|Rio+20 Creates Global Network for Organic Farming Research|
|Written by Michelle Reeves, Four Green Steps|
|Thursday, 28 June 2012 07:56|
Written by Michelle Reeves, Four Green Steps
It’s a project that’s been attempted several times before, but never became a reality. The international Earth Summit being held in Rio de Janeiro is giving it another shot, this time with a new global network and more support than ever.
Fighting back against a lack of support from major research foundations, the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements has founded the Global Organic Research Network (IGORN), set to launch in 2013. Their goal is to raise funds to establish research centers throughout the developing world and make organic research and farming a mainstream practice.
In 2009, the Organic Research Centers Alliance (ORCA) tried to create organic farming centers around the developing world coordinated by the Consortium of International Agricultural Research Centers (CGIAR). The project did not go very far, even though the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) created a website for the idea.
Urs Niggli is the director of the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture and a professor at the University of Kassel-Witzhausen, both in Switzerland, and he explained that because of a newly reformed economic structure within the CGIAR, the difficulty of funding a project like ORCA was the reason the organization was “not very welcoming.” Hans Herren, president of the Millenium Institute in Washington, DC, commented that CGIAR was stuck in a framework that only promotes yield-boosting, industrial agriculture and monocultures.
Soil health and holistic approached to agriculture were ignored at the time, explains Herren, but this is what the new movement is trying to address.
Europe has increased funding for organic agriculture and became a world leader in the past 10 years. However, the USA, Canada and Australia remain skeptical of the benefits of organic farming. They seem to think “that organic is not opening the way to new technologies.”
Yesterday, at an event in Rio called Agriculture Day, the new CEO of CGIAR, Frank Rijsberman said that no matter what approach we apply to agriculture today, it has to balance food production for hundreds of millions of people with the need to do so in an environmentally responsible way.
"Rio+20 is an expression that we actually take this responsibility very seriously," concluded Rijsberman.
Image courtesy of Creative Commons.
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