Category Archives: Issue: Organic Farming

FAO Family Farming Knowledge Platform


During the 2014 International Year of Family Farming (IYFF), FAO and various partners and stakeholders expressed the need to go beyond the celebrations and to put in place a set of concrete actions aimed at addressing issues and challenges raised throughout the year. In response to that, the decision was made to implement a web-based knowledge platform that could share information and knowledge on key topics and the state of policy making related to family farming across the world in a user-friendly facility on the web. The platform therefore represents one of the main and long lasting legacies of the IYFF 2014, as a worldwide reference to facilitate informed decision making on family farming policy processes.

The Family Farming Knowledge Platform gathers digitized quality information on family farming from all over the world; including national laws and regulations, public policies, best practices, relevant data and statistics, researches, articles and publications.
It integrates and systematizes existing information to better inform and provide knowledge-based assistance to policy-makers, family farmers’ organizations, development experts, as well as to stakeholders in the field and at the grassroots level.
By spotting a huge amount of diverse information and knowledge, the platform helps giving sense of the enormous contribution that family farms give to address some of the most press challenges we face today, such as food security and the needs of sustainable food systems that preserve natural resources in times of climate change and the challenges they face themselves. In addition, the users can find all kind of information on the work of FAO in HQ and at the field level to help family farms prosper.

The FFKP is directed to all those involved in family farming and rural development related issues: from farmers’ organizations to Governments to universities students, the audience is quite transversal.

In addition, the FFKP allows its worldwide contributors and focal points from national governments to collaborate. Currently the Platform includes more than 100 focal points appointed by their governments and another 100 contributors worldwide. A strong coalition of stakeholders sharing their knowledge is the foundation of this initiative. Contributors and focal points therefore play a vital role in this project, since they are not only FFKP users, but they also regularly feed the database with updated and relevant material. Two years after from its launch, the FFKP databases includes more than 15 000 documents and has already been visited by approximately 170 000 users since its launch, in June 2015. (FAO)

IYFF celebrated during 4th Bogor Organic Fair

IMG_20141114_093230Bogor, Jakarta – The Indonesian Organic Alliance or Aliansi Organis Indonesia (AOI), together with the Indonesian Peasant Alliance or Alliansi Petani Indonesia (API), in cooperation with the city government of Bogor, launched the 4th Bogor Organic Fair (BOF) and IYFF celebration last November 14.

The organic fair is a yearly event started in 2011, which aims at generating public awareness on the benefit of organic products. For 2014, the International Year of Family Farming (IYFF), API took the opportunity to integrate the celebration of IYFF with the annual Bogor Organic Fair.

Various organic farmer producers including the members of AOI, API and its partner Bina Desa, as well as other CSOs, showcased their organic products in Sempur, a public park in the center of Bogor City. The opening ceremony was graced by IFOAM president Mr. Andrew Leu. API Secretary General Mr. Nuruddin, AOI president Mr. Wahyudi and Bogor Vice City Mayor Engr. Usmar Hariman.

Mr. Nuruddin highlighted the situation of family farming in Indonesia and encouraged the government to support small-scale farmers to enhance their production of local and organic products. Mr. Leu pointed out that with the big population in Indonesia, there is a huge potential demand for organic products, which serves as a good opportunity for farmers to shift to organic farming.

At the end of the first day of the fair, the women farmers of API were happy because they were able to sell their products and meet new contacts who are interested to buy their products.

Large-scale chemical farming worries Myanmar’s organic vegetable farmers

While demand for organic vegetables has been increasing in Myanmar, farmers are worried about the possible impact of foreign and private investors who are or will be engaging in large-scale vegetable farming using chemical and synthetic fertilizers, as these might contaminate nearby organic vegetable farms.

Farmers raised this concern during the “National Consultation Workshop on Organic Vegetable Industry” held last August 31, 2012 at the Catholic Bishop Conference of Myanmar in Yangon, Myanmar. The consultation was organized by the Asian Farmers’ Association for Sustainable Rural Development (AFA) in partnership with the Episcopal Commission for Education of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Myanmar and MyanDHRRA.

