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OWC India: Winners of Organic Farming Innovation Awards 2017
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As an initiative of the South Korean government, the Organic Farming Innovation Award (OFIA) is awarded by IFOAM – Organics International and the Rural Development Association (RDA) to demonstrate organic innovation promoted by extension agents, scientists and practitioners as well as to boost and motivate important stakeholders to push forward further innovative developments in organic farming. On 10th November 2017, the winners of the OFIA were announced at a ceremony held during the Organic World Congress in New Delhi, India.
Winner of the OFIA Grand Prize
Founder and Director of the Inga Foundation, Mike Hands, was awarded with the OFIA Grand Prize worth 10,000 US$ for innovations in applications of organic farming. The Inga Foundation supports spreading the application of alley cropping using Inga trees. This technique called “Inga Alley Cropping” is able to maintain fertility of soil and good harvests on a regular basis. By breaking the cycle of slash-and-burn, Inga Alley Cropping allows families to gain food security on one piece of land on a long-term-basis. Further, larger Inga tree branches can be used for firewood – an aspect that tackles another important issue linked to deforestation.
Winner of the OFIA Science Prize
As a reward for his work on the usage of cover crops for weed suppression, Dr. Hiroshi Uchino from the Tohoku Agricultural Research Center was awarded with the OFIA Science Prize endowed with 5,000 US$. The prize is meant to honor scientists who develop promising applications for farming, processing and marketing within the organic sector.
Scientist Dr. Uchino originated a straightforward technique to measure the ‘Vegetation Cover Ratio’ (the percentage of area covered by vegetation to unit soil surface area) of each crop to assess the relation between growth traits of weed suppression and cover crops. Using cover crops is one possibility to prevent damage caused by weed. However, sometimes the main crop gets damaged by cover crops as well as by weeds. Based on scientific knowledge, Dr. Uchino’s findings will support organic farmers worldwide with using cover crops for weed suppression.
The next OFIA will be held in 2020. IFOAM – Organics International will publish a call for applications for the OFIA 2020 in 2019, at www.ifoam.bio/ofia. For more information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.