|October 2007, Vol.2, no.10|
- Call for African motions for the next IFOAM General Assembly
- African Pavilion at BioFach 2008
- Celebration of this year’s World Food Day (WFD)
- A list of organic certification bodies operating in Africa is available at the IFOAM Africa Office homepage
- News from OPPAZ’s Annual General Meeting
- Ghana opens doors for organic cocoa in West Africa
- Organic Agriculture Development Training Program
- Africa can feed itself
- Upcoming Organic Agriculture-related events
1. Call for African motions for the next IFOAM General Assembly
| ||The IFOAM General Assembly convenes once every three years in conjunction with the IFOAM Organic World Congress. It is the democratic decision making forum for the international organic movement.|
At the upcoming General Assembly in Modena, Italy, from June 22-24 2008, the organic movement "in its full diversity" from all over the world will deliberate upon the challenges and opportunities for the future.
This is a great opportunity for IFOAM African member organizations to have a real impact on the activities of the federation. African members are encouraged to submit motions, which will be discussed and voted upon by the General Assembly. You can submit motions on topics you feel to be important for the organic sector, ranging from policy issues and long-term strategies of IFOAM, to the things you would change about IFOAM and the way it operates.
You don't have to be a big organization to submit a motion - all voting members can submit motions! Here's the text about motions from the IFOAM Statutes:
"IFOAM members and the World Board may submit motions to the General Assembly. Motions from members must be proposed to the World Board at least 120 days before the session of the General Assembly. Motions must be sent out at least 60 days before the session of the General Assembly. Motions from the floor may only amend the aforementioned motions. Adopted motions must be implemented. Once adopted, the content of a motion can only be changed by a new motion at the next General Assembly."
Submitters of motions are encouraged to apply the following requirements for the formulation of a motion in order to clarify the exact proposed decision:
- Only one topic per motion (the topic itself may have different actions items/subtopics)
- Consistent with IFOAM’s mission, goals and objectives (if applicable with reference to IFOAM’s Program)
- Clear and easy to understand
- No questions
- No statements
In addition, the Submitter of the motion should send along with the motion text a short rational (maximum half page A4), which explains the reasoning of the motion and indicate in the motion text the target of the motion, i.e. the body to implement the motion (e.g. Membership, World Board, Committees, etc.).
Deadline for Motions from IFOAM Members: February 23rd 2008
For more information about the IFOAM General Assembly, visit:
2. African Pavilion at BioFach 2008
| ||In 2008, many organizations will join forces at BioFach 2008 to give Africa a prominent role. |
There will be an African Pavilion where visitors will enjoy African designs, colors, sounds and flavors. A piazza in the middle will make the pavilion an oasis that attracts visitors and offer African coffee, tea, wine, snacks and new innovative beverages. In the country or sub-regional stands, exporters, national Organic Agriculture movements and export promotion agencies will showcase the specialties from the Sub-Saharan countries. The Pavilion will also serve as a hub of information on activities and services of different importers, trade promotion agencies, consultancies, NGOs and certifiers, and will provide an opportunity for exhibitors to exchange information and contacts with relevant businesses from all over the world.
Deepening the dialogue and interaction with the organic sector in Africa, a day-long symposium on February 23rd will highlight the status of organics in Africa. Participants will hear about opportunities (and some challenges) for trade and development, including the impact of OA on smallholder farmers, including what is being done to further promote organic by governments, private sector and development partners. A high-level panel with policy and opinion makers will discuss the potential of Organic Agriculture to help achieve the Millennium Development Goals.
The event will be widely covered by African and international media and many journalists have expressed interest in participation. Access to partner organizations' global networks will also help spread the word about the event. The event is likely to be a great success and more than 50 exporters from Africa are expected to participate.
If you are an exporter in Africa, sign up now and take advantage of this opportunity to expand your business and boost your image, by contacting email@example.com or the national Organic Agriculture movement in your country (see contacts listed below)!
If you are engaged in supporting trade or organic farming in Africa – offer your engagement in making this event a success!
If you are an investor in human development – supporting the event can be one of your best investments in the years to come!
Contact list for exporters
Ethiopian Association for Organic Agriculture, EAOA
Ph. +251 112 370 300
Ghana Organic Agriculture Network, GOAN
Mob. +233 244 580 720
Kenya Organic Agriculture Network, KOAN
Ph. +254 720 703 501
Laulanié Green University, LGU
Ph. +261 331 136 049
Organic South Africa, OSA
Tanzania Organic Agriculture Movement, TOAM
Mob. +255 744 618 484
National Organic Agriculture Movement of Uganda, NOGAMU
Organic Producers and Processors Association of Zambia, OPPAZ
Ph. +260 95 753 484
Countries in West Africa, other than those listed above
Countries not mentioned above
Organic Africa 2008 Secretariat
Attn. Kolbjörn Örjavik
Torfolk, SE-68495 Höje, Sweden
Ph. +46 563 723 45
Fax: +46 563 720 66
3. Celebration of this year’s World Food Day (WFD)
| ||IFOAM’s Press Release: The Right to Food is Food Sovereignty|
On this World Food Day 2007, with the theme of the Right to Food, which was recognized as a universal human right in 1948 in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, over 850 million people around the world, particularly in least developed countries, suffer from hunger and malnutrition. For IFOAM, the Right to Food is the right of every person to have regular access to sufficient, nutritionally adequate and culturally acceptable food for an active, healthy life. It is the right to feed oneself in dignity and to produce healthy and culturally appropriate food through ecologically, socially and economically sound methods, defining one’s own food systems, rather than the right to be fed. This counts for each and every individual, as well as for communities and regions.