Around 29 participants from different stakeholders groups of the organic vegetable industry in Myanmar — such as organic farmer producers, marketers and support organizations, including representatives from NGOs and government agencies — attended the event.
Continue reading Large-scale chemical farming worries Myanmar’s organic vegetable farmers

AFA holds study tour on organic marketing and renewable energy

Marketing of organic products where farmers get a bigger share of the value chain. Clean and renewable energy systems that are appropriate for rural communities. These are just some of the concerns of small scale women and men farmers in Asia.

The Asian Farmers’ Association for Sustainable Rural Development (AFA) arranged a study tour for its Cambodian member Farmer and Nature Net (FNN) and Laos partner Social & Economic Developers Association (SEDA-Laos) last March 2, 2011 in the Philippines in order to share some of the best practices of local NGOs and POs on these two important subjects.

Continue reading AFA holds study tour on organic marketing and renewable energy

In the News (Thailand): The push is on for Organic

There are two things that make the subject of the ingredients that we use to make Thai food especially interesting these days. First, Thailand has an advantage in that we are an agricultural nation with ample production of these ingredients, whereas Western countries lack them in sufficient quantities and must import them at a high cost. This opens domestic opportunities to export ingredients.

Second, Thais are becoming increasingly aware of the health benefits of meat, rice, and fruit and vegetables that are produced without chemical fertilisers or insecticides.

Consumers are willing to pay more for organically grown produce that they can be sure is safe. When consumer demand for these products becomes strong enough, producers and agricultural workers respond by adopting methods that ensure their farms are free from the dangers associated with chemicals.

Read more from Bangkok Post

In the News (Philippines): Organic fertilizer producer reeks of unqualified success

CONCEPCION, TARLAC – In 2006, Alfredo Gonzales had problems with chemical fertilizers, which at that time cost P2,000 per 50-kilogram bag.

He found the prevailing prices of urea to be ironic, considering the wasteful practice of most farmers.

“When I traveled around [Central Luzon], I saw palay husks being burned. When I go to sugar mills, I also saw wasteful practices,” says Gonzales, a sugar planter.

But instead of whining, the sugar farmer decided to do something about it.

His 40-hectare farm, which used to be buried under 20 feet of lahar (volcanic debris) following Mt. Pinatubo’s eruption in 1991, is now the site of what is touted to be the first mechanized production facility for organic fertilizer in the country.

In a day, the farm churns out 500 fertilizer bags, which Gonzales sells for P240 each.

The product, which is registered with the Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority, goes under the brand name “Power” – Pilipino Ways for Environmental Reconditioning.

Read the full story here

In the News (Thailand): Help on the way for organic farmers

Organic farmers or those aspiring to make the change now have more opportunities to obtain expert advice through the Industrial Technology Assistance Programme (ITAP).

The unit of the National Science and Technology Development Agency has spent the past year accumulating knowledge and developing technical capacity and is now ready to offer consulting services, said Phongchai Jittamai, the manager of the project.

He said ITAP aimed to have at least 30 organic farms apply for its integrated organic farm services nationwide within this year.

The agency is interested in particular in helping small and medium-sized farm operators who have struggled financially because of overuse of chemicals and pesticide, he added.

Read the full story at Bangkok Post

In the News: Feature article: Who Speaks for Small Farmers, Earthworms and Cow Dung?

[Authors note: Dr Philip Revatha (Ray) Wijewardene, who passed away on August 18 aged 86, spent a lifetime being unpigeonholeable – which won him many admirers and a few detractors. Despite being an accomplished engineer, aviator, inventor and Olympian, he chose to introduce himself as a farmer and mechanic ‘who still got his hands dirty’. Unpretentious and always enthusiastic, he was one man who somehow managed to have his head (literally) in the clouds and his feet firmly on the ground.

Read the full story at Ground Views

In the News: Organic farming best in fight vs climate change

Organic farming is an agricultural production system that is best suited in succeeding in the battle against climate change.

