A press meet was organised to announce the largest global event on organic farming, the Organic World Congress (Jaivik Krishi Vishwa Kumbh in Hindi), which will take place in its 19th edition between 9 to 11 November at the India Expo Centre, Greater Noida, NCR. Taking place triennially, at the previous OWC in Istanbul (2014), the Organic Farming Association of India (OFAI) and event partner PDA Trade Fairs from Bengaluru, successfully beat stiff competition from Russia, Brazil and China in order to bring the Congress to India.

The organisers for the event include OFAI, PDA and the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM International, Germany), the apex body of organic farming over the world. Pure & Eco India is a Media Partner for the event. The government of India, through its Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, is the co-organiser of the Congress. The Commerce Ministry’s principal agency for organic—APEDA—will also take a pro-active role in the conduct of the event.

BIOFACH INDIA together with INDIA ORGANIC, India’s largest organic trade fair, will be hosted concurrently with OWC. Over 3,000 organic farmers, government officials, agricultural scientists, extension workers, NGOs, and organic farming associations are expected to attend and participate.

At the press meet, Claude Alvares, director, OFAI, said, “OWC is taking place in Delhi in recognition of the fact that India is where the organic movement began 30-40 years ago. We are pleasantly surprised by the government’s encouragement. Prime Minister Modi is supporting us in a big way and for the first time in OWC’s history, the government of the host country is co-organiser. We are helping 240 farmers prepare power point presentations in their respective mother tongues. OWC will feature approximately 700 global farmer presentations.”

Markus Arbenz, executive director, IFOAM – Organics International, said, “The organic farming sector is significant, with organic farmers contributing USD 80 bn globally. Therefore, the Congress is organised every 3 years to deliberate on how it can be taken to the next level, with more farmers joining in globally, and current farming standards being streamlined and improved further. Switzerland is where the 1st OWC took place in 1977 and we are very pleased that India will host it in 2017.”

Rani Kumudini, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Government of India, who is also responsible for drafting the Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY), an initiative to promote organic farming in the country, said, “In India, the focus is shifting towards organic agriculture. Now we talk more about nutritional security, not just food security. The government wants to give fillip to small farmers and, therefore, has launched PKVY. Our concern is that when we talk of certified organic, are the proceeds going to small stakeholders? What is the point of 3rd party certification if farmers are not getting the right prices? The Prime Minister has told us every village should have organic farming demos. He gives us directives on promotion of organic farming and is very supportive of the movement.”

Registration is now open for the 19th Organic World Congress. For more information, please visit owc.ifoam.bio

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