TWN-OFAI Regional Conference on Organic Agriculture

The Organic Farming Association of India & Third World Network, Malaysia

Announcing the first TWN-OFAI Regional (South Asia) Conference on “Outstanding Organic Agriculture Techniques”

This announcement is about an international knowledge-sharing conference on “Outstanding Organic Agriculture Techniques” being organised by the Organic Farming Association of India (OFAI) and the Third World Network at Bangalore (Bengaluru) city (India) from September 10-11, 2009.

The conference will host participants exclusively from South Asia countries including India, Bhutan, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal and Myanmar.

The conference will be held at the GKVK campus of the University of Agricultural Sciences (UAS) in Bangalore city. TWN has agreed to assist OFAI by co-sponsoring this regional meeting for the promotion of sustainable and organic farming.

Organic agriculture is once again beginning to receive attention in south Asia, once a major reservoir of such sustainable practices handed down from generation to generation through actual practice, literature and word of mouth.

The conference will build on the available knowledge and skills of the farming communities as well as expose and promote innovations that can be replicated across the South Asia region and even beyond.

The general focus of the regional conference will be a careful stocktaking of the status of organic farming in the countries represented; identification of bottle-necks; sharing of innovative techniques for replication elsewhere; development of organic farming policies for adoption by concerned governments; lobbying; creation of training facilities to meet the needs of small and marginal farmers; promotion of low-cost internal certification schemes like PGS; development of alliances and networking with consumer groups and media; campaigning against the introduction of GM crops and foods and other issues. Though much information would be shared on all these aspects between participants informally, the principal focus of the presentations will be restricted to outstanding organic agriculture practices. The faculty of speakers will mostly comprise pioneering organic farmers.

TWN will arrange sponsorship for travel costs of delegates to the regional conference, while local hospitality costs during the conference will be borne by the Organic Farming Association of India.

Local participation will be encouraged, specially from Karnataka State in which Bangalore city is located, and which has a very strong organic farming movement and organic farmers’ groups connected to OFAI.

Organic farming promoters/organizations are requested to identify potential participants and inform us by 30 June, 2009. Prospective participants may please be requested to send us their complete details including address, email, phone numbers, recent photograph and a short note (100 words) of their proposed sharing/presentation at the regional conference by email and/or FAX or post to reach the Organizing Secretary of the regional conference (Miguel Braganza) by 15 July, 2009.

Selected delegates will be informed and will have to submit by 31 July, 2009, their final presentations as text [preferably with an English translation if the text is in any other language] for publication. The final power point presentations must be sent in advance [with supporting software, where needed].

Related information:

1)  OFAI will assist foreign delegates with arrangements to visit good organic farms in any part of the country after the conference. Foreign delegates should use this opportunity to visit India as well, look around, visit farms. So they are requested to remain in India for at least a week for such programmes. If they do decide to stay over, OFAI must be clearly informed in advance and as soon as possible. Costs of travel by bus/train/air for such travel would have to be borne by them. However, costs of local hospitality with farmers will be borne by the farmers.

2)   The conference will host a special hall of literature on organic farming in all languages of India and south Asia. Please therefore come with books, articles, magazines and CDs either for sale or distribution at the conference. Hand over the literature to one point and collect sales proceeds and unsold stuff after the conference from the same source.

3)     The conference will serve only organically grown food. Menu will include food recipes from north Karnataka on the first day and south Karnataka on the second day and will be 100% vegetarian.

4)     It is firmly recommended that organic farming promoters select the best persons to attend the conference countrywise. NGOs will be restricted to three from every country, whereas organic farmers will be restricted to seven. NGOs with an outreach programme in organic farming or sustainable agriculture and with programmes for expansion of organic farming will be given preference. By and large, only organic farmers will be supported.

5)     Persons who can pay their way will be most appreciated. If NGOs can meet their own travel costs, this would be best, keeping all travel sponsorships for individual organic farmers only. It will be appreciated if some of the costs of local arrangements are also met by participants. These could include costs of local accommodation and food. We would be happiest if participants themselves disclose what they can offer as their contribution to the workshop. If it is needed, it will be accepted. If not, it will be returned or declined. (All OFAI meetings in India are self-supported with farmers mostly paying their own bus/train travel and paying a registration fee of Rs.500 for lunch, dinner and conference materials.)

6)     The conference carries a marginal registration charge in any case of Rs.500 for both days, which includes food. Scholarships only to those who cannot afford. Requests for these must be made in advance.

Tentative schedule of presentations and agenda is given below:

The Regional (South Asia) Conference on “Outstanding Organic Agriculture Techniques” is designed as a knowledge-sharing between outstanding organic farming practitioners from India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Nepal, Bhutan and Pakistan. All speakers will be pioneering organic farmers. Conference organisers are OFAI, NCOF and Third World Network, Malaysia.


09.30 – 10.00  Arrival and registration of participants

10.00 – 11.15  Welcome and inauguration

11.30 – 13.00   Living Farms: Overview of the Best of Organic Practice in India/An OFAI Presentation

13.00 – 14.00   Organic Lunch

14.00 – 15.15   Living Soils: Techniques for restoring soil health

15.15 – 15.30   Organic Coffee/Tea Break

15.30 – 17.00   Living Soils: Techniques for protecting soil health

18.00 – 20.00   Cultural programme by Karnataka artistes

Day Two:

09.30 – 11.00   Living Fields: Insect-Plant Interactions and Harmonies

11.00 – 11.15   Organic Coffee/Tea Break

11.15 – 13.00   Healthy Fields: Managing Plant Health

13.00 – 14.00   Organic Lunch

14.00 – 15.00   Water management on organic farms

15.00 – 15.15   Organic Coffee/Tea Break

15.15 – 16.30   Organic Seeds

16.30 – 17.00   Summing up: Elder/Older farmers advise

17.00 – 17.50   Valedictory

The conference is intended for organic farmers, agricultural scientists interested or working in organic farming, NGOs who have a sustainable agriculture outreach programme.

Registration charges for south Asia conference:

Organic farmers and students: Rs.500 (includes conference kit, two lunches, tea/coffee and snacks). Payable before August 15, 2009.

For information/registration:

Claude Alvares/Miguel Braganza,
Organic Farming Association of India
G-8, St Britto’s Apartments,
Feira Alta, Mapusa 402507 Goa, India
Phones: +91-832-2255913; fax: +91-832-2263305. Mobiles: +91-9420151802 (CA); +91-9822982676 (MB)
Email: or
For updates, visit our website:

Ms Chee Yoke Ling
Third World Network (email:




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