Seven ISOFAR Board members (Gerold Rahmann, Reza Ardakani, Mahesh Chander, Peter Von Fragstein, Victor Olowe, Stefano Canali and Raffaele Zanoli) met in Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran on Oct. 29 & 30, 2016 to deliberate on the upcoming Organic World Congress to be hosted by India in 2017 and also appraise the operations of Organic Agriculture Journal to date.



The Board members were hosted by Islamic Azad University (IAU), Iran (Pic. 1). IAU is the largest University in the world with over 1.7 m students in more than 400 branches all over the globe. The Board meeting was chaired by Prof. Dr. Gerold Rahmann (ISOFAR President). Dr. Reza Ardakani facilitated the Board meeting.


The meeting adopted the following agenda:


  1. OWC2017

-       Scientific track (papers, review process, proceedings, choice of keynote speakers, poster award etc)

-       General Assembly of ISOFAR

  1. Organic Agriculture Journal

-       Overview of OA Journal

-       Role of editorial board members and reviewers

  1. Other ISOFAR issues

-       Update on ISOFAR

-       Dates of upcoming events

-       Membership update

a. OWC2017

- Scientific track

The meeting discussed extensively the extent of preparation for the Scientific Track which is to be handled by ISOFAR, Technology Innovation Platform of IFOAM (TIPI) and India Research Institute. An eleven (11) man International Scientific Board had been constituted to organise the Scientific Track. The deadline for paper submission has been extended till Nov. 30, 2016 and to date about 70 papers have been received. All papers submitted shall be pre-screened before they are sent out to international reviewers. The Editorial Manager will be used to process the papers. ISOFAR will also explore the possibility of selecting very good papers for publication in a special issue of Organic Agriculture. The President also informed that about 3 to 4 scientists shall be sponsored to the OWC2017 by Green Innovation Centre. The Congress Proceedings shall be produced in India. The Poster award will be coordinated by Dr. Mahesh Chander.

- ISOFAR General Assembly

It was agreed that the GA of ISOFAR shall be organised before the OWC and the event shall be anchored by Raffaele Zanoli and Daniel Neuhoff. They will notify all ISOFAR members as the event draws near.

b. Organic Agriculture Journal

- Overview of OA Journal

The Editor-in-Chief, Prof. Gerold Rahmann gave a comprehensive overview of the performance of the Journal to date. He highlighted the number of articles received, rejected and accepted per year. Members discussed the need to review the aims and scope of the journal in order to make it more focused on organic food and farming not excluding other facets of the entire value chain. The categories of papers to be published by the journal were also discussed. The high rejection rate of papers from Africa was attributed to the low standard of methodology. Hence a position paper on minimum requirements for reporting experimental results from the tropics will be developed to guide authors.

- Role of editorial board members and reviewers

It was agreed that the journal should endeavour to cover all disciplines in agriculture and that the papers should reflect a balanced global spread. A workshop is to be planned for editors and reviewers as a Pre-Congress event in India with a view to expanding the Editorial Board. The GA of ISOFAR will eventually ratify most of these decisions.

c. Other ISOFAR issues

- Update on ISOFAR

The President gave an update on activities in ISOFAR indicating the need to have competent staff (especially a Secretary) to attend to day-to-day running of the Society. Nevertheless, he is still coordinating the activities of ISOFAR from his current assignment post in Ethiopia.

- Dates of upcoming events

It was agreed that the Board will hold an e-Board meeting in February, 2017 and vis-à-vis meeting in India.

- Membership update

Board members were encouraged to attract more members to ISOFAR. To date there are over 300 members of ISOFAR worldwide. The meeting was informed that a registration desk will be provided at Isfahan for new members to join the Society.


On October 30, 2016, the template of the draft Memorandum of understanding (MoU) between IAU and other international organisations was presented to the President of ISOFAR to study (Pic. 3).


Thereafter, the Board members paid a courtesy visit to the Science and Research Branch (S&B Branch) of IAU, Iran.



During the visit, the team was conducted round the state-of-the-art facilities in the laboratories.




The S&R Branch consists of 17 Departments. Thereafter, ISOFAR team interacted with the leadership of S&R Branch on possible areas of collaboration.


The ISOFAR Board members later held a joint meeting with the authorities of IAU, Iran headed by Dr. Vasheghari Farahani (Vice President, Research & Technology Affairs). Also present at the occasion were Dr. Ebrahimi (Director, Centre for International Affairs) and Ms. Hashemi Tabatabaie (Director General for Development of Science and Survey Centre). During the meeting, issues were raised on the relevance of organic agriculture to the development of Iran. IAU was admonished to join the organic agriculture movement by actively participating in research projects related to organic products. While responding to the submissions of the IAU representatives, Prof. G. Rahmann charged them to explore the big potential for organic agriculture to impact positively on the Iranian society and design the best solution for the future.


At the end of the interaction, the two team took a group photograph.




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