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Report about the Workshop "Practicioners' Research Agenda"

On October12, 2014, TIPI held the workshop "Practitioners' Research Agenda" at Yeditepe University in Istanbul, Turkey.

(29.10.2014) 

The Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL) organised the workshop as a preconference of the IFOAM Organic World Congress which was held at the Istanbul Congress Center, Istanbul, from October13 toOctober 15, 2014 (www.owc2014.org).

The workshop was opened by Professor Dr. Urs Niggli (TIPI president) and Professor Fikrettin Şahin of the Department of Genetics and Bioengineering of Yeditepe University welcomed the participants and presented the activities of his department. This was followed by an introduction to organic agricultural research in Turkey by Professor Dr. Uygun Aksoy of Ege University, Izmir (http://orgprints.org/27641).

The workshop had two aims: to present practitioners’ perspectives on organic agricultural research needs and to discuss the first draft of TIPI`s Global Vision and Strategy for Organic Farming Research. (http://orgprints.org/27636/).

Practitioners' research agenda

The practitioners´ organic agricultural research needs were presented by farmers from five global regions: Sub-Saharan Africa, South-East Asia, Latin America, North America, and Oceania.

Pascal Gbenou (Benin), Livai Tora (Fiji), and Elisabeth Henderson (USA) highlighted the need for stronger participative, system-oriented research cooperation between researchers and farmers in order to define and address on-farm productivity and sustainability.

Carlos Escobar (Colombia) called for regionally adapted and long-term governmental support as well as the recognition, validation, and improvement of traditional agricultural knowledge. Fundamental research on the local socio-economic and agro-environmental benefits of organic agriculture, on food quality, environmental services, domestic market development, and local food systems are essential to guarantee the efficient development of the organic sector (http://orgprints.org/27588/).

The practitioners, including representatives of the Intercontinental Network of Organic Farmer Organisations, INOFO, agreed that access to science-based and locally adapted information material is an urgent need for organic farmers.

Carlos Escobar stated that TIPI, as a farmer/researcher network, should promote efficiently and distribute examples of successful organic experiences and participatory research.

Joseph Piliyarmattathil Augusthy (India) emphasized in his presentation the poor extension and research support from governments and agricultural universities for organic farming in India. He suggests that TIPI supports farmers regarding training and capacity-building, participatory technology development, and market and certification procedures (such as Participatory Guarantee Systems [PGS] Internal Control System [ICS]), as well as organic system research and organic inputs (http://orgprints.org/27638/).

For Joseph Piliyarmattathil Augusthy, TIPI offers the opportunity for efficient technological and know-how dissemination for organic farmers. All practitioners stressed the need to apply participatory technology development and long-term experiments for efficient, scientifically based policy support and regional development.

The European Technology Platform, TP Organics

The second part of the programme consisted of the presentation of the Global Vision and Strategy for Organic Farming Research and an introduction to the European Technology Platform TP Organics.

Bram Moeskops, from the European Technology Platform for Organic Food and Farming Research (TP Organics, Belgium), introduced the concept, development, and current status of the European Technology Platform, TP Organics. Its three major publications are the Vision for Organic Farming Research, the Strategic Research Agenda, and the Implementation Action Plan (http://www.tporganics.eu). As an already established and well-functioning technology platform on the European level, TP Organics shows the potential that TIPI can develop and the opportunities that can be provided by TIPI for researchers and farmers in organic agriculture.

Presentation and discussion of TIPI’s Global Vision and Strategy for Organic Farming Research

The first draft of TIPI’s Global Vision and Strategy for Organic Farming Research was presented by Prof. Dr. Urs Niggli, TIPI president (http://orgprints.org/27587). This was supplemented through the presentation of Dr. Brian Baker on TIPI's approaches and methods (http://orgprints.org/27585/) and that on the action plan for organic farming research by Dr. Nic Lampkin, from the Organic Research Centre Elm Farm (http://orgprints.org/27586/).

An open discussion among workshop participants emphasised missing aspects  and the importance of developing the vision further.

The second draft will be prepared during the following months and discussed at a joint event of TIPI and the Sustainable Organic Agriculture Action Network (SOAAN), as well as on the Science Day at Biofach, scheduled to take place in February 2015, in Nuremberg, Germany.

Author: Carolin Möller, FiBL

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