The International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements announced the formation of a new group to advance organic agriculture research. Known as the Technology Innovation Platform of IFOAM (TIPI), the new group will address innovation and technology transfer needs in organic agriculture. TIPI will foster international cooperation; engage all who benefit from advances in knowledge; facilitate information exchange; and assist practitioners to disseminate, apply and implement innovations and scientific knowledge consistent with the principles of Organic Agriculture.
“It is clear that TIPI is a chance [for researchers] to move from scientific impact to real impact,” said Gerold Rahmann, Professor at the von Thünen Institute and an Executive Board member of the International Society of Organic Agriculture Research (ISOFAR).
Following the Science Day event held at BioFach, 36 organizations signed on as charter members. These charter members elected a governing council, including Uygun Aksoy of Ege University, Turkey; Urs Niggli of the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL) in Switzerland; Gabriela Soto from National University of Costa Rica; Maria Wivstad, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences; Marco Schlüter, IFOAM EU Group; Helga Willer at FiBL; Chong Hyuk Suh of the Korean Federation of Sustainable Agriculture Organizations (KFSA), and Nic Lampkin from the Organic Research Centre, UK.
According to Niggli, “TIPI will develop a Global Research Vision for organic farming addressing the challenges of food security, ecosystem degradation and social and economic discrimination of farmers.”
The chartering followed a Science Day organized by IFOAM, FiBL and the International Society of Organic Agriculture Research (ISOFAR). Over 100 individuals from all over the world attended. A town hall meeting was held to hear the visions to advance organic agriculture research. Panelists included Niggli, Soto, Sang Mok Sohn from ISOFAR and Dankook University in South Korea, and IFOAM’s President, André Leu from Australia.
For Leu, the event was seen as a milestone. “For me, today is significant because by coming together globally to launch TIPI we are also facilitating one of the most important paradigm shifts in our movement,” said Leu. “We are moving to an Organic Agriculture that is based on credible interdisciplinary, cross cutting sciences that are informed by our principles.”
Attendees participated in workshops to engage stakeholders, conduct systems research, innovate and develop new technologies, and disseminate information.
Participants identified a tremendous need in regions and sectors whose needs have not been fulfilled. Aksoy stated, “We believe that TIPI will provide an opportunity for the researchers and institutes in developing countries to link with their counterparts world-wide.”
Among other projects identified by the Council, TIPI will spend the next year helping IFOAM and ISOFAR prepare for the next Organic World Congress 2014 in Istanbul, Turkey. There, it will organize and host a new format of workshop to promote dialogue among stakeholders of the sector about the future of organic farming research. All sectors of the organic movement are invited to take part.
- Markus Arbenz, International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM), Bonn, Germany
- Prof. Dr. Urs Niggli, Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL), Switzerland