Session 4 - Establishing an Organic Export Sector
“Update of the Argentine Organic Production”
Dr Laura Montenegro, Technical Director, ARGENCERT, Argentina
From the governmental sectors, the European Union established, in 1991, the Regulation CEE Nº 2092/91 and further modifications, determining the requirements that must be complied with both by agricultural products and their processed products, in order to be able to label them as products originated in “Organic Agriculture.” Furthermore, they established a register of Equivalent Third Countries whose organic products are accepted for direct importation into the European Union. Argentina received such a status in 1992 and presently holds it along with just five other countries: Australia, Hungary, Israel, the Czech Republic and Switzerland.
The legal frame was reinforced by the Argentine Law Nº 25.127 that gave the formal platform for the Resolutions SAGyP Nº 423/92 for plant productions and SENASA Nº 1286/93 for animal productions.
Argentina, besides being considered an equivalent country to the EU - along with the mentioned other five countries - regarding the system of private/public control of organic plant products was also accepted as equivalent for organic products of animal origin in the year 2000; its equivalency is being renewed in 2001.
The Argentine Law previews the creation of an Advisory Committee and measures for the promotion of, among other things, research in labelling standards.
Organic, Ecologic and Biologic are synonyms by definition. The name is given to products originated in a sustainable production system that, by the rational management of natural resources and without the use of chemically synthetic products, leads to wholesome and abundant foods, maintaining and increasing the soil fertility and the biological diversity, leading at the same time to their identification by the consumers through a Certification system that guarantees their authenticity (Law 25.127).
The said Certification system must be performed by a third party, not directly involved in the operators' production, commercialization or advisory services and must demonstrate the independence and transparency of its working mechanisms.
The Codex Alimentarius emphasizes the aspect of a system of organic production without the use of synthetic materials and the requirement that soil fertility must be improved through crop rotation methods.
The mentioned concepts are supplemented with those of iniquity, food safety and a reasonable productivity - not necessarily a maximum productivity.
Transition or conversion implies two years of cultivation under organic conditions, with the possibility to reach the “full organic” category only at the third crop.
Last year's (2000) organically cultivated area has almost tripled that of 1999. In the last four years, it increased 1 100 percent, growing from 230 000 hectares to 2 900 000 in the year 2000.
With respect to the plant crops, increases in organically cultivated areas were seen for fruit crops such as pears and olives and they grew also significantly for cereals and grain crops, mainly soybeans, maize and wheat.
During the year 2000 the cattle-raising areas have grown strongly for sheep production with the incorporation of large Patagonian farms for the production of meat and wool. Due to this fact, a modification of the percentage of the plant producing surface areas in relation to animal producing areas occurred. Those percentages are, respectively, 8 percent and 92 percent, while in 1999 they were 25 percent and 75 percent. Figures are: 240 000 hectares for plant production and 2 600 000 for animal production.
The number of establishments both producing and processing, are about 1 600 taking, each producer group as one establishment, when compared to 1 400 units in 1999; but one group of producers represented 60 percent of that figure. Therefore, taking 800 as a base number, the increase was of 50 percent for this year.
The total volume produced measured in tonnes is 40 000, of which the grain and cereal volumes triple those of 1999, followed by the fruit volumes which double last year's figure.
With respect to the destination, exports represent 78 percent of the production, and the internal market 22 percent.
Exports grew this year from 25 000 to 30 000 tonnes (a 20 percent increase). As for destinations, the EU continues to weigh strongly with 80 percent of the exports, followed by the United States with 11 percent; a strong increase was noticed in other destinations that grew this year from 3 percent to 9 percent.
New destinations such as Norway, Switzerland and Japan have opened up and it is to be noticed that the increase in grain and cereal exports were due to the demand for GMO-free products, specifically soybeans and maize.
Production volumes of processed products (especially for sugar, concentrated fruit juices and wine) doubled and their exports to the EU also grew above that of their previous destination the United States.
Volumes of products of animal origin grew 50 percent. Although those volumes are not significant, their added values are.
The main products in the internal market are of animal origin, such as milk, beef and poultry, in contrast to products sent to the EU in which instance fruits and vegetables are more important than animal products. It is worthy to point out that commercialization of plant products such as fresh vegetables, corn bread and yerba mate (Ylex paraguayensis) is done both in supermarkets and direct home delivery by the producers.
Volume growth is of 600 percent, while added value growth reached 1 400 percent in the last six years.
It is also to be noted that products certified by ARGENCERT SRL represented 76 percent of Argentine organic exports for the year 2000.
Comparison between Argentina and the World1
In relation to the added value, in the five years 1995-2000, the annual average of composite growths of the market are: for United States 22 percent, for some European countries such as Germany 10 percent, the United Kingdom 28 percent, Argentina 90 percent.
Evolution of the organic vegetable production
The surface area of certified organic vegetables is 1 160 hectares and has increased 227 percent in the last four years.
The volume produced is of 3.2 million tonnes and has grown 325 percent in the last four years.
Organic vegetable exports represent 70 percent; the other 30 percent being sold in the internal market.
The more representative products are: onions (the most important one), garlic, pumpkin, asparagus and beets.
