Women Driving Organic Agriculture Transformation in Central and Eastern Europe

During the BIOFACH trade fair, the achievements of the Organic Trade for Development (OT4D) project were highlighted on 13th February in a session titled "Empowering Change: Women Leading Transformation in Central East Europe's Organic Sector".

Speakers provided insights into the project's successes and the challenges they faced in introducing innovative and sustainable methods within the organic sector. Through their efforts, they have emerged as leaders driving the organic movement in their respective countries.

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Predrag Stosic, one of the speakers, shared how women economically and ecologically empower the community

The OT4D project operating in Albania, Serbia, and Ukraine, aims to promote organic agriculture principles through international export support and local market development. 

A notable aspect of the project is the prominent role women play in leadership positions within the organic agriculture sector, despite encountering various challenges and stereotypes.

Kateryna Shor, the project's country coordinator in Ukraine, discussed the State Gender Policy and Strategy adopted in 2022 during another session titled "The Development of the Organic Sector in Ukraine and Women's Role". She highlighted findings from a gender study, emphasising the more balanced gender environment in organic agriculture compared to conventional methods, which appeals to younger individuals interested in progressive farming practices.

The project's Country Coordinator from Albania, Iris Kazazi, highlighted the challenges and the opportunities faced by the organic sector in the countryand. Some of these hurdles include empowering women in organic agriculture, unequal access to education and training, limited access to finance, exclusion from value chains, time and labor burdens, and dependence on donor support, among others.

Despite these obstacles, there are various opportunities for growth and positive impact in their communities. In the course of presentation, she suggested to consider diverse opportunities such as donor support schemes, agrotourism initiatives, and expanding beekeeping and herbal medicine cultivation, as well as processing fruits and vegetables, where they can unlock the full potential of women farmers, enhance their financial sustainability, and drive positive change.

Predrag Stosic, a leader of the Serbian social enterprise Radanska RUŽA, represented the organisation, which aims to provide employment opportunities for marginalised women and support small farms in Southern Serbia.

The enterprise crafts healthy products from locally grown fruits and vegetables grown on the slopes of Radan Mountain, employing women from marginalised populations without barriers. These women, often invisible in society, seize the chance provided by the enterprise, giving back to their communities and families manifold. Through direct employment, indirect contributions, and active participation in farming activities, they emerge as catalysts for positive change.

Overall, the OT4D project empowers women to lead the transformation of the organic sector in Central and Eastern Europe. Equally significant, it delivers tangible results, fostering sustainable agricultural practices and economic development while promoting gender equality.

We thank our partners for making this project a reality!

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The Principles of Organic Agriculture are Health, Ecology, Fairness and Care.

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