Taiwan Youth Congress (National) Dec 2018

Last December 10-14, 2018, a Youth Training-Workshop of the Eco-Friendly Farming & the Organic Agriculture was held in Gongguan and Hualien in Taiwan. The activity was participated by indigenous farmers from all over Taiwan and aimed to strengthen the organic agriculture adaption and implementation by farmers in the country.

The series of training-workshops were organized by Association of Taiwanese Indigenous Peoples’ Development (ATIPD), an active member of INOFO, with local youth organization and supported by the National Government of Taiwan.    

Local speakers from the university and government discussed the overall organic agriculture program, including support, from production, machineries and certification. 

ATIPD also invited Rowena Buena of Masipag in the Philippines to talk about INOFO and PGS; Vitoon R. Panyakul of GreenNet in Thailand discussed the responses of farmers on extreme climate and Miyoshi Satoko, IFOAM Asia Board, discussed the development of the Organic Agriculture from the strategy of supporting young farmers in Japan.

Aside from the lecture discussion, field and market visits were also done as well as discussion with successful processors and organic producers in Gogguan and Hualien areas.

Kerala Organic Farmer’s Association Inaugurates its Website

Ms. Jennifer Chang, Vice President and World Board member of IFOAM Organics International interacted with and inaugerated website of Kerala Organic Farmer’s Association (Kerala Jaiva Karshaka Samithi KJKS), a grassroot organic farmers organisation on 11th of August in Thrissur, Kerala. KJKS is a voluntary farmerers organisation working for more than 25 years in Kerala on organic farming, ecology, health and happiness. Ms. Janet Gracie from GreenRoads and INOFO convenor from South Africa, Mr. Sundeep Kamath, secretary of Biodynamic Association of India and other farmer friendly organisations addressed the function. Organic farmers, leaders and activists from all over the state attended the programme. A One Earth One Life publication ‘Local Plants for Health as Medicine’ was released at the function.

Website: www.jaivakarshakasamithi.in

The organic movement in Zambia starts BIOF programme

Organic Producers & Processors Association of Zambia (OPPAZ), the national organic agriculture movement for Zambia has started Business-Intended Organic Farming and Wellness programme (BIOF) in collaboration with the private commercial sector and training institutions. This is a sustainability initiative to obviate the negative consequences that rocked its’ operations due to dwindling external financing when Zambia attained status of Low Middle Income Country in 2009.

BIOF has been implemented since 2017 with little promise of success. In 2018, the private sector supported efforts seem to have rejuvenated BIOF as a business – configured service-oriented initiative. The initiative focuses on capacity building for i) increasing organic productivity and production of family farmers in Zambia, ii) promotion of healthy living by rousing household food processing and utilisation.

In June last year that OPPAZ realised the need to actively work with the private sector in making requisite resources for production to farmers. It forged relationships with a Microbial Fertiliser company and embarked on collaborative yield demonstration trials to show that organic farming would outperform conventional farming with respect to productivity, quality of products, cost of production and net earnings. Trials of this nature were conducted in many locations for crops like maize, sunflower, soyabean and wheat. Other crops include rose flowers, avocados, papayas, mangoes, tomatoes and a range of assorted vegetables.

The preliminary results of the trials show about 15 % increase in yield over and above the conventional farms. This good news heightened the spirits of OPPAZ to not only spread the message but to make this organic input available to all farmers. This led to crafting of BIOF as an alliance of the private sector operators with family farmers. Sensitization meetings with some 5,000 family farmers have been conducted with the major lesson that farmers need to know and understand the production technology. For this purpose a training programme on organic farming and utilisation of the whole range of organic foods was crafted in June this year. The first training seminar lasting three days was fully sponsored by the trainees themselves. Family Farmers in six villages of Chongwe District have so far being involved in an exercise which started with capacity assessment for production and supply of sufficient volumes. The next stage is the provision of actual training on the group production design over time and space.

Preservation Support Policies in Brazil- What and for whom?

On 16 and 17 August, a seminar on the Brazilian Forest Code and economic support policies for nature preservation took place in the city of Cuiaba, state of Mato Grosso, Brazil, center of Brazilian agribusiness, focusing on interpretations and disputes to the defense of common property, organized by the Carta de Belém group, a social representation formed in 2009 by various “socio-environmental organizations and movements, family and peasant agriculture workers, agroextractivists, quilombolas, women’s organizations, urban popular organizations, fishermen, students, traditional peoples and communities, and indigenous peoples who share the struggle against deforestation and environmental justice in the Amazon and Brazil. “

With the participation of leaders from all over the country, indigenous peoples, quilombola and traditional communities, representatives of family agriculture, educational institutions and a network of popular lawyers, the seminar proposed to deepen the debate on the financialization mechanisms of nature, understanding of the new Brazilian legal provisions, designed to benefit the hegemonic agrochemical model, the expansion of the agricultural frontier and, above all, the transformation of common goods into individual properties and their pricing.