Main hindrances for the development of this sector
The main obstacles for the development of the organic sector in Argentina are:
Advancement of genetically engineered products
Lack of a policy for the promotion of the sector and of growth strategies
Lack of integration amongst producers
Lack of help to comply with the conversion period until the “full organic” status is achieved, optimization of the exports' logistics
Potential of the organic products in Argentina
1. The possibilities of increasing export volumes and the added values are quite interesting and we could estimate that for the year 2010, Argentina's organic production can easily surpass 100 000 tonnes.
2. This activity generates real work possibilities since it is highly dependent on manual labour and it can adapt itself to small and medium-sized producers, who, by forming associations, can offer good quantities of organic products.
3. There are good opportunities for fresh produce for counter seasonal markets and for, processed products such as juices, wine, marmalade bases, dehydrated products, etc. The demand of these products is still unsatisfied. The Argentine potential is also great for beef and lamb, honey and processed meat products.
“Challenges and Opportunities for Pest Management in Organic Systems”
Mr Jim Waller, CAB International, United Kingdom
Paper prepared in collaboration with:
Mr Mike Rutherford and Mr Mark Holderness, CAB International
The Need for Change
Rural livelihoods and food security are fundamental global concerns as governments and development agencies struggle to meet the needs of increasing populations and to reduce poverty. The needs of human nutrition and income generation place increasing demands on agricultural systems already under stress as land for agriculture is besieged by series of constraints. Demands of urbanization and environmental conservation restrict land availability, while intensive use leads to depletion of nutrients and buildup of pest organisms. This has led to a need for changing some of the approaches to crop production improvement.
Breakdown of intensive systems
Input-intensive systems commonly used for horticultural production have had cumulative and damaging environmental and human effects.
Pesticide overuse and misuse cause a series of problems. Direct toxic effects on the human population can be caused by operator contamination, excessive pesticide residues on fruit and vegetables, contamination of materials and water supplies. Environmental effects include the loss of ecological biodiversity as non-target, often beneficial organisms are destroyed. This had serious implications for pest control as the 'buffering capacity' of a diverse soil and plant surface microbiota, which constrains the population expansion of potential pest organisms, is reduced. Levels of natural biocontrol are lost leading to greater pesticide dependence.
Marginal soils and dry lands come under increasing strain as nutrients are depleted and water tables fall; salinity may also increase. The often fragile sustainability of soil fertility in arid and semi-arid tropical agro-ecosystems is easily destroyed.
A reliance on inorganic fertilizer ensues as the natural fertility of soils is 'mined' by intensive agriculture, leading to depletion of organic material and further loss of microbial activity.
Monocultures lead directly to the selection of increased populations of soil-borne pest organisms and the emergence of 'soil sickness' problems that cause an often insidious degeneration of crop productivity. The long-term effects of genetically modified crops remain largely unknown.
The demand for organics
Consumer and producer concerns have driven interest in organic alternatives and already trade is significant with substantial growth expected as indicated below.
Retail Value (US$b)
Pests and their management
The different groups of pests, arthropods, pathogens and weeds have different biological characteristics and require different actions for their control. Life cycles, especially methods of survival and spread and crop or ecological specificity are important attributes that must be taken into account in any rational approach to their management.
The general spectrum of pest management alternatives fall broadly into three categories:
Conventional - uses all the available methods of crop protection (permitted within the appropriate local regulations) and for many problems pesticides became the favoured method. Their effects on pest populations could be dramatic, their use reduced labour inputs, especially for weed control and they could be used to minimize the risk of pest outbreaks. Many of these perceived advantages have now been lost or offset by the negative side effects of using pesticides.
IPM - Integrated pest management aims to minimize pesticide usage by emphasizing and using alternatives such as cultural control methods, resistance and biological control in an integrated manner.
Organic - this involves using holistic management based on the whole biological system, with minimal external inputs. It demands knowledge of the biology of the pests and the ecology of the cropping system.
Crop protection methods employed in traditional agricultural systems contain many elements of organic systems (use of cultural practices, no chemical inputs). Many of these, usually developed empirically, are available from local indigenous technical knowledge (ITK) and some of these may be appropriate to organic crop protection methods. However, there are key differences between traditional and modern organic systems which:
have to be market orientated and have a specified economic return,
have a defined and certified assurance system to ensure quality,
have to be undertaken on a positive ecological basis
Principles of Organic Pest Management
These are based on keeping pests in check by natural balances within the system and by crop compensation.
Potential pest organisms only cause damage when their populations increase beyond a level that causes economic damage to the crop (the economic threshold). Furthermore, crop growth compensates for a certain amount of pest damage especially that occurring early in the season. Natural levels of foliation and flowering in crop plants permit a certain level of natural pest damage before yields are significantly affected; seeds are often sown at a rate that takes into account losses caused by pests.
Pests are managed by understanding and disrupting their ecology in order to limit their development and prevent the buildup of damaging populations. Cultural techniques to disrupt pest life cycles and improve crop tolerance to pests, deployment of pest resistant cultivars and the active encouragement of natural enemies of pests form the basis of organic pest management.
