Despite all odds, especially the late change of host country from Cameroun to Senegal, the 4th African Organic Conference was successfully hosted by Federation Nationale d’Agriculture Biologique (FENAB) from 5th - 8th November, 2018.

The theme of the Conference was "Ecological and Organic Agriculture Strategies for Viable Continental and National Development in the Context of the African Union's Agenda 2063" and it was declared open by the representative (Mr. Arona Niang) of the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Equipment, Senegal.

pic 1

Mr. Arona Niang (representative of Minister of Agriculture and Rural Equipment) declaring open the Conference.

The Conference was attended by over 160 participants, including farmers, scientists, policy makers and organic business entrepreneurs from more than 30 countries. A cross section of some of the participants is shown in Pic. 2.



The International Society of Organic Agriculture Reserach (ISOFAR) jointly sponsored the Conference Proceedings of the Scientific Track with African Organic Network (AfrONet). At the plenary session, Prof. Dr. Gerold Rahmann (ISOFAR President) presented a paper tiled «Contribution of knowledge hub and Networks to EOA Development in Africa».

aoc 3 final 

Prof. Dr. Gerold Rahmann (ISOFAR President) presenting his lead paper on Knowledge hub in Africa


In his opening remarks, he introduced ISOFAR to the participants and encouraged African scientisits to join the Society. He informed that the idea of Organic Knowledge hub was conceived at the 3AOC held in Lagos, Nigeria in 2015 and through the German Ministry of International Cooperation (BMZ), Germany has pledged to support four (4) regional hubs (North, West, East and South) with the sum of 10 million Euro from 2019-2023. The goal is to strengthen African non-profit Organic NGOs. The three expected key outputs of this intervention are gathering and validation of knowledge on organic agriculture, dissemination of locally adapted farming practices and strengthening of markets and comsumption of organic products. Three ISOFAR World Board members attended the Conference.


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ISOFAR World Board members (Gerold, Khalid & Victor) at the 4AOC


Another high point of the Conference was the launching of the EOA Strategic Plan and Action Plan which was coordinated by Mr. Ernest Aubee, Principal Programme Officer Agriculture (PPO) Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and Regional Steering Committee Chairman of EOA-I.


Mr. Ernest Aubee coordinating the launching of EOA-I documents

Thereafter, Mr. Ernest Aubee was honored by West African Organic Network (WafrONet) for his immense contributions towards the development of EOA