Ten years of continuous support to Organic Agriculture in developing countries
Over a period of ten years, from 2000 until 2010, IFOAM ran the IFOAM Growing Organic (I-GO) project. This was possible thanks to the generous support of Hivos International. The I-GO project encompassed a wide range of activities to promote the development of Organic Agriculture in developing countries and was carried out in three phases:
Based on the experiences of former programs, IFOAM developed a new four-year program in 2001. The full name of this program was: “IFOAM Growing Organic - Development of Organic Agriculture in Developing and CEE Countries” or in short I-GO I. The program was broadly designed and comprised six results. Good outcome was achieved in regard of harmonisation, integration of social standards into organic production, standards for group certification, improved lobbying structures, improved IFOAM structures and development of appropriate instruments (e.g. training manual) for the development of organic agriculture.
The overall objective of the follow-up program “IFOAM Growing Organic - Strengthening Organic Agriculture in Developing Countries” or I-GO II, was to contribute to receiving higher international recognition of Organic Agriculture in its full diversity at all levels.
Selected outputs of the completed I-GO II program:
- Regional representation offices established in China and Latin America;
- 162 extension staff trained on Organic Agriculture topics through IFOAM training of trainers in China and Latin America;
- US National Organic Standard Board was successfully influenced to secure group certification acceptance for developing country producers to access the US market;
- The IFOAM Norms and the POA have been translated in several languages;
- Participatory Guarantee Systems are well defined, promoted and recognized globally, through a range of tools;
- Global IFOAM advocacy network in place: through IFOAM members, IFOAM’s voice was heard at about 100 events annually;
- 30 persons from developing countries involved in IFOAM’s internal structures;
- “Building Sustainable Organic Sectors” was published: a core IFOAM publication which provides advice to national movements on how to prioritize their lobbying efforts. Also available in Spanish, and
- “Criticisms and Frequent Misconceptions about Organic Agriculture: The Counter-Arguments”: a compilation of facts and figures for organic advocates defending and promoting organic agriculture
The last phase of the I-GO project was implemented to consolidate and scale up the results and lessons learned from the I-GO and I-GO II programs. Two areas have been identified as priorities for IFOAM’s scaling-up strategy. Firstly to make key decision-makers recognize the contribution that OA makes with relation to international and national policies on climate change and other important benefits such as biodiversity and sustainability in agriculture. Secondly to consolidate the Global PGS network through powerful tools and expansion through knowledge dissemination, with an increased number of farmers adopting organic practices and gaining access to local markets.
After the I-GO project ended, Hivos continued support for IFOAM through the AFSP project (2000 – 2003).