The ideals of organic crop protection are reflected in the framework laid down by IFOAM. This consists of general principles covering the goals and aims of organic agriculture, a series of recommendations promoting techniques of organic agriculture and the minimum standards required for incorporation into a certification process.
The requirement for a certification process arose out of need to define the basis of organic production and to ensure credibility of the system from producer to market. Certification ensures that internationally recognized standards are met so that traders and consumers have confidence in the product. The disadvantage is that this creates a cost and the need for external control requirements.
Crop protection inputs that are unacceptable by the IFOAM standards are the use of synthetic pesticides, synthetic growth regulators and genetically engineered organisms
or their products. The use of a number of mineral-based pesticides will soon be included.
Agricultural pesticides have been a primary weapon against pests, especially in intensive systems, for many years. However, concerns about the side effects of pesticides as detailed earlier have lead to an appreciation of the benefits that reduced use of pesticides can have. These include:
Improvements in human and animal health through reduced consumption and exposure.
The adverse effects on natural enemies (predators, competitors, parasites, hyper-parasites and antagonists) will be reduced.
Species not wanted in conventional agriculture (e.g. non-crop plants) can bring an ecological service as reservoirs for beneficial organisms
Overall environmental biodiversity can be replenished.
The challenge for organic pest management is to produce effective and economic pest management alternatives to pesticides. Elimination of pesticides dictates that these must be available to farmers if productivity and food security are to be sustained. The organic systems must be reliable, feasible for farmers to adopt, able to be integrated into the farming system and be profitable.
Organic management of pest groups
A wide range of organic practises exist for control of crop pests and the intelligent use of these targeted against appropriate phases of the pests biological cycle can achieve adequate control. This is dependent upon knowledge of the pests' biology. General plant health measures such as international plant quarantine, national plant health certification schemes and general crop hygiene are targeted at the whole range of crop pests and are generally compatible with organic practices. Some techniques relevant to pest groups are given below.
Destroying or avoiding the sources of nematode pests form the major theme for control. These include the use of clean planting material (paring, tissue culture, nursery beds) especially for vegetatively propagated crops, destruction of crop residues and the selection of planting sites to avoid soils already contaminated with specific nematode pests of the crop.
The use of crop rotations using non-host break crops can reduce nematode populations in already contaminated soils and use of repellent companion plants can reduce nematode damage.
Deep cultivation and the use of deep mulches can promote root growth so that the plant can compensate for nematode damage by producing new healthy roots quicker; some crop cultivars may be more resistant to or tolerant of nematodes.
Nematodes in the soil can be directly killed by the high temperatures achieved by solar heating of the soil under clear plastic sheeting (solarization).
Using organic manure can enhance biological control by several nematode parasites and some biological control agents, such as the bacterium Pasteuria penetrans, are being investigated for direct use. Some fungal endophytes of plants have also been found to inhibit parasitic nematodes.
Manual and mechanized cultivation are major agronomic practices for weed control either directly or indirectly during interseasonal tillage; burning may also be an effective method for destroying weeds and their seeds between crops.
Destruction of weed seeds in the soil before planting can be achieved by solarization.
Biological control of weeds, especially those that are invasive exotic species may be achieved by introduction of weed pathogens or arthropod weed feeders and there are many examples of this. Weed pathogens may also be formulated as bioherbicides and applied directly to weeds; there are some commercial examples of this.
Ensuring plants have a good start by adequate seed bed preparation, use of seed priming, mulching, appropriate use of shade and water and other inputs are practices which can favour growth of the crop plant so that it can overcome weed competition.
Genetic resistance is the main method of managing most crop diseases, especially of staple crops. Different plant varieties are available and continue to be produced by plant breeders that have effective resistance to many pathogens. Disease resistance can also be enhanced by good agronomic practises.
Destruction or avoidance of the sources of pathogens available to infect crops is a basic requirement for crop health. General crop hygiene measures include the removal and destruction of diseased crop residues and diseased plant parts and the use of healthy seed and clean planting material.
Many plant diseases are soil borne, so the use of crop rotations with non-host break crops can prevent the buildup of damaging populations of soil borne pathogens and retain soil microbial diversity. Solarization can also destroy most plant pathogens in the upper layers of the soil while leaving many beneficial organisms unchecked.
Much can be done to reduce the impact of many diseases by good soil management practises to promote soil biotic health so that the natural biological control processes that occur widely in soils can be enhanced.
Disease forecasting techniques can enable appropriate measures to be taken to avoid or diminish disease threats such as adjustments to planting and harvesting times.
Management of viral diseases usually requires some knowledge of the vector so that it can be controlled.
Direct destruction of many of the larger arthropod pests can be achieved by manual picking and removal, burning of infested crop residues and by adequate soil cultivation.
Trap crops, barrier crops and repellent crops or companion plants may also be effective for some pests and several botanical pesticides are available and may be prepared from some plant species such as Derris and Pyrethrum.
Some crop cultivars posses resistance against major insect pests, but is much less common against arthropods than against pathogens.
Pheromones that disrupt mating or other behavioural attributes of pests are particularly effective against some species.
A range of biological control techniques have been devised for arthropod pest control and adopting, practises which encourage natural enemies, such as the maintenance of floral diversity, are widely promoted. Specific biological control agents have been introduced to control exotic pests in several countries and others are available for more direct application.
