World News

  1. GMO-Free Regions Conference, Brussels 19-20 April 2007
  2. Book on the Potential of Organic Farming for Improving Livelihoods in Developing Countries Published
  3. Opportunity to Review the International Assessment of Agricultural Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD) Documents
1. Submit Papers and Register for the 1st IFOAM Conference on the Marketing of Organic and Regional Values

Schwaebisch Hall, Germany

The marketing of organic products is viewed as a significant link between production and consumers. Today, organic products are becoming increasingly interchangeable, disconnecting the linkage between producer and consumer and diluting their identity. Stakeholders can obviously organize organic production, but in light of continuous growth and the entrance of organic in mainstream markets, it is important to develop new and specific marketing strategies that protect organic product identity, traditional knowledge, and biodiversity, and thus organic farmers and rural communities.

IFOAM is organizing this conference with the goal of initiating discussion and fostering knowledge about the marketing of organic and regional values. This conference will focus on a discussion of specific marketing strategies that aim to give value to products by taking into consideration their uniqueness. It will deal with the question of how to create and identify regional and other specific values, and ultimately how to translate these values into successful marketing strategies for organic products. Communicating these values to the consumer is part of that strategy. The conference will consider various concepts and marketing strategies, including regulatory approaches, to protect regional values and traditional knowledge.

Call for papers

Papers are invited for a list of topics that can be found on the website. Case studies and practical marketing experiences are strongly encouraged; it is hoped to receive a full range of papers spanning from grassroots and political nature, to scientific and professional articles. Complete details can be found on the website.

For more information, visit: www.ifoam.org/events/ifoam_conferences/regional_values_2007.html
2. IFOAM Signs Letter Opposing Patents on Life and Encourages IFOAM Members to Sign as Well

IFOAM and its members organizations have alway strongly opposed patents on life, and now the Eurpopean Patent Office is attempting to allow patents on conventional plants and animals.

Along with organizations from around the world, IFOAM has signed a joint letter to the Enlarged Board of Appeal of the European Patent Office to highlight our opposition to patents on plants and animals, and we encourage all IFOAM member organizations to do the same.

The continuing patenting of seeds, plant varieties and animal species deprives farmers and breeders of their rights. The European Patent office is attempting to use a patent on broccoli (EP 1069819) for a fundamental ruling on whether or not conventional plants are patentable. The decission of the Enlarged Board of Appeal (case T 0083/05) will be binding for all other pending patent applications, including animals and their offspring.

To read more and to sign the letter, visit:
3. IFOAM Membership Approves IFOAM Work on Body Care Standards

After thoroughly assessing the issue against the applicable IFOAM policies, IFOAM invited its members to vote from the 1st of November to 13th of December to vote to approve "Body Care (Cosmetic) Standards" as a new work item.

Of the 692 members eligible at that time 178 members cast a vote. This number was sufficient to exceed the number of votes necessary to establish a valid voting result (25% of the membership according to IFOAM Policy 47 for new work items).

For the approval of a new work item a simple majority (50% +1 vote) of the votes cast is necessary. This requirement was exceeded by far with 92.94 % (158) of the valid votes cast in favor of the approval. 12 votes were cast against the approval. 8 voters voted “no opinion”. These 8 are according to IFOAM Policies not counted towards the voting result.

With this voting result the IFOAM membership approved that IFOAM begins working on developing Body Care Standards. In the year 2007 the Organic Guarantee Structures are focusing on the comprehensive revision of the IBS. The actual work on developing the Body Care Standards will therefore not commence before early 2008.

In 2007 IFOAM will restrain itself to preparatory activities regarding the Body Care Standards project, e.g. establishing a sub committee of the Standards Committee, which will be responsible for developing the draft Body Care Standards. Some organizations already expressed their interest to serve on the sub committee. If you are interested too, watch out for our coming communication and calls for subcommittee members.
Building on IFOAM’s Basic Training Manual for Organic Agriculture in the Tropics: The new manual for the Humid Tropics and for the Arid and Semi-arid Tropics.
The two new manuals provide a vast array of specific knowledge, taking into account the geographic and climatic conditions in these climatic zones. The manuals contain case studies of organic farming systems, describe successful organic marketing initiatives and offer guidelines for the main crops of the Humid Tropics.

The Training Manuals are designed as guides and source books to implement training programs. They will help trainers develop the structure of a course or workshop, and provide material and ideas for its organization. The Manuals can also serve as a handbook for those who want to get a more clear and complete idea about organic farming practices in the Humid Tropics and in the Arid and Semi-arid Tropics.

The manuals are to be used in conjunction with IFOAM’s Basic Training Manual for Organic Agriculture in the Tropics.

The IFOAM Training Manual for Seed Saving
This training manual for organic seed saving was developed to help farmers in the tropics to save and multiply their seeds. A large part of information found in this manual is based on the experience of several seed savers in the field. Besides this, existing material was also collected, screened and simplified for the manual. The manual contains information on the various aspects of community seed banking. It provides detailed information on the various steps involved in seed saving and multiplication. It also gives information on multiplication techniques for specific crops and examples of community seed saving.

The IFOAM / IOAS Training Manual for Assessment of Organic Certification Bodies
This training manual has developed out of the will within IFOAM and the International Organic Accreditation Service (IOAS) to share the knowledge and experience gained from the IFOAM Accreditation Program.

The Manual attempts to provide a comprehensive introduction to all relevant fields related to the assessment of organic certification bodies. It is not a guide for inspectors of organic farms and factories, although some of the information may well be of interest.