Prof. Oscar B. Zamora of the University of the Philippines at Los Baños (UPLB), a convenor of Go Organic! Philippines, said promoting organic farming is a sound option for climate change mitigation and adaptation.

He said organic agriculture production systems are less prone to extreme weather condition, such as drought, flood and waterlogging.

Zamora, who is also dean of the UPLB Graduate School, explained that organic farming addresses the major effects of climate change, namely, increased occurrence of extreme weather events, increased water stress, and problems related to soil quality.

“It reduces the vulnerability of the farmers to climate change and variability,” he explained.

Read the full story at Manila Bulletin

In the News (Thailand): Home-made fertilisers promoted

Farmers are being encouraged to produce bio-fertilisers and pesticides on their own in order to cut expenses on imported chemical products and promote healthier cultivation.

The cost of imported chemical fertilisers and pesticides has surged along with oil prices in recent years. Thailand paid nearly 99 billion baht for fertilisers in 2008 as fuel prices soared to US$147 per barrel.

Needed farm essentials can be produced in farmers’ backyards using only catalyst products developed by the Land Development Department, said deputy director-general Chalong Tepwituksakit.

“We now know the use of chemical substances is harmful not only to farmers but also the environment, as soil and water quality become degraded,” he said.

Read the full story at Bangkok Post

In the News: More Cambodian farmers shift toward organic crops

PHNOM PENH, March 5 (NNN-AKP) — The number of organic farmers producing crops in Cambodia is growing thanks to efforts aimed at training agricultural worker in organic farming techniques.

The number of organic farmers registered with the Cambodian Center for Study and Development in Agriculture (CEDAC) reached 61 in 2009, up from just five in 2004 when the centre started to train farmers in the use of natural fertilizers.

Organic produce amounted to just 30 tons in 2009, according to CEDAC, which helps farmers earn a fair price for their produce at five shops in Phnom Penh and another located in Preah Sihanouk city.

Read the full story

In the News (Indonesia): Bali administration develops 40 integrated farming sites

Bali provincial administration is currently developing 40 integrated farming locations with Rp 8 billion *US$860,125* in funds from the provincial 2010 budget.

Made Putra Suryawan, head of Bali Agriculture office, said such integrated farming development was a breakthrough that would accelerate the integration of new farming technology with traditional farming systems.

The new technology would allow farmers to combine their planting systems, growing major food commodities like rice, corn and soy within one specific location.

“Farmers can grow various types of productive food commodities and raising poultry or cattle would increase farmers’ revenues.”

Farmers would also have easier access to micro-finance institution and marketing of their products.

The technology re-introduces farmers to the organic farming system, long forgotten by the locals.

Read the full story at The Jakarta Post

In the News: Indonesian Street Kids Find Rescue in Organic Farming

Every year in Indonesia, thousands of rural poor migrate to big cities in hope of finding a better life. But for many of them, the dream never comes true. A private charity, the Learning Farm, is taking the opposite path: teaching former street kids how to grow green, it gives them a chance to succeed in rural communities.

Sulkhan treads carefully past shacks where goats are busy digesting the next batch of eco-friendly fertilizer. A group of around 40 young men is gathered down the path, at the entrance of a greenhouse. They wear muddy rubber boots, which clash somewhat with their tattoos, long silver chains and body piercings.

Sulkhan asks them to sing the Learning Farm’s welcome song, in honor of their guests.

The boys, aged 15 to 22, are attending a five-month program at the Learning Farm to become organic farmers. But Jiway Tung, the group’s director, explains the program goes beyond learning a new trade. He says his school is a school of life.

Read the full story at VOA News

In the News (Japan): Yamafuji: Going organic in Hiroo

In the last few years, food troubles have been making the headlines: pesticide-tainted dumplings, contaminated rice and growing concerns over food safety. No wonder more and more in Japan are turning toward organic food. Many restaurants now include a few organic dishes on their menus, but Yamafuji, a casual-chic Japanese bistro near Hiroo station, guarantees that all their ingredients are either 100% chemical-free or grown with the barest minimum of pesticides.

Read the full story at CNN Go