Biological control technologies
Apart from the use of practises that encourage naturally occurring biological control processes, there are basically three types of 'additive' biological control:
Classical biological control involves the introduction of a natural enemy from the centre of origin of the pest and has been used against exotic weed and arthropod pests in many areas. The natural enemy becomes established and keeps the pest population under more or less permanent control.
Augmentative biological control involves the mass rearing and release of a biological control agent to overcome pest populations. The agent may become established to such as extent that control of the pest is maintained.
Biopesticides involve the application of a specific biological control agent, usually a pathogen, to the crop or pest to control an outbreak. Biopesticides do not usually persist, so that applications have to be repeated when the pest population recovers.
The main constraint to effective biological control is that the process must be based on sound ecology, so that its impact is sustained and it becomes incorporated into natural systems. The application or introduction of biological control agents should mostly be seen as stages towards achieving a balanced and sustainable system, not as a final solution.
The principle of post-harvest pest management is to minimize damage while maintaining the quality and integrity of the product. The emphasis must be on pest avoidance by good practices, cleanliness and hygiene and treatment with pest-regulating agents only being used as a last resort. A range of techniques is available for organic post-harvest pest control and use of these should be based around a plan for pest prevention and control. These techniques include:
Physical barriers, containers and traps to prevent entry of pests into structures holding the produce.
Sound and ultrasound can be effective deterrents against some pests.
Light and ultraviolet light can act similarly
Temperature and atmosphere control can be used to eradicate some pests or inhibit their development.
Biological control agents that are effective against some post-harvest pests.
Organic Pest Management - technologies and adoption
To summarize, the main options available for pest management by producers of organically grown crops can be listed as:
Resistant crops - especially against diseases.
Maintenance of fertile soils, use of mulches and composts of high biological activity - will also promote growth compensation.
Cultural practices (rotations, cultivation, crop hygiene, crop management) - most of these are aimed at reducing the sources of pests
Companion planting and pest repellents
There remain some technological drawbacks that need to be overcome before these can be applied as part of an integrated system of organic production. Firstly, the agricultural and scientific technologies required for the practical establishment of organic systems are lacking. There is also the need to take into account the labour and time cost implications of organic pest control bearing in mind that for many pests the use of pesticides has significant labour saving implications. Problems of system compatibility can occur; can the requirements of organic pest control fit into other agricultural operations and the totality of the farming system? The lack of sufficient understanding of the holistic functioning of ecosystems and natural pest: natural enemy relationships constrains transfer to new systems.
These are explicitly banned in organic systems approved under IFOAM principles, but the technology still has great potential for improving pest resistance in crops. The first use of this technology some 12 years ago, was to control tobacco mosaic virus. The potential clash between ideology versus specific benefits requires that the position and implications will need to be reviewed as future cases develop from sounder concepts and applications.
Implications of poor pest management in organic production
The perceived threat of the breakdown of organic pest control to neighbouring conventional farms involves the risk of progressive buildup of pest reservoirs that can increase local pest pressures. There may also be health implications from mycotoxins in produce if pathogens are poorly managed and there has been recent concern about levels of specific mycotoxins in a range of agricultural commodities. This and raised levels of pest damage apparent on produce may lead to loss of market confidence in the quality and wholesomeness of the produce
Quality and price remain the ultimate regulators and local production for organic niche markets remains a luxury provision. The shift from small-scale to wholesale or export markets requires the establishment of an entrenched and documented quality assurance process.
Within the pest management context it is important to understand farmers' perspectives and priorities; pests are just one constraint within the system alongside other determinants which include price returns, labour availability and the relative benefits of system.
Implications for resource-poor farmers
Organic pest management may not be an easy solution for smallholders; it tends to be labour-intensive and requires associated ecological knowledge and skilled inputs. Another problem relates to the scale of operations relative to the ecological context. There is also the need for the local availability of certified organic inputs (organic seeds and fertilizers). Maintaining integrity across small land lots requires concerted group action to manage pests in a watershed or other ecologically dependent area. In order to get sufficient return for the effort expended, smallholders will need to adopt a group-based marketing and quality assurance system.
Pest management in organic systems is very feasible and a range of appropriate technologies is available. However, these technologies now need to be integrated into organic production systems. Firstly, this requires the use of available knowledge on pest biology and needs the development and understanding of ecology-based approaches. Secondly, organic pest management must be addressed within the wider context of the agro-ecosystem and socio-economic constraints for it to become an effective and realistic part of organic production systems.
“Country Case Studies: Lessons Learned and Success Stories”
During this Session, five Case Studies were presented. Three of these presentations are contained in the Study “World Markets for Organic Fruit and Vegetables: Opportunities for Developing Countries in the Production and Export of Organic Horticultural Products.” The titles of the presentations and the presenters are as follows:
“Argentina” by Dr Laura Montenegro, Director of ARGENCERT, Argentina;
“Agricultura Orgánica en Chile” by Mr Bart Vrolijk, Agricultural Trade Specialist, FAO;
“Producing and Exporting Organic Produce for the Dominican Republic” by Dr Moses Kairo, Director, CABI Bioscience: A Division of CAB International, Caribbean and Latin American Centre.
