Background and Rationale
There is an urgent need for more research, both fundamental and applied, on organic farming practices in the tropics, and for a better dissemination of existing knowledge towards the practitioners in the field. Organic farming in the tropics presents a number of specific challenges that justify a dedicated conference. The aim of this conference is therefore to bring together scientists, policy makers and practitioners active in organic farming to present the latest research developments, and discuss how new and existing knowledge can be implemented in an efficient manner in order to foster further development of organic farming.
Why a conference in Indonesia?
Indonesia is a country where many crops are grown by default without external inputs, and hence where the step to true organic farming is often small. Moreover, there are numerous initiatives of organic farming in crops that are traditionally grown in a conventional manner (rice, vegetables). The Indonesian government is very supportive towards organic farming, including support for marketing and acquiring certification. Over the last 10 years, the Indonesian Soil Research Institute (ISRI) in Bogor, the Gajah Mada University in Yogyakarta and Ghent university (Belgium) have collaborated intensively in research on organic rice and vegetable farming in West and Central Java, and the organisation of this conference is a logical outcome of this collaboration.
This conference will bring together researchers in organic agriculture in the tropics for discussing scientific developments in this intriguing domain. Attention will also be given to more practical issues such as marketing and certification, and we would very much like to stimulate interaction between scientists and farmers/practitioners/NGOs/government bodies in order to finetune research priorities and identify major bottlenecks for further development of organic agriculture in the tropics. To this end, we foresee the organization of a number of
practical workshops. Details on these will be announced in the near future on the conference website.
The conference will consist of a number of plenary oral presentations, and, depending on contributions received, a number of parallel oral presentations. Much attention will be given also to poster sessions, where we expect active involvement of both poster presenters and other participants.
Themes of the conference
The conference will be kept very broad and can deal in principle with all aspects of organic agriculture in the tropics. Sessions will be arranged around a number of themes, depending on the contributions received, and include:
Soil management and soil quality:
Nutrient supply, nutrient use efficiency, nutrient losses, soil quality, relation between soil quality and soil functions, restoration of soil quality upon conversion to organic farming, soil disease suppressiveness.
Soil disease suppressiveness, prevention of pests and diseases, weed management, natural pesticides.
Organic livestock production:
Origin of livestock, livestock feed, living conditions, waste management, and health care.
Food quality and food safety:
Nutrient content, freshness, taste and appearance, production and processing method.
Economic analysis of organic farming:
Direct and/or modelling comparisons of economic returns between organic and conventional farms, social cost and benefits, macro-and microeconomic of organic farming, economic feasibility and risk.