4th IFOAM Youth Congress in March 2019

Last March 26-31, the 4th IFOAM Youth Congress was held in New Taipei, Taiwan with the theme “Access to market, a road to sustainability”. Participants of the congress learned and heard ways in promoting organic agriculture, protection of the environment and encourage the youth to take active role in organic agriculture development from local and international speakers from Philippines, India, Argentina and South Korea.

After the inputs, the participants were able to visit organic farms and village that gave inspiration and model in developing a community working together to attain sustainability and become climate change resilient. The processing centre for organic vegetables that provide organic lunch to schools also gave an idea on how local government and private sector partnership can help improve the health of the citizen and at the same time, provide livelihood to farmers.

Asian Youth Congress March 2019

Last March 26-31, the 4th IFOAM Youth Congress was held in New Taipei, Taiwan with the theme “Access to market, a road to sustainability”. Participants of the congress learned and heard ways in promoting organic agriculture, protection of the environment and encourage the youth to take active role in organic agriculture development from local and international speakers from Philippines, India, Argentina and South Korea .

After the inputs, the participants were able to visit organic farms and village that gave inspiration and model in developing a community working together to attain sustainability and become climate change resilient. The processing centre for organic vegetables that provide organic lunch to schools also gave an idea on how local government and private sector partnership can help improve the health of the citizen and at the same time, provide livelihood to farmers.

Asia Pacific Farmers Forum

Last October 19-21, 2018, the Asian Farmers Forum was held in Yogyakarta, Indonesia which coincided with the IFAD APR workshop. The Farmers’ Forum (FAFO) is a bottom-up process of consultation and dialogue between small farmers and rural producers’ organizations, IFAD and governments for rural development and poverty reduction. 

The Asian Farmers Forum was part of the regional level FAFOs in order to ‘be closer’ to the farmers and to foster greater involvement of IFAD regional divisions and country programs in order to facilitate interactions between FOs, IFAD and the IFAD funded projects and programs. INOFO was invited to sit as part of the Technical Working Group and attended the first workshop last February 2018 for the Asian FAFO workshop. Succeeding meetings were held online to finalize the program and participants wherein 2 participants Philippines, one from India, Sri Lanka, Vietnam and Indonesia came to join the conference. INOFO participants were active in this endeavour by serving as facilitator, engaging in discussions and sharing with and among farmer organizations from the region. 

With the objectives of understanding and appreciating the FaFO process at global, regional and country levels; learning from the work of IFAD and the dynamics of FO-IFAD engagement in Asia Pacific region and at the regional and country levels; and identifying areas of potential and stronger interaction and collaboration between FOs and IFAD; action plans were identified at country and regional level including mechanisms for coordination and complementation among FOs in the region to strengthen solidarity and support. A joint FO-IFAD statement stating support for regional and country level FAFO processes and action plans for stronge FO-IFAD partnerships and cooperation was also signed and presented to the participants.  Participants were also able to visit TOMs Farm, an organic farm where the owners of which are members of the Indonesia Organic Alliance, a new member of INOFO in Indonesia.

INOFO becomes member of ALGOA in South Korea

New chairperson Ms. Shamika Mone represented INOFO at the 4th ALGOA Summit from April 24th to 26th, 2018 in Goesan County, Chungbuk Province, South Korea. Asian Local Governments on Organic Agriculture (ALGOA) is a unique initiative started by IFOAM Asia in 2015 to bring all Asian Local Governments working on Organic Agriculture together on one platform along with many civil society and farmer organisations. First platform, where Government officers, civil society organisations and Organic farmers are no more separate parties; but are friends, buddies or comrades working hand in hand for better healthy future by supporting organic agriculture. This year the focus of the summit was on “Family Farming and the Role of Local Governments in Organic Agriculture”

To understand the importance of this year’s focus on Family Farming let’s look at a brief background behind it. On December 20th, 2017, the United Nations General Assembly, in its 72nd Session, officially adopted a resolution for the “Decade of Family Farming 2019-2028”. The resolution allows for better public policies on Family Farming and offers a unique opportunity to contribute to the alleviation of hunger and poverty as well as to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The resolution was proposed in early October by a group of 14 countries led by Costa Rica, co-sponsored by 104 states and unanimously approved at the General Assembly plenary session.

The adoption of the IYFF+10/Decade of Family Farming 2019-2028, is the result of a long process which started in 2008 with the campaign for the Declaration of the International Year of Family Farming (IYFF-2014). The campaign was coordinated by the World Rural Forum as well as over 300 civil society organizations, governments, research centers, international organizations and cooperatives. It was also supported by international organizations such as FAO, IFAD, International Land Coalition (ILC), etc.

In lieu with such international developments, it is timely that ALGOA takes measures to recognize the role of family farming, small and marginal farmers in local organic agriculture development and bring forth relevant support policies from the local governments. ALGOA takes note that “the integrating concept of family farming includes forests, aquaculture, pastoralism and family fishing, as well as the fundamental role that women and young people play in family farming.” Local governments can play a big role in manifesting the objectives of the IYFF+10/Decade of Family Farming.

Purpose of this Summit was to understand and define the concept of family farming in organic agriculture in the Asian context and to develop policies/ guidelines by local governments to support family farming in organic agriculture. ALGOA now has grown to 91 members in 16 countries in Asia. The new members including INOFO have signed the “Membership of Commitment” in Goesan at this ALGOA Summit.

Position Statement from INOFO 4th April 2018 at Stop Golden Rice Network International Conference, Philippines

We, Organic Farmers from the Inter-Continental Network of Organic Farmers Organisation (INOFO), a self-organized structure within IFOAM who gives organic farmers a voice, inside the organic movement and outside towards the public and politic, oppose all GM crops in total including the Golden Rice. GMOs have been proven to negatively affect our health; additionally it puts high risk on the farmer ownership of seeds. Therefore as an international organization who support our healthy planet, we oppose any seeds that go against the sustainable growth of the planet. 

It is un-needed, un-safe and un-predictable technology. 

We do not need to spend enormous amount of money to create a Rice variety that has Vitamin A. Our organic farms are full of diversity of crops including different kinds of pumpkins, Papaya and other numerous fruits and leafy vegetables which give us our Vitamin A. 

Contamination from GM crops has proven time and again in many parts of the world and organic farmers continue to face the threat at various levels. The Golden Rice would contaminate our indigenous rich Rice diversity losing the different nutritional qualities and purity of our indigenous variety. Rice, as our staple food, plays a significant part of our culture and tradition. So unless it is proven safe for us and our environment, we continue to oppose Genetically Modified Crops.

Experiences from Green Revolution and GM crops have left organic farmers with no choice to grow their own indigenous varieties. We lose our right to seed, right to grow and right to live by increasing dependence on the external markets increasing the cost of production, indebtedness ultimately leading to suicides. Even under severe pressure we as Organic Farmers Organisations will continue to stand for the organic farmers who strive hard to provide poison-free, GM-free organically grown healthy food for our future generations to come.

We call upon the Philippine Government to heed the call of  farmers and consumers to reject Golden Rice commercialization in the country and uphold rights to safe, nutritious, diverse, organically sourced food.

* INOFO is a Network of like-minded Organic Farmer organisations, with the task to establish relationships between organic farmers organisation all over the world. These organisations can cooperate in pursuing their common objectives as they relate to food sovereignty in general and, in particular, to public policy and land rights, climatic adaptation, production standards and guarantee systems, marketing and pricing negotiations, participatory research, technical exchanges, education, seed sovereignty and other farmers concern, like  strengthen the peasant movement, especially for organic peasants.