The Organic World Congress: Recap

The 19th Organic World Congress (OWC) took place in New Delhi in November 2017. The theme of the OWC was ‘An Organic World through an Organic India’. Now that the dust has settled, we’d like to highlight some of the key successes and extend a very heartfelt thanks to everyone who participated and made the congress such a fantastic experience. Watch the video message from Markus Arbenz below, and continue reading for more information.

Global participation

We were delighted by the huge effort enable organic farmers from across the world to participate. Over 1,000 farmers attended, and this led to a massive exchange of organic agriculture innovations, particularly advanced organic techniques.

2,479 delegates from 121 countries joined the Organic World Congress, plus over 7,000+ day visitors. The majority of came from Asia, Africa and Latin America, and with organic trade missions from 40 countries we truly can call this a global event!


High-level support

We were delighted by the support and enthusiasm towards organic agriculture shown by official in India. In a message to the Organic Farming Association of India -- the principal host of the OWC from India – Shri Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India, expressed his happiness at India hosting the event and said the meeting “will enable global organic farming movement leaders and all its stakeholders to deliberate on key issues of the sector.”

The event was inaugurated on 9 November by Shri Radha Mohan Singh, Honourable Minister for Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, Government of India. He said, “The Green Revolution has helped to increase production but the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides has destroyed thousands of hectares of land and brought about a crisis in Indian agriculture”. He further emphasised the fact that we need food security and health security and that increases in agricultural production have to go hand in hand with improved health of the consumers.

The government of India has recognised the need to progress towards organic farming. India is the first country to recognise the Participatory Guarantee System (PGS) as a legitimate system of organic certification and to organise schemes on a large scale to promote organic farming in the field.

Working in parallel: National Organic Seed Festival

The Seed Festival was a parallel event during the Organic World Congress, organized by the Bharat Beej Swaraj Manch, along with Sahaja Samrudha and the Save Our Rice Campaign. About 60 seed saver groups from 15 states of India –practicing on-farm conservation and promotion of seed diversity and related knowledge – participated in the festival. Over 4,000 different varieties of seeds were on display, along with relevant posters and information.

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