The other Case Studies can be found at:
They referred to:
Trinidad and Tobago; it was presented by Mrs Joan Petersen, Organic Agronomist, Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI);
“The Organic Agriculture Export Sector in Uganda” by Mr Bo van Elzakker, AgroEco/IOAS, on behalf of Mr Charles Walaga, Uganda;
“Sources of Information and Possible Technical Assistance in Latin America and the Caribbean”
Mr Robert Taylor, CAB International, Wallingford, Oxon, United Kingdom
1. Title of Presentation
2. Presentation Plan
3. What is CABI - An intergovernmental organization owned by the member countries. Treaty level organization, mission orientated, working in biosciences and information and is not-for-profit. It is also non-funded.
4. Our mission statement
5. CABI's locations worldwide. This slide shows that we have centres in Trinidad, Kenya, Malaysia, Pakistan and Switzerland, as well as offices in United States, India and China and project staff in many other countries
6. Our main business area is in Publishing (which is best known for the CAB ABSTRACTS database and the abstract journals, as well as books and primary journals), Biosciences and Information for development.
7. Information for Development Programme. This programme aims:
• To reduce the gap in the levels of access to scientific knowledge that exists between rich and poor countries;
• To provide a key to empowerment of individuals and communities within local national and regional systems;
And to increase the contribution of agricultural and applied life sciences and technology for sustainable development and the reduction of poverty.
8. Empowerment through information access: How do we try and achieve this?
• By strengthening the national and regional information systems;
• We design global products for development;
• We work to encourage and develop an information culture;
• Develop rural decision-making systems;
• Capture and share indigenous knowledge.
I will go on to describe three programmes that we have that show how we are achieving these aims. Bur first I will put them in the context of the theme of this conference on organic production.
9. With the growth in organic agriculture in recent years, identified by other speakers at this conference, there has been a corresponding increase in the volume of research and extension literature and other types of published information. Despite this increase in literature, organizations have difficulty in keeping up with demands for information. To complicate matters different kinds of information are needed by policy-makers, funding agencies, researchers, extension workers and producers.
10. The main sources of information are the published research, knowledge acquired via networks and there is practical knowledge. Much of the valuable regional information is in these less formal sources.
11. Database on organic farming. This is a list of some bibliographic database on organic farming available in Europe. I would draw your attention to two that are of importance as they are also tropical agriculture. They are:
• DOK owned by GTZ/GATE in Germany and
• ELEIADOC owned by ILEIA Netherlands.
The Organic Farming CD-ROM produced by CABI was funded by the United Kingdom MAFF and covers temperate agriculture. The volume of Organic Farming 2001 will contain about 100K records on organic agriculture.
12. Organic-Research.com is a new Internet site developed by CABI. It has a section of the CAB ABSTRACTS database covering published research on organic farming. It also provides a platform for a range of resources, such as legislation and regulations. It contains the full text of conference reports, as well as news, links, books, jobs, a directory of organic farms, forthcoming conferences and other useful information.
13. The second programme that is relevant to this meeting is the compendium programme. These are large multimedia knowledge bases available on CD-ROM and more recently on the Internet. The first is the Crop Protection compendium and provides a huge resource for researchers, extension workers, quarantine officers, policy-makers and teachers and students. There is a great deal of information on integrated crop management.
14. Compendia are developed through international consortia. For the Crop Protection Compendium the consortium organizations included donor agencies, CG centres, technical agencies and corporations.
15. This next compendium on Animal Health and Production will contain a special section on health in organic production. The techniques used in organic agriculture can also be very valuable to production systems that just do not have access to chemical inputs.
16. The third programme I would like to describe is particularly relevant to this meeting. The Farmer Participatory Training and Research. The approach is based on information and knowledge between the extension officer, researcher and farmer, rather that the more conventional researcher down to extension worker down to farmer. Using the knowledge of all three parties is vital to its success.
17. The Farmer Participatory Approach aims to empower farmers with knowledge of the field ecology and empowers them with the confidence to make informed decisions.
18. The farmers meet regularly at Farmers Field Schools to learn through experimentation. The schools hold simple field experiments, participatory exercises, informal discussions, group dynamics and icebreakers.
19. The farmers are able to evaluate integrated Crop Management Options under their own conditions.
20. The impact of this approach is to:
a) Reduce production costs
b) Maintain an increase in production
c) Improve the quality of products
d) Increase farmers income
e) Improve health and well-being of farmers
f) To get farmers to continue working together to further improve their livelihoods.
21 Implementation of this programme is through research and development contracts, programmes, multipartner initiatives and strategic interventions; the agenda is driven by CABI member countries; the producer and consumer interests are connected; and it uses effective partnerships, including public sector, NGOs and the private sector.
“Caribbean Agro-Entrepreneurs Distance Learning Centre (CADLC)”
Mr Francois Dagenais, Representative in Barbados and Coordinator of the Distance Learning Centre for Rural Development, Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture, Barbados
To support training and agri-business development in the Caribbean within public and private institutions to strengthen their competitive capabilities
The present member countries include:
The future member countries:
Organic Farming Course
Authors: Silvia Rioja, Finn Damtoft, Wendy Hollingsworth
Producer: Francois Dagenais
Multimedia: VII Interactive
The course is designed for anyone who is looking to upgrade their knowledge in organic farming or looking to start their own organic farming enterprise.
