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FiBL at the 18th Organic World Congress

Cover of the programme of the 18th Organic World Congress

Carlos Escobar from Colombia (left) and Pascal Gbenou (right) from Benin – two of the farmers who spoke at the TIPI workshop on 12 October at the invitation of FiBL. Photo: Carolin Möller, FiBL

Participants at the event "Organic family farming and fair trade for rural development". Picture: FiBL

Participants at the Job Fair event where students and career entrants gained insights into the organic farming sector. Photo: Thomas Alföldi, FiBL. Foto: Boris Liebl, FiBL

TILMAN-ORG Session: Project manager Paul Mäder, FiBL, and Paolo Barberi, Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna, Italy. Photo: Helga Willer, FiBL

Best Poster Awards recognizing outstanding work at the ISOFAR conference. Fourth person from the right: Christian Andres, FiBL. At the microphone: Professor Dr. Gerold Rahmann, Institute for Organic Farming at the Thünen Institute and President of ISOFAR. Photo: Otto Schmid, FiBL

The IFOAM Honorary Ambassadors (left to right): Ashish Gupta, Vice-President of IFOAM-Asia, India; Gabor Figeczky, IFOAM Advocacy Manager; Helmy Abouleish, Sekem, Egypt; Katherine di Matteo, Director of the Sustainable Food Trade Association, USA; Urs Niggli, Director of FiBL and President of TIPI; Sue Edwards, Institute for Sustainable Development, Ethiopia; Andre Leu, IFOAM President. Photo: Otto Schmid, FiBL

The 18th Organic World Congress (OWC) took place from 13 to 15 October 2014 in Istanbul. The OWC is regularly convened by the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM). This time the local organizer was Budgay, an organization dedicated to promoting organic farming and developing the domestic market in Turkey.

As part of the congress’ scientific track organized by the International Society of Organic Agriculture Research ISOFAR (www.isofar.org) and Ege University (Izmir), FiBL staff presented their current research work in more than 20 oral and poster presentations, addressing topics such as reduced tillage, organic farming in the tropics, communication of research results, and organic sector statistics.

Moreover, FiBL organized or co-organized a range of events at the congress. We report on some of these events below:

At the TIPI (IFOAM’s Technology Innovation Platform) workshop, farmers from five continents spoke about research needs in their regions. This information will be integrated into the TIPI Vision and Strategic Research Agenda. The first draft (http://orgprints.org/27636) was presented and discussed at the workshop. Following on from the workshop the 2014 TIPI Member Assembly was held as part of which the next steps with respect to the vision/research agenda were discussed. The Second Draft is to be presented at the Biofach Science Day. Additionally, the members elected a new Council and re-elected FiBL Director Urs Niggli as President of TIPI.

The Animal Husbandry Alliance (IAHA) of the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) is an informal network of organizations and individuals interested in supporting and strengthening the development of organic animal husbandry within IFOAM. At the Organic World Congress the alliance organized two events and presented the "Istanbul Declaration". The presentations given at the IAHA events were published in the "Proceedings of the IAHA-Preconference and Workshop" (http://orgprints.org/27707). FiBL coordinates the alliance and FiBL staff member Otto Schmid is its President.

The event entitled "Career meeting – training and organic career opportunities in the organic sector" attracted a great deal of interest amongst the Turkish participants. Its aim was to expose a greater number of students and career entrants to the organic farming sector. It was evident at the event that more needs to be done to motivate young people to engage with the sector. Follow-up events at Turkish universities are being planned.

To mark the International Year of Family Farming, a special meeting was held prior to the IFOAM congress: "Organic family farming and fair trade for rural development". 40 participants discussed the contributions organic farming and fair trade are making – and can further make – with regard to smallholder structures in developing countries, with a view to more sustainable development processes in poorer countries. They agreed that in most countries smallholder farming is the basis of sustainable development. They noted that government representatives, in particular, should assume more responsibility for safeguarding such structures and promoting appropriate and sustainable cultivation methods and marketing channels, especially at local level. The event was organized jointly by development organizations HELVETAS and HIVOS, together with IFOAM, FiBL and certification organization ICEA. The outcomes are contained in the proceedings: http://orgprints.org/27764

The TILMAN-ORG session (www.tilman-org.net) on reduced tillage and cover crops in organic farming was very well received. The TILMAN-ORG project is supported as part of CORE Organic (www.coreorganic.org). A range of new research findings on reduced tillage in organic agriculture was presented at the workshop and encouraged a lively debate between researchers and workshop participants.

At the OrganicDataNetwork Project workshop (www.organicdatanetwork.net) on improved organic market data availability and quality, FiBL’s Helga Willer presented the OrganicDataNetwork online database which from December onwards will host and make available market data collected as part of the OrganicDataNetwork. Project leader Raffaele Zanoli of Università Politecnica delle Marche in Ancona spoke about the challenges encountered in organic market data collection in Europe, and Susanne Padel of the Organic Research Centre in the UK reported on experiences in data collection as part of the OrganicDataNetwork case studies.

FiBL, in cooperation with the Thünen Institute in Braunschweig, is in the process of establishing the international agri benchmark Network Organic the aim of which is the collection of detailed economic data in the organic sector. Jürn Sanders of the Thünen Institute (a former FiBL employee) and Matthias Stolze, Head of the Department of Socio-Economic Sciences at FiBL, presented the initiative.

Last but not least a number of FiBL staff received awards at the OWC: Christian Andres won the ISOFAR Best Poster Award for his poster on the long-term comparison trials in the tropics, Helga Willer was presented the IFOAM Recognition Award for her long-standing engagement for IFOAM, and Urs Niggli was appointed IFOAM Honorary Ambassador.

Further informationen


Helga Willer, FiBL


FiBL contributions presented at the ISOFAR/Scientific conference


TIPI - Technology Innovation Platform of IFOAM

IFOAM Animal Husbandry Alliance

agri benchmark Network Organic