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Manjo Smith
Namibian Organic Association
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18th IFOAM World Congress, Turkey

The 18th IFOAM World Congress was held on 13 - 15 October in Istanbul, Turkey.

The IFOAM World Congress takes place every three years, and this year’s event was attended by 900 guests from 81 nations. Manjo Smith, Judith Isele and Natanial Shikongo from the Namibian Organic Association represented Namibia at this premier international event.  

Above: Judith Isele, Natanial Shikongo and Manjo Smith of the Namibian Organic Association at the Organic World Congress.

With roughly 80 individual events, the programme offered everyone with an interest in organic agriculture, marketing and research myriad opportunities to access and exchange information. The emphasis was specifically on themes to do with plant and animal production. The legal framework conditions, controls in organic farming, the trade, organic consumers and the organization of producers were also discussed.

Many speakers brought home the messages of what is needed to make the world a more organic and sustainable place. The former Deputy American Minister of Agriculture, Kathleen Merrigan, pointed out the importance of building bridges saying, ‘The big bridge we have to build is to the next generation.’

FAO representative Nadia El-Hage Scialabba, reminded the audience that it’s the Year of Family Farming, and emphasized that there was still much urgent work to be done in order to guarantee food security. She stressed that the FAO is already working closely with to create global cooperation for the benefit of organic farming.

The calls for putting theory into practice came from many and were supported by Lyonpo Yeshey Dorji, the Bhutanese Minister of Agriculture who reiterated the country's commitment to going 100% organic by 2020.

The congress closed with Markus Arbenz, IFOAM Executive Director, expressing the urgent need to enable access for people the world over to ‘healthy, nutritious, organic food.’

India will host the 19th Organic World Congress during 2017.

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