The course addresses all aspects of organic farming - getting started, pest management, soil conservation, financial analysis, markets and marketing techniques and certification.
• Computer and Internet Training are provided to develop students computer literacy
• Course Material
• Homework (Internet research)
• Tangible results (e.g. business plan)
• Tutorship sessions was prepared in collaboration with Joan Peterson, CARDI
• Two tutors per country will be trained
• Course is available in English, Spanish and we are presently preparing the French version
Tutorship Sessions (Example - Tutorship #2)
Presentation of Web sites on organic farming by students
Questions and comments by students on first part
Question answering from the CD-ROM
Discussion in group about markets availability
Review of the market survey module 8
Preparation of the next session
Basic Organic Farming
The First Decisions
Management of Pests
US$200/student with tutorship
US$100/student without tutorship
Scholarships can be awarded on request for 50-75 percent of the cost.
Courses are available from IICA Offices - Barbados, Trinidad, Jamaica, St Lucia and Grenada.
(Visit to the course directly on the CD-ROM itself)
“Technical Assistance: FAO's Main Thrusts in Organic Agriculture”
Ms Nadia Scialabba, Environment Officer, Environment and Natural Resources Service, Sustainable Development Department, FAO, Italy
Institutional mandate and corporate strategy
FAO is an intergovernmental organization that responds to the needs of its 181 Member Governments. In 1999, FAO's Committee on Agriculture and Council mandated FAO's Secretariat to develop a cross-sectoral programme in organic agriculture to enable member countries to make informed choices about organic management.
The organic agriculture programme of FAO is in its infancy. What has been done in the past two years was possible through reallocation of financial and human resources within existing work programmes. An interdepartmental working group on organic agriculture has been established, with representatives of all FAO technical divisions. Organic agriculture has been selected as one of the 16 priority areas for interdisciplinary action of FAO's medium-term plan.
FAO's Organic Agriculture Programme (2002-2007)
Information systems and networking arrangements for production, conservation, processing, labelling and marketing of organic produce
The objective is to make available reliable, accessible and quality information for informed decision-making in organic agriculture. Selected activities include:
A Web site on Organic Agriculture which provides access to information on organic agriculture inside and outside FAO. This facility will be strengthened by the inclusion of databases, E-conferences and topical studies on organic agriculture. Data are generated through various means and made available through multimedia products: posters, books, CD ROMs, Web sites, etc.
Development of a methodology for comparing the performance of organic, traditional and conventional farming systems. The methodology will be the basis for future field data collection and analysis of farming systems worldwide.
Development of a methodology for the collection of data from all FAO member countries with a view to making available, official statistics on organic agriculture.
Promotion of collaborative research mechanisms; for example, the working group on Research Methodologies in Organic Farming in Europe.
Policy and technical decision-support tools for productive and efficient organic farming systems
The objective is to enhance organic production and processing, with a particular emphasis on poor and market-marginalized areas, food security and the environment. Selected activities include:
Case studies on the contribution of organic agriculture to soil biodiversity and agrobiodiversity in different ecosystems. The results will be submitted for consideration by the appropriate bodies of the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture.
Technical guidelines that are being developed for practitioners of organic horticulture production and organic crop conservation and processing. Work is being carried out on organic pastures (in Brazil and Uruguay), organic aquaculture (in Eastern Europe) and non-wood forest products.
Alternative research and education approaches which are being investigated and developed, including curricula and material for formal and informal training on organic agriculture. Experience in Farmers-Field-Schools will be used to develop farmer-to-farmer research and extension.
Studies, technical assistance and policy advice on production, certification and trade of certified organic agriculture products
The objective is to facilitate access to markets for smallholders and exporters from developing countries. Selected activities include:
Intergovernmental collaboration on organic standards, inspection, certification and accreditation, such as the Codex Alimentarius Guidelines on Production, Processing, Labelling and Marketing of Organically Produced Foods and the draft Codex Guidelines on the Judgement of Technical Regulations Associated with Foods Inspection and Certification Systems (to be endorsed in 2003?).
Evaluation of the diversification potential and market opportunities for organic agriculture commodities. This Organic Horticulture Conference is a clear example.
Analysis of organic production systems in specific contexts and guidance and/or assistance on requirements of production, processing, retailing and consumption of certified organic agriculture products.
FAO's technical assistance to countries
“Normative” services provided by FAO include the provision of information on organic production and trade through studies, statistics, networks and discussion fora. FAO seeks to play a catalytic role in international organic trade, policy development and public-private partnerships.
“Operational” activities are provided from FAO's own budget or mobilized from governmental, private sector and other non-governmental sources; field projects are formulated and implemented at governments' requests.
FAO grants Technical Cooperation Programme (TCP) resources of a relatively short duration (maximum two years) and limited amount (not exceeding US$400 000); technical inputs of experts, practical training and equipment and supplies. TCPs should complement other sources of assistance and serve as catalyst for larger-scale activities.
