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urs.niggli(at)fibl.org

ORCA: Database with information on organic research institutions now online

The proposed Organic Research Centres Alliance ORCA intends to internationally network and strengthen existing institutions with scientific credentials and empower them to become centers of excellence in transdisciplinary organic agriculture research. It is a joint initiative of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations FAO, FiBL and the Danish International Centre for Research in Organic Food Systems ICROFS. The ORCA database is now online.

Logo FAO Organic Farming
(September 28, 2009) 

The database gives a unique overview of research institutions active in organic agricultural research world-wide. The database can be searched by keyword and by country. For each institution the key activities are listed. A distinction is made between institutions that are active in organic farming research and those that are of interest to organic research. Furthermore there is the category "other organic partners" under which institutions are named that are not active in research but which are of relevance to organic farming research like disssemination centres. 

ORCA aims

The proposed Organic Research Centres Alliance (ORCA) intends to internationally network and strengthen existing institutions with scientific credentials and empower them to become centers of excellence in transdisciplinary organic agriculture research. The objective is to ensure that environmental, economic, and social benefits accruing from organic research are shared worldwide. The ORCA concept is designed following a research paradigm that heavily draws on traditional knowledge, improves it with scientific investigation and shares it widely. Research centres may be physical laboratories or “institutions without walls”, formed through alliances between producers and scientists, as well as twinning between developing and developed countries’ institutions.

The ORCA concept

The ORCA concept has been developed jointly by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations  (Italy), Tufts University (USA) and the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBL (Switzerland). It is  a joint initiative of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations FAO, the Swiss Research Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBL and the Danish International Centre for Research in Organic Food Systems ICROFS.

Partners who have so far joined the Alliance include: the International Society of Organic Agriculture Research ISOFAR, the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements IFOAM, Agro Eco Louis Bolk Institute, Vienna University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences BOKU and  the German Federal Research Institute von Thunen vTI.

The process so far

This project proposal has been written by Nadia El-Hage Scialabba and Kathleen Merrigan in FAO. The draft of this document was publicly discussed through: an electronic consultation held from 17 November to 15 December 2008; two African stakeholders consultations (in Addis Ababa, 27 November 2008 and Kampala, 19 May 2009); and an expert meeting held in FAO, Rome, on 22 June 2009. This document reflects the views and comments received from hundreds of stakeholders and research partners.

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Contact

  • Nadia El-Hage Scialabba
    Senior Officer, Organic Agriculture Programme
    Natural Resources Management and Environment Department
    Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
    Viale Terme di Caracalla
    00153 Rome, Italy
    Tel +3906 5705 6729
    Fax +3906 5705 3064
    E-mail nadia.scialabba(at)fao.org

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