The Training Manual addresses trainers and resource persons who are engaged in training activities on assessment and accreditation. It can be used to facilitate trainings for assessors and accreditation staff and their trainers but will also be of interest to personnel working in government authorities with responsibility for regulation and oversight of the organic sector in their country, to those with emerging organic sectors and also to certification bodies themselves.

In addition, the Manual can also serve as a handbook for those who want to get a more clear and complete idea of the regulation of organic integrity on an international basis.

IFOAM Training Module on Gender in Organic Agriculture
This training module on Gender in Organic Agriculture was developed to contribute to gender equity in Organic Agriculture. In general men and women do not have equal opportunities and there is no equal distribution of benefits between men and women yet. This training manual is a tool for trainers and extension workers. It will help to sensitize and raise awareness on gender issues in organic agriculture. It also gives advice on how to achieve high participation of women in training courses. This will help to better integrate the particular expertise of rural women on agriculture and food production and increase their access to knowledge on Organic Agriculture.
5. Visit the IFOAM Internet Training Platform and get free access to several new IFOAM Training Manuals!

Several new IFOAM Training Manuals are available now as a free download for IFOAM members on the IFOAM Internet Training Platform! Please visit the training platform at (www.ifoam.org/training) and select the IFOAM Publications section, where you can choose from currently available IFOAM Training Manuals, including a large variety of slides. Most of the IFOAM manuals are available in English, Spanish and French.

New manuals now available are e.g. the IFOAM Training Manual for Organic Agriculture in the Arid and Semi-Arid Tropics and the IFOAM Training Manual for Organic Agriculture in the Humid Tropics. Besides the IFOAM Training Manuals you will find a broad variety of Training Materials and announcements of training opportunities on Organic Agriculture, which IFOAM is continuously gathering and updating for you. The IFOAM Internet Training Platform aims to be THE Organic Agriculture extension resource worldwide. To achieve this goal, we would like to encourage you to collaborate with this initiative!

IFOAM Internet Training Platform: One Organic World – One United Resource.

How can your organization contribute and benefit from the IFOAM Internet Training Platform?

If your organization has published organic training manuals or if you are offering training courses, you can promote them by posting documents or links to your respective web site on the training platform! As a result of the recent revision of the training platform concept, there are no costs involved for providers from the IFOAM membership. In addition all external materials posted on the Platform are available free of charge for all users. IFOAM offers members that sell organic training materials to include a free link to their respective web site.

During the last months an increasing number of organizations collaborated with IFOAM in building the training platform.

Take advantage of your benefits as IFOAM member and participate in the construction of this unique global extension resource for Organic Agriculture!

Contact the Platform Coordinator for information on how to submit at t.platfom@ifoam.org, or visit the Platform at www.ifoam.org/training
6. IFOAM Supports FAO Conference on Organic Agriculture and Food Security

IFOAM is supporting the Food and Agriculture Organization's Conference The International Conference on Organic Agriculture and Food Security, which takes place from May 3rd to 5th 2007 in FAO’s Headquarters in Rome, Italy, in connection with the 33rd Session of the Committee on World Food Security (May 7-10 2007). The Conference is open to all interested parties, including government, academic institutions, civil society and private sector institutions interested in organic agriculture and food security.

For more information visit the FAO website on Organic Agriculture (www.fao.org/organicag) or contact Nadia Scialabba (nadia.scialabba@fao.org).
7. Call for Setting up an IFOAM Regional Office in Latin America

IFOAM will be opening an office in Latin America, with objective of giving significant support to the development of Organic Agriculture in the region. The office will also serve as a connection to the IFOAM Head Office in Bonn, Germany.

IFOAM invites for offers from individuals or member organizations willing to host the office. The deadline for submission of offers is April 24th.

Download the complete call here:

8. Publish the IFOAM Emblem on Your Website and Printed Materials!

When you publish the IFOAM Emblem, you are helping to strengthen and unify the organic movement globally. The more people learn and discover IFOAM and understand how the the World of Organic Agriculture really works, the stonger our movement becomes.

IFOAM's new emblem is available on the IFOAM Intranet for its members, affiliates and supporters to showcase their relationship with IFOAM to the public. The emblem can be displayed on your letterhead and business cards, or as a banner from which you can link your webpage to the IFOAM website.

Show the world that you are proud to be part of IFOAM! Login to the IFOAM Intranet to download the IFOAM Emblem today!


9. IFOAM Telegram Targets Communications Specialists and Publishers in the Organic Movement

The IFOAM Telegram is a new IFOAM publication that targets communications specialists and publishers in the organic movement, with the aim of providing up-to-date and relevant informationi about IFOAM and its activities for publication around the world. We encourage IFOAM affiliates to publish the IFOAM telegram or parts thereof in their publications and on their websites.

Download the first issue of the IFOAM telegram here:
The IFOAM Telegram

Please send any feedback or questions to Neil Sorensen at n.sorensen@ifoam.org

10. IFOAM Publishes Dossier on the Millennium Development Goals

This dossier is the first attempt by IFOAM to document how organic agriculture can contribute to achieving the MDGs. While some studies and projects are beginning to shed light on the topic, there is a lack of long-term data collected and compiled on the subject. It should thus be noted that, although organic agriculture certainly contributes to achieving the MDGs, more research is needed to authenticate and substantiate the contribution. This dossier and the topic of organic agriculture's contribution to the MDGs will be revisited in five years.

Download the MDG Dossier from the IFOAM Intranet:

Head Office Contact Information
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Tel: +49-228-92650-10
Fax: +49-228-92650-99
Email: headoffice@ifoam.org