In collaboration with its financing partners (namely the World Bank) and under cost-sharing arrangements, FAO assists Member Governments to assess and formulate investment proposals and to meet the requirements set by the financing agencies for their approval and implementation.
“Technical Assistance: CTA”
Ms Isolina Boto, Deputy Head, Seminars and Studies Department, Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation, Netherlands
Mandate and programmes
The Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) was established in 1983 under the Lomé Convention between the ACP (African, Caribbean and Pacific) Group of States and the European Union Member States. Since 2000 it has operated within the framework of the ACP-EC Cotonou Agreement, signed for a duration of 20 years.
CTA's tasks are to develop and provide services that improve access to information for agricultural and rural development, and to strengthen the capacity of ACP countries to produce, acquire, exchange and utilize information in this area. CTA's programmes are organized around four principal themes:
developing information management and partnership strategies needed for policy formulation and implementation;
promoting contact and exchange of experience: CTA is organizing and co-organizing conferences, seminars, workshops, study-visits on agricultural and rural development information priority themes for the various ACP stakeholders involved in agricultural and rural development;
providing ACP partners with information on the main changes in agricultural and rural development through publications and co-publications, the bi-monthly bulletin Spore and an increasing support to the electronic publications;
and strengthening their information and communication capacities through an important training programme.
The main priority themes for CTA are intensification and optimization of production, natural resources management and the promotion and access of ACP agricultural products to local, regional and international markets.
Support to organic production
The organic production touches all the priority themes listed above, including important issues such as poverty reduction, food security, food safety, diversification alternatives, income-generating activities for small and medium scale farmers and better access to regional and international markets, mainly through exports from ACP countries.
CTA has supported so far seven publications in French and English on various aspects of organic production - ecofarming practices, producing food without pesticides, EU regulation on organic farming, etc. - , including sensitization articles in the bulletin Spore. Furthermore, CTA co-organized and co-funded a workshop on Organic banana: towards an organic banana initiative in the Caribbean, in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, in 1999 and supported the publication of the main findings.
As a result of CTA's involvement in the study on World markets for organic fruit and vegetables - Opportunities for developing countries in the production and export of organic horticultural products through the funding of six case studies in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific, CTA agreed to co-organize this conference for Latin American and Caribbean countries on Supporting the diversification of exports through the development of organic agriculture. The aim was to share the results of the study among a large audience of international specialists and stakeholders involved in organic production and to promote exchange of experience on the main issues regarding production, marketing and certification.
Although organic agriculture may sound as a good opportunity for some ACP countries to develop new production and access new markets, there is a lack of information on the constraints and potentials organic production really entails for ACP farmers who want to convert into organic. CTA and its partners need to bring additional support to the dissemination of phytosanitary rules and regulations needed to access the main northern markets, setting up local or regional certification programmes, initiating or supporting existing capacity building programmes as well as promoting the exchange of information through workshops and seminars.
These information gaps need to be addressed through workshops and study visits, publications and information packages, training programmes, local institutional support - including financial support - and a favourable policy network at national, regional and international level. The need to develop or strengthen the technical and information capacities of local bodies, i.e. for certification, at national and regional level is an important issue that also requires urgent attention. To implement all these programmes, CTA develops partnership and networking programmes with a various range of stakeholders with the aim to increase the impact of the support provided.
For further information contact:
6700 AJ Wageningen
Tel. (31-317) 467100
Fax (31-317) 460067
“Technical Assistance: CDE
Mrs H Acquah-Dodet MALENGE, Co-ordinator - Fruit and Vegetable sector Centre for the Development of Enterprise (CDE), Belgium
What is CDE?
An ACP/EU Institution (set up in the framework of the Cotonou Agreement)
A private sector partner
In all sectors
In all ACP countries
To promote and assist the private sector in ACP countries
Direct Support from ACP Businesses
Creating: value added; jobs
Small and medium-sized businesses in the formal sector
Meeting the Following Conditions
assets or turnover: min. €80 000
number of employees: at least five
maximum assets: €10 million
economic and social impact on the sector.
The CDE Contributes up to two-thirds of the total cost of assistance
Operational Support Facilities
for the duration of the project
Support for Intermediary Organizations
Certifying bodies-training inspectors
Chambers of Commerce and Industry
Support for Consultants
Linkages with other experts
Number of companies assisted in 2000: 654
Setting up: 25.5 percent
Existing (expansion, diversification rehabilitation): 74.5 percent
100 companies in the Caribbean
Mainly food and Construction sectors
CDE is the Centre of a Complete Network
In ACP countries - with representatives and local correspondents
In Europe - institutions and associated experts
How to benefit from CDE's Assistance?