Currently global trade relations and rules, international and national policies, structural adjustments and trade concentration affect food security in a number of ways. The inequitable competition between producers in industrial countries and those in developing countries severely constrain production in developing countries. The most direct effects are caused by developed countries dumping their agricultural surpluses in developing countries and creating unfair competition to pervert subsidies. When sold on the world market at less than the cost of production, these surpluses depress local prices, thereby lowering production and peoples’ direct access to food, although they may officially have a ‘Right to Food’ in their own countries.
From IFOAM’s perspective, the Right to Food also means that life cannot be patented. Patents on life support the monopoly control of genetic resources by few, thereby extensively undermining peoples’ right and access to food. IFOAM believes that the Earth’s gene pool cannot be claimed as commercially negotiable genetic information or intellectual property by governments, commercial enterprises, other institutions or individuals. The intentional use of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), which is banned in organic production, epitomizes abhorrence of the Right to Food. GMO’s and patents on life substantially contribute to the current deplorable world food situation.
Organic farming systems prioritize local and national economies and markets and empower peasant and family farmer-driven agriculture, food production, distribution and consumption based on the Principles of Organic Agriculture, which ensure environmental, social and economic sustainability. Through its traceable systems, whether through third-party organic certification or through Participatory Guarantee Systems and the involvement of the community, organic production guarantees just income to all peoples and the rights of citizens to choose their food and nutrition patterns. Organic production is the systematic approach that helps ensuring the rights of people to control their destiny, and as a result, to beat hunger and malnutrition. Organic farming offers the tools and techniques necessary to ensure the Right to Food for subsistence farmers and local communities, and offers sustainable models for regional development and international trade.
The reality of what Organic Agriculture can and is doing for food security and in securing the Right to Food is being proven at by intergovernmental agencies and independent universities. At the conference Organic Agriculture and Food Security in May 2007 at the headquarters of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the findings were that Organic Agriculture empowers social systems to control their own food supply and organic labels enforce the right to choose food, and that in sub-Saharan Africa, a conversion of up to 50 percent would likely increase food availability and decrease food import dependency. ftp://ftp.fao.org/docrep/fao/meeting/012/j9918e.pdf Reputable studies by major universities are finding organic agriculture can feed the world as well. A recent study by the University of Michigan showed that organic farming can yield up to three times as much food on individual farms in developing countries, and that in developed countries, yields were almost equal on organic and conventional farms. http://www.ns.umich.edu/htdocs/releases/story.php?id=5936 A 22- year study by Cornell University concluded that organic farming produces the same yields of corn and soybeans as conventional farming, but uses 30 percent less energy, less water and no pesticides. http://www.news.cornell.edu/stories/July05/organic.farm.vs.other.ssl.html
Angela B. Caudle, IFOAM Executive Director stresses “since food is directly connected to communities and cultures, the Right to Food is also connected to community and rural development. There needs to be space for development that is not created by donating chemical fertilizers, but rather supports the regeneration and improvement of indigenous and local knowledge.”
Distribution of the IFOAM’s WFD Press Release by African Contact Points
The WFD press release was sent as a sample to the IFOAM African Contact Points in English and French for distribution in their countries. Examples from Zambia and Madagascar are illustrated below.
In Zambia, the Press Release has been published in the Post Newspaper which generated an article titled “Developed Countries Creating unfair competition”.
In Madagascar, the press release has been read on the national radio and TV channels (RNM and TVM) and published by some newspapers. Other media like “Express de Madagascar” generated positive articles on Organic Agriculture.
Additional activities from IFOAM African Contact Points
In Zambia, PELUM and the Organic Producers and Processors Association of Zambia (OPPAZ) participated in two radio broadcasts shows on October 15th and 16th 2007 and in the national World Food Day’s celebrations that took place in Chongwe district on the outskirts of Lusaka. OPPAZ organized its small scale farmers of Chinkuli Cooperative Society, who exhibited a range of organic products (e.g. local maize, sorghum, beans, indigenous fresh vegetables, beans, rice), and soil fertility management seeds (e.g. velvet beans, jack beans).
In Kenya, the Kenya Organic Agriculture Network (KOAN) participated in the national World Food Day’s event at Yatta district. The meeting was organized by the Ministry of Agriculture in collaboration with the FAO.
KOAN used the opportunity to share information about Organic Agriculture and to market organic products from its members. In addition, KOAN awarded prizes to 2 farmers for their best use of organic farming techniques.
In Uganda, the World Food Day was officially celebrated in Kalangala town. The National Organic Agriculture Movements of Uganda (NOGAMU) participated in the event by exhibiting samples of organic products marketed by its members.
4. A list of organic certification bodies operating in Africa is available at the IFOAM Africa Office homepage
| ||The list has been developed to enable African organic stakeholders and others interested in Organic Agriculture to have an overview on organizations providing organic certification services in Africa.|
The data used for this list are from the Organic Certification Directory 2006 and the respectively organizations’ websites.
The organizations are listed by country in alphabetical order. It is therefore easy to find out which certification body is providing services in which African country.
To read the list, visit the IFOAM website at:
For more information about worldwide standards and certification issues in the organic sector, visit: http://www.organicstandard.com.
5. News from OPPAZ’s Annual General Meeting
| ||Last August, the Organic Producers and Processors Association of Zambia (OPPAZ) held its Annual General Meeting (AGM). During the meeting new OPPAZ’s Board members were elected and amendments to the organization’s constitution were made.|
The meeting retained the Chairman, Mr. Charles Mubanga, and Treasurer, Dr. Josiah Ngondo unopposed. The new Vice Chairman, Mr. Malumo Mubita, was voted to replace Mr. Munshimbwe Chitalu who is now the Chief Executive Officer of OPPAZ. Mr. Daniel Ball and Daglous Mwasi stood aside as committee members to pave way for new entrants Mr. Beatwell Chisala and Mrs. Bernadette Lubozhya. Ms. Anniemike des Vos and Ms. Gloria Musowa retained their positions as Committee Members.
The AGM resolved to change of OPPAZ’s Supreme Governance Structure from the Executive Committee to the Board. This means that OPPAZ will be managed by the Chief Executive Officer with full executive functions of an Executive Director.
The meeting also extended the term of office of the Board Members to a three-year term. Each Board Member can be re-elected in the Board for as many terms as the Annual General Assembly is satisfied with his/her performance.
For more information, contact Munshimbwe Chitalu at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
6. Ghana opens doors for organic cocoa in West Africa
| ||A blend of organic Ghana cocoa beans in organic chocolate is now teasing the taste of both young and old on the organic chocolate market in the Netherlands. |
With the financial help of the Rabobank Foundation, and the consultancy of AgroEco, smallholder cocoa farmers from Brong Densuso, a small town in the Eastern region of Ghana, have produced the first traceable high quality organic Ghana cocoa beans.
This success story has demonstrated that with organic, smallholder farmers can indeed improve their livelihoods. The project has benefited about 1,000 cocoa producers and their households. Production of organic cocoa provides a premium of between 10 and 40 per cent over non-organic cocoa.
For more information, contact Samuel Adimado at: email@example.com.
7. Organic Agriculture Development Training Program
| ||From July 25th to August 10th 2008, in Sweden, and from January 22nd to February 4th 2009, in Uganda, IFOAM Member Grolink is organizing an Organic Agriculture Development (OAD) training program.|
The OAD training program is funded by Sida, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, and aims to provide the skills and knowledge needed for organizations/key persons in the public and private sector working for Organic Agriculture sector development.
This year, the program is only open for candidates from African countries.
The program is intended for managers, or people in equivalently influential positions, in regional or national government institutions or in the private sector, including NGOs, working with various aspects of agricultural and rural development, such as policy development, regulations, support mechanisms and institutional development. The applicant should have a position which allows him/her to become a key actor and to play an influential role in the development of Organic Agriculture in the home country.
The deadline for submission of applications is February 20, 2008.
For more information visit: http://www.grolink.se/Projects/OAD/OAD-Training.htm.
8. Africa can feed itself
| ||The final report of the conference in Oslo, Norway June 6-8 2007: Can Africa Feed Itself? has been recently published and is ready to be downloaded at: http://www.agropub.no/index.gan?id=6565&subid=0|
The report concludes that Africa can feed itself and at the same time preserve the environment and natural resources. For this to happen the following need to take place:
- New policies and proper political framework
- Strengthening of social movements, especially farmers’ unions
- Technical training in Organic Agriculture and sustainable farming techniques
- More research
- Better infrastructure
- Strengthening of local and national markets
- Protection from dumping and cheap imports
- More and better support for agriculture and rural development both from the governments in developing countries and through development assistance from the OECD countries, organizations and international institutions.
9. Upcoming Organic Agriculture-related events
| ||African Pavillon at the BioFach 2008|
February 21-24 2008
The 16th IFOAM Organic World Congress: Cultivate the Future
June 18-20 2008
IFOAM General Assembly
June 22-24 2008
Head Office Contact Information
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