of organic processing inspection and product flow calculations.
At the end of both sessions participants were awarded certificates for successfully completing their courses.
For further information contact: Betty Simawua Brew (email@example.com), CARE International Ghana/Togo/Benin.
4. International conference on Organic Agriculture and Food Security
| ||The International Conference on Organic Agriculture and Food Security was held from May 3-5 2007 in FAO’s Headquarters (Green Room) in Rome, Italy, in connection with the 33rd Session of the Committee on World Food Security (7-10 May 2007). |
The overall objective of the conference was to shed light on the contribution of Organic Agriculture to food security through the analysis of existing information in different agro-ecological areas of the world. The meeting identified organic agriculture’s potential and limits in addressing the food security challenge, including conditions required for its success.
Some 350 participants from more than 80 countries attended, including representatives from 66 FAO member countries, three UN agencies, five inter-governmental institutions, 15 international NGOs, 30 national NGOs, 24 research institutions, 31 universities, eight private companies and nine farmer associations.
The meeting agreed on the following conclusions, as summarized by the Chair:
• Organic agriculture can contribute to food security but its potential to do so depend greatly on political will.
• New challenges such as climate change can be mitigated by organic agriculture through such measures as enhanced soil carbon sequestration. Organic agriculture also offers practical climate adaptation options.
• Water security is enhanced by organic agriculture, in terms of drinking water quality, decreased irrigation needs in organic soils and better yields in water-stressed climate variability.
• Agro-biodiversity is protected and sustainably used by organic agriculture.
• Nutritional adequacy is enhanced by the more diverse and micronutrient rich organic foods.
• Rural development is achieved by organic agriculture through generating income and employment in areas where people have no alternative other than using their labor, local resources and indigenous knowledge.
• An international network for organic research and proper extension is crucial for the further development of organic agriculture and more public resources should be devoted to agro-ecological science.
• Food security is tightly linked to agricultural policies that determine export and import choice. Organic agriculture reconciles economic objectives with environmental and social objectives but its further development requires securing a level playing field through appropriate policy interventions.
• Food security is not only a concern of developing countries as fossil fuel crisis, climate change and other vulnerabilities in the food chain may threaten also food secure areas.
The report of the Conference was submitted to the 33rd Session of the Committee on World Food Security, for information and further action.
For further information visit: http://www.fao.org/organicag/ofs/docs_en.htm .
5. Compost use increased crop yields in Tigray, Ethiopia
| ||The Institute for Sustainable Development (ISD) started in 1996 a project called Sustainable Agriculture Project. This project focused on training farmers and local agricultural experts in making and using compost in addition to other mostly traditional ecologically-based practices. The farmers were still using their own crop varieties and agronomic practices. Starting in 2001, yields have been taken from samples of farmers’ fields each year until 2006.|
Between 2001 and 2006, yield data of 14 crops (maize, wheat, barley, broad bean, etc.) were taken from 779 fields in Tigray and statistically analyzed.
The grain and straw yields were separately subjected to linear regression analysis based on the values obtained from fields where compost, chemical fertilizer (diammonium phosphate and urea) and no input (control) was applied. The null hypothesis was that the treatments have no impact on the yields, but this was not the case.
On one hand, the increase in grain yields in fields where chemical fertilizer was applied was significantly higher (p>99%) than in the fields where no input was applied. On the other hand, grain yields in fields where compost was applied were significantly higher (p>99%) than in the fields where chemical fertilizer was applied. The significance of the differences in the straw yields was similar. The differences in yields of each of the individual crops were also significant.
Overall, compost doubled the grain yield of all crops and increased straw yield, but not to the same extent as grain yield. It was found through a comparison of grain yield to total biomass that grain cultivated with no input equaled 14.7%, grain from compost was 17.1% and grain from chemical fertilizer was 16.1% of the total biomass yield for each respective treatment.
One reason why compost significantly increased yields could be that the farmers were still using their own crop varieties, which have been selected by them in a basically organic environment where overall soil fertility is more important than simply the amounts of major nutrients, N, P and K.
The farmers have also been ready to adopt compost because it avoids the financial risk of taking chemical fertilizer on credit, and the compost is available when it is needed – chemical fertilizer is sometimes delivered late.
Since 1998, the Bureau of Agriculture and Rural Development of Tigray Region has adopted the production of compost as part of its extension package. As a result of this approach, chemical fertilizer use decreased between 1998 and 2005 from 13 700 to 8 200 tons, while total grain yield for the Region almost doubled from 714 000 to 1.3 million tons. Production and use of compost is also being promoted in other regions of Ethiopia, particularly through the “Community-based Participatory Watershed Development” project of the Ministry of Agriculture. Further intensification of the organic approach would require a breeding strategy tailored for the purpose.
For further information contact: Sue Edwards (firstname.lastname@example.org), Institute for Sustainable Development, Ethiopia.
| ||Events in Africa|
Organic Chain Development, Participative Networking Workshop
May 24-25 2007
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Participation in this event is subject to invitation by the organizing committee.
For further information visit: http://www.agroeco.nl.
East Africa Organic Conference
May 28-June 1 2007
Dar es Salaam, United Republic of Tanzania
For further information visit: http://www.unep-unctad.org/cbtf/openDaressalaam2.htm.
Organic Exchange Africa Meetings
June 18-23 2007
Cape Town, South Africa
Farm Development Meeting - June 18
Regional Supply Chain Meeting - June 19 and June 20
Leading Change Learning Session - June 21 and June 22
Organic Farm Tours - June 23
For further information visit: http://www.organicexchange.org/meetings/current_meeting3.php.
National Organic workshop
July 3-4 2007
For further information visit: http://www.madabio.info/workshop.htm.
Organic Work Camp
July 21-August 11 2007
For further information contact: Simon Anoumou Todzro (email@example.com) and Kossi Dackey (firstname.lastname@example.org) in Togo or Rosi Lehmann (email@example.com) in Germany.
Fiermada (Rural Economy International Fair)
August 1-5 2007
For further information contact: Rajaonarison Andrianjaka (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Conference Norway: Can Africa feed itself?
Poverty, Agriculture and Environment – Challenges for Africa
June 6-8 2007
For further information visit: http://www.canafricafeeditself.no/Landbrukskonferanse/English/.
1st IFOAM Conference on Marketing of Organic and Regional Values
August 26-28 2007
Schwäbisch Hall, Germany
For further information visit:
Head Office Contact Information
53113 Bonn, Germany
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