A formal request:
presentation by the promoter
detailed project description
estimated budget for assistance
Contact - for information or a request
52 Avenue Herrmann Debroux
Tel.: 00 32 2 679 18 11
Fax: 00 32 2 675 26 03
In the Caribbean
Gary Aylmer,Head -Caribbean Field Office
Calle 6 No. 10 Ensanche Paraiso
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Tel: 1-809-683-4772 Fax: 1-809-375-0581
“Technical Assistance: ITC's Technical Assistance in Organic Trade”
Mr Rudy Kortbech-Olesen, Senior Market Development Adviser, International Trade Centre UNCTAD/WTO, Switzerland
Mr Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen, as mentioned yesterday, the International Trade Centre UNCTAD/WTO, or ITC, is the focal point in the United Nations system for technical cooperation with developing countries in trade promotion. It is sponsored jointly by the World Trade Organization (WTO) and by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). ITC's mission is to support developing and transition economies, and particularly their business sector, in their efforts to realize their full potential for developing exports and improving import operations with the ultimate goal of achieving sustainable development.
ITC works with these countries to set up trade promotion programmes for expanding their exports and improving their import operations. This covers the following six core services: Product and Market Development, Development of Trade Services, Trade Information, Human Resource Development, Management of International Purchasing and Supplies and Assessment of Needs and Programme Design.
In the context of this Conference, the most relevant one is Product and Market Development.
Direct export marketing support to the business community through advice on product development, product adaptation and international marketing for commodities, manufacturers and services. The aim is to develop and market internationally competitive products and services to expand and diversify these countries' exports.
I have brought some copies of the ITC brochure and our magazine, International Trade FORUM, which describes our activities in more details. Now let's see what we are doing in the area of organic products.
As you know, ITC worked together with FAO and CTA in preparing the market survey on organic fruit and vegetables, which we are discussing during this Conference. We hope that it will be a useful tool not only for the countries represented here, but also for the organic trade throughout the world.
Many of you also know that ITC published (in 1999) a market survey entitled Organic food and beverages: world supply and major European markets, financed by the Government of Denmark. The survey covers seven European markets in detail and provides a global overview on world trade, including world supply, by country and product group; it identifies market opportunities for developing countries and transition economies. It also devotes a chapter to certification and explains what this is and why it is necessary to regulations in major markets and options available to producers and exporters in developing countries. Finally, it gives practical information, including key names and addresses, standards and regulations.
Since then, we have undertaken a series of seminars on export development of organic products in 16 developing countries in Africa and Asia, including 14 least-developed countries (LDCs). The seminars, which were also financed by the Government of Denmark, were organized in cooperation with local organic trade and farming associations, whenever possible, in order to facilitate capacity building. During the seminars, the main findings and recommendations of the ITC study were discussed. Special emphasis was placed on problems facing the organic sector in each of the participating countries and how to benefit from the growing world demand for organic products. As a follow-up to the seminars, various technical cooperation activities are expected to take place in several of the countries visited.
Also, in 1999, ITC completed a study (financed by the Government of Switzerland) on the possible establishment of a national certifier of organic products in Ethiopia - in particular for coffee which makes up more than 50 percent of the country's export earnings. The outcome of the study was positive and the project was re-launched earlier this year to provide technical assistance in certification and export marketing of organic coffee.
In early 2001, ITC published: Cocoa - a guide to trade practices (190 pages), which includes two pages on organic certification. An Organic Cocoa Guide is currently being prepared as a supplement, in cooperation with the Swiss Import Promotion Programme (SIPPO) and the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL). It is scheduled to be printed early next year.
We are currently finalizing a study on the North American market for organic food and beverages, which is expected to be published within the next few months. It will cover the United States and, to some extent, Canada and provide information on supply and demand, market requirements, distribution channels, market access, etc. and identify market opportunities for organic products that offer market potential for commercial production in developing countries.
ITC is undertaking, in cooperation with the Spices Board of India, a three-year project on Empowerment of Rural Communities to Export Organic Spices from India, which is financed by the World Bank. While the ultimate goal is to improve the income level of Indian small-scale spice producers, the project's objective is to link these with high-value export markets for organic spices. This will be achieved through partnerships with local institutions and NGOs. The project will generate outputs related to improved organizational and entrepreneurial skills to exploit business opportunities, technical capability to produce organic spices that can be certified, export-related support services to microproducers concerning organic production techniques and marketing, appropriate information on target markets and well-established market relationships.
Finally, a new project entitled Export development of organic products from LDCs and other low-income developing countries (DCs) started earlier this year. The main purpose of the project is to assist these countries in their efforts to produce and export certified organic products. The project will help developing countries build up capacity to meet the certification requirements of target markets; create a strong export marketing capacity in the participating countries; and increase regional cooperation between interested countries and between producers, exporters, organic associations and NGOs, in areas like certification, market intelligence, export marketing, e-business and joint participation in trade fairs. Under this project we are right now assisting farmers in Southern Africa in exporting organic herbs, spices and essential oils.
To the extent that financing is available, we plan to carry out a number of similar export market development activities, both on a country-by-country basis and on a regional and interregional basis. In carrying out this work, ITC will work in close cooperation with a number of other organizations (national, international, regional, NGOs, associations, certification bodies, etc.), including FAO, UNCTAD, CTA, IFOAM and others present at this conference, as well as the donor community, and, not least the business community.
I hope that I have been able to give you an insight into ITC's work in general and in the area of organic trade, in particular.
For further information, see the ITC Web site on organic products:
1 Source: Organic Business, June 2001, and ARGENCERT figures