3rd OFIA winners announced
The award ceremony for the 3rd Organic Farming Innovation Award (OFIA) was held on 10th November 2017 at the 19th Organic World Congress in New Delhi.
Mr. Mike Hands of Inga Foundation (UK) is the Grand Prize winner for the agricultural system of Inga alley cropping which he developed after years of scientific research into slash and burn farming.
Dr. Hiroshi Uchino of the Tohoku Agricultural Research Center, Japan is the Science Prize for his work on the use of cover crops for weed suppression.
About the award
Every three years, at the Organic World Congress (OWC), IFOAM-Organics International, the Rural Development Administration (RDA) of the Republic of Korea, and the IFOAM Technology Innovation Platform (TIPI) award outstanding organic innovators with the Organic Farming Innovation Award (OFIA). OFIA is an initiative of the government of the Republic of Korea in remembrance of the 17th OWC held in 2011 in its Gyeonggi Province.
The overall goal of OFIA is to contribute to solving problems and exploring potentials in order to increase effectiveness, efficiency and productivity of organic farming, improve viability for environment, plants, animals and human beings. The objective of OFIA is to regularly highlight outstanding innovations and to incentivize organic innovations among researchers, extension agents and practitioners.
The application for the award should meet the criteria:
innovative: are new in their context
applicability: are applicable to organic farming, processing and trade
relevant: are relevant for solving real problems or exploring new potentials
impact potential: have the potential to have a great impact.
By highlighting the innovations through OFIA, the global organic community emphasizes the key role innovations play to accelerate the adoption of organic agriculture worldwide. Further, it has the mission to motivate innovations, and to boost the uptake of the innovations highlighted. An increased awareness on innovations inside and outside the organic community and a higher attention and esteem for innovators helps to inspire more innovations and shape the research agenda favourably towards more innovations.
OFIA is awarded in two categories: the Grand Prize and the Science Prize. The OFIA Committee selects one Grand Prize and one Science Prize winner each based on the criteria of innovativeness, applicability, relevance and impact potential.
The winners receive a monetary award (10,000 US$ for Grand Prize and 5,000 US$ for Science Prize) and a specially commissioned, sculpted statuette at a festive ceremony during the OWC. The award earns the winners and their inspiring work more visibility, and helps spread their messages to a wider audience.
The current OFIA Committee comprises of Dr. SeungYong Ra (RDA), Prof. Dr. Deog-Cheon Choi (Korean Association of Organic Agriculture), André Leu (President, IFOAM-Organics International), Markus Arbenz (Executive Director, IFOAM-Organics International), Dr. Uygun Aksoy (ISOFAR), Dr. Shaikh Tanveer Hossain (TIPI) and Jörg Schumacher (OFIA Grand Prize Winner, 2014).
OFIA 2014 winners with OFIA Committee members
The need for innovations in organic agriculture
Worldwide, there is an urgent need for sustainable solutions to poverty, food insecurity, soil erosion, biodiversity decline and climate change. Organic agriculture is a production system that sustains the health of soils, ecosystems and people. It relies on ecological processes, biodiversity and nutrients, energy and water cycles adapted to local conditions, rather than on the use of external inputs with adverse effects.
Organic agriculture – identified as a package of intelligent and innovative farming techniques, sustainable and fair food chains based on principles that strengthen small-scale farmers and empower rural economies - are being adopted globally by governments and local authorities, carried out by millions of farmers and supported by a rapidly increasing number of consumers. Organic agriculture combines tradition, innovation and science to benefit the shared environment, promote fair relationships and a good quality of life for all involved.
High quality foods provide access to valuable national and international markets, and therefore play a crucial role in wider poverty reduction (UNCTAD-UNEP, 2008*). The contribution of organic agriculture to poverty reduction is acknowledged by FAO (Diouf, 2009°), documented by numerous case studies on development projects where the principles and practices of organic agriculture have been successfully implemented.
The organic market has been steadily expanding globally due to consumer awareness, rise in health concerns and environmental issues. Every year, the sector registers dynamic growth due to increased consumption. One of the bottlenecks to the development of the sector is the stagnant uptake of organic farming in practice.
Innovations in organic agriculture have a crucial role in the search for local or scalable solutions for a more sustainable and regenerative farming. It is one of the main functions of agricultural research, and farmers are often the innovators. Innovations addressing health and environmental concerns, the needs of farmers and consumers, combined with the facilitation of their uptake by more farmers in more regions will contribute to the development of organic agriculture.
The Organic Movement – under the lead of IFOAM – Organics International took up various think-tanking processes towards Organic 3.0. While these think tanks are still in their creative phase, it is already clear that they took up the OFIA messages, and has identified that innovation must be an important pillar of Organic 3.0.
* UNCTAD–UNEP (2008). Organic Agriculture and Food Security in Africa. (UNCTAD/DITC/TED/2007/15). www.unep-unctad.org/cbtf/.../UNCTAD_DITC_TED_2007_15.pdf
° Diouf, 2009, Agriculture 2050- the challenges ahead, FAO, http://www.fao.org/news/story/en/item/36193/icode/