Policies for financial support from “developed” countries to support the preservation and maintenance of forests in underdeveloped countries were discussed and how the needs and interests of local people should be addressed, respecting and valuing their cultures, territories, seeds, agriculture , etc.

The exchange of information was very positive, providing leaders with more information about what is happening across the country in the field of agricultural policy and environmental reality, for their sovereignty over land, seeds, and crops as a whole.

Promotion of PGS for local marketing in Eastern Africa

Using strategic relations and platforms, INOFO is pursuing the harmonization of PGS operations using the EAOPS mark in the region.  During the recent two day meeting hosted by PELUM, Kenya, for the Ecological Organic Agriculture (EOA) Initiative forum for indigenous certification bodies in Eastern Africa region, the EA convener shared an update of INOFO in the region and expressed INOFO’s desire to directly participate in the on-going local and regional marketing initiatives through participatory Guarantee Systems (PGS). Through this forum, we had the opportunity of participating in the on-going review process of the East African Organic Products Standard (EAOPS).  Additionally, on behalf of OFOs/INOFO in Uganda, the JMC (Joint Management Committee), which is responsible for overseeing and regulating use of the EAOPS mark in the region, was implored to follow up on PGS implementation in Uganda. The representatives of the Organic Sector in Uganda as a way forward agreed to meet and look into the PGS operations in the country and work out a strategy for streamlining them to the benefit of all OFOs.

The Freshveggies PGS members have continued to participate in the weekly local markets at Gombe Kinoni Wood Farms, in Wakiso District. 20 members are actively involved in this local market which attracts about 50 – 200 buyers within the neighborhood. The market deals in fresh foods such as local vegetables, bananas, sweet potatoes, maize, beans and fruits. 

Patikim Festival: sharing the harvest of hard work and industriousness

For Filipinos, the month of May is the month of festivals and thanksgiving for bountiful harvests. Every year, in May, farmers, advocates, and Local Government Units from Quezon Province, converged and share anything they can afford in celebration of bountiful harvest called Patikim Festival. The festival showcases locally organic produced cuisine such as rice cakes, local salad, lechon or roasted whole pig; cuisines cooked with coconut milk like sinantolan, fish ginataan and farmer bred rice where everyone can partake.

Patikim Festival started in Quezon province in 2013 through the initiative of the people’s organizations (POs) of MASIPAG in the municipalities of Real, Infanta and Gen. Nakar. Patikim serves as an expression of gratitude of the farmers to the organizations that helped them recover from the onslaught of typhoon Winnie last 2004, which caused an avalanche of boulders, logs and soil that buried their farmlands and caused the death of several of their families and community members.

The celebration enjoins more farmers to engage in organic farming. According to Virginia Nazareno of Kiday Community Farmers Association (KCFA), “Our area is naturally hazard-prone due to its proximity to the Pacific coastline and is frequently being battered by strong typhoons, affecting our crops and livelihood. Organic agriculture has a huge potential to increase resiliency of farmers, thereby increasing their ability to function even when faced with unexpected events such as climate change.”

The festival is also supported by the Catholic Church, through the Social Action Network of Infanta, MASIPAG, local government units and other NGOs. Aside from supporting such activities, several local government units are declaring their municipalities as organic or GMO-free as response to the farmers’ call to strengthen organic agriculture and sustainable food production in their locality. In particular, General Nakar, where the festival was held, passed an ordinance supporting organic agriculture and joined the municipalities under Leauge of Organic Agriculture Municipalities and Cities (LOAMC) against Golden Rice, a genetically modified rice supposedly aimed at children and women suffering from Vitamin A deficiency.

Imbued by the spirit of solidarity, the festival symbolizes the aspiration of farmers to be freed from the clutches of transnational corporations that hold the monopoly of seed and technology in maintaining a highly oppressive agricultural system. Patikim Festival is thus more than just a celebration of the farmers’ will to overcome impoverished conditions. It also gestures towards building a welcoming and unifying community of farmers which advocates for natural and organic farming in the Quezon province.