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OWC: biggest organic farming event on the planet

by Karin Heinze (comments: 0)

Logo of the 19th Organic World Congress in India.

The Organic World Congress (OWC) is a global forum for organic farming and organic agriculture. It is coming to India for the first time in 40 years. The grand event will take place from 9-11 November 2017 at the India Expo Centre and Mart, Greater Noida, National Capital Region, India. Organic-Market.info will be exclusive e-media partner at the event.

This global event is held once every three years in a different country. The last event was held in Istanbul, Turkey in October 2014. India won the bid to host the 19th IFOAM Organic World Congress against stiff competition from Russia, China and Brazil. The venue of the next OWC will be decided in Delhi on November 13 at the Vishwa Yuvak Kendra, Chanakyapuri.

Group photo of the prticipants of the 18th IFOAM World Congress in Istanbul 2014.

Group photo of the prticipants of the 18th IFOAM World Congress in Istanbul 2014. (Photo © Karin Heinze)

The Organic World Congress (OWC) will play a critical role in strengthening the world organic farming movement and tilting India’s agricultural. According to the organizers the OWC will welcome around 3,000 delegates from 110 countries. Speakers have prepared 600+ papers including 150 PPTs from organic farmers. There will be visits to organic farms, an organic seed exhibition, state and country pavilions and a cultural program. As a parallel event BIOFACH INDIA together with INDIA ORGANIC Trade Fair will take place at the same venue.

Delegates from India at the 18th OWC in Turkey.

Delegates from India at the 18th OWC in Turkey. (Photo: © Karin Heinze)

Indian Government support

Due to its importance, Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi is expected to inaugurate the Congress on November 9, 2017. The President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind has been invited to deliver the valedictory on 11 November. Compared to past OWCs in other countries, the India edition is co-organised with the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare. Further official support has come with the participation of The Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA), the major organic export arm of the Ministry of Commerce, as the Principal Partner of the Congress. Several other Ministries and State Governments are joining the congress as partners. The National Centre of Organic Farming is a member of the Congress Steering Committee.

The political support for organic agriculture in India needs to be celebrated by the world’s organic farming family. Besides the political support from the host (India) for organic farming, the other unique aspect of this OWC is the gargantuan effort (endorsed by the IFOAM General Assembly at Istanbul in 2014) to bring organic farmers for the first time centre stage at the event, in order to further a massive exchange of organic agriculture innovations, particularly advanced organic techniques.

OWCs are a meeting place for many nations.

OWCs are a meeting place for many nations - here the 18th OWC in Istanbul. (Photo: © Karin Heinze)

Global Adoption of Organic Principles for Truly Sustainable Agriculture'

The congress will see the participation of 3,000 organic farmers, scientists, agricultural research agencies, institutions of the Government of India and State Governments. The official languages of OWC are Hindi and English. OWC is structured in four conference tracks: Main Track, Farmers' Track, Scientific Track, and Marketing Track. There will be 120 presentations from the Marketing Track, and over 100 fishbowl sessions under the Main Track. This year, in fact, ISOFAR received more than 300 papers for consideration from scientists across the world. Organic trade missions from some 40 countries are invited.

Bhutan´s Agricukture Minister was speaker at the OWC in Turkey.

Bhutan´s Agricukture Minister was speaker at the OWC in Turkey. (Photo: © Karin Heinze)

The Main Track is a series of public discussions and debates by leaders from the organic movement on how we can best promote and implement the organic agenda.  The overarching theme is “Global Adoption of Organic Principles for Truly Sustainable Agriculture' and the audience is invited to contribute to strategic discussions with the panel experts.

The Farmers’ Track provides a forum to highlight farmers’ work in organic farming especially with regards to innovations used on their farms. Presentations will be on the topics of Seeds & Biodiversity, Soil Fertility & Health, Soil Life & Plant Health, and Ecological Farming Practices & Systems.

The Scientific Track is a platform where research results are presented and discussed in 20 sessions of 1.5 hours each. Papers must link to scientific disciplines such as soil, plant, animal, or economics. All papers also provide an outline of how the research presented contributes to Organic 3.0 - The next phase of organic development.

The Marketing Track discusses innovative ideas for shortening value chains, for systems that build trust between organic actors, for promising marketing methods and for organic and fair trade alliance building. Papers deal with emerging trends in quality assurance, e.g. PGS (Participatory Guarantee Systems), CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), fair trade and other alternative and integrative systems.

Organic food at the 18th OWC.

Organic food at the 18th OWC. This year´s event will offer 100% organic food to the participants. (Photo: © Karin Heinze)

A completely organic event

The venue itself is being designed by Orijit Sen. The splash of India culture that will envelop the venue will be enjoyed in the form of Indian classical dancers and drummers from the farming community. The OWC menu will enable delegates to taste foods all organically grown. Those in charge of the kitchen are preparing a film that shows you from where all the food served at the OWC came. “The 19th IFOAM Organic World Congress will write a new chapter to the country's efforts to encourage agriculture without damaging soils, plants, water, wildlife and people's health”, say the OWC organising organisation.  

The OWC will be exclusively for those who have registered. However, the seed exhibition, plus demonstrations of how to generate recipes for living soil and other innovations will take place outside in geodesic domes, and will be open to the general public, which will also have free access to the state and commercial (BIOFACH) pavilions.

Registration is still open


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