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Press Release

Multi stakeholder dialogue concludes with definite out put on Organic farming
Pune 20 Jan 2006

A new year of 2006 has heralded a new way of taking the organic farming movement in Maharashtra and Karnataka forward. Collaboration agreement between Agriculture University of Turin-Italy and Rahuri Krishi Vidyapeeth and Agricultural University of University of Agricultural sciences-Karnataka was signed during the workshop on the Organic farming organised by NGO-MADHYAM with the support of Division of Technology, Industry and Economics of United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and University of Turin –Italy. The seminar, participated by more than 90 experts from NGOs, producers, farmers, traders, financial institutes like National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development-NABARD and Bank of Maharashtra, Agricultural and processed food products exports development authority-APEDA, Mahratta Chamber of Commerce, industries and agriculture, Department of Agriculture-Government of Maharashtra and Ministry of Commerce and Industry-Government of India among others, concluded with very specific action plans to develop the collaborative efforts over next two years.
‘Organic Farming ensures environmental sustainability and farmers prosperity in long term, but it would need to overcome the barriers related to the further research and development, market access, consumer awareness and financial incentives. Green Revolution in India was major milestone, but now India needs ‘ever green revolution’. These were some of the reverberating messages from the workshop which was attended by key personalities and the resource persons like Agriculture Commissioner of Government of Maharashtra, Counsellor from Italian consulate, Vice Chancellor of Rahuri Krishi Vidyapeeth, Head of the Centre of the University of Turin, Programme officer of UNEP, Director of Organic farming Development Centre in China, Chairman and Managing Director of Bank of Maharashtra, Director Head of the Programme from Centre for the Environment and Education, Head of Gomukh –well known NGO in Pune.
The Agreement between University of Turin, and Universities in Maharashtra and Karnataka, was signed in the hut in the organic farm, symbolising the fact that Organic-farming movement needs to be brought ‘down to earth’ as it deals with the Mother Earth and the poor framers. Professor MS.M.L.GULLINO Director of AGROINNOVA and chair of the Committee for International Affairs of the University of Turin- Italy and Vice Chancellor of Rahuri Krishi Vidyapeeth and Prof. Babalad Associate Professor and Nodal Officer-University of Agricultural sciences- Karnataka signed the agreement. The agreement provides for the full financial assistance to 3 students from India for the post-doctoral research on organic farming in the University of Turin, The selection of the students and subjects would be done in consultation with MADHYAM and UNEP. The initial fellowship of one year is likely to be increased to second year depending on the out come of the research. The number of students is likely to increase if the Indian Financial Institutes could further support this initiative. MADHYAM and UNEP would also ensure that the results of the R&D are disseminated to the framers in user-friendly languages.
Before the workshop, MADHYAM facilitated the finalization of agreement between the Universities.
The workshop was designed around three days- called Plantation day, Cultivation Day and Harvesting Day. The Plantation day included the review of the status of the Organic farming in the States and internationally. The Cultivation day was organised in the Organic farms and included the working group discussion in identifying the barriers and opportunities for the stakeholders. The last day- Harvesting Day included the round table to draw up the follow up action plan. The follow up action groups were finalised for the collaborative efforts to take the recommendations from the workshop forward.
The key outcomes of the workshop, apart from the specific agreements between the University of Turin and Agricultural Universities in Maharashtra and Karnataka, included:

The necessity to focus on the supply side as well as demand side management for the Organic farming. The Consumer awareness and innovative market interventions would help in developing the market for organic products.
Emphasis needs to be given to develop domestic market while exploring the export market, as is done in China.
The quality enhancement of the farm products would need capacity building of the supply chain starting from the farmers and input-providers. This would also include the information on the certification, standardization and harmonisation of the codes. The Government needs to give clear guidance on the standards and codes.
Due to small farm holdings the collective efforts in certification and marketing are needed.
NGOs need to be working together with other stakeholders for the development of authentic database, preventing the confliction information on the Organic farming and forging the partnerships and collaborative approaches.
The international experience needs to be taken into account to take appropriate lessons for the Indian situation.
Financial Institutes have to work as partner with the farmers and other stakeholders to take Organic Movement forward.
The workshop concluded on 6th January in Pune.
For the further details contact
Suchita Shende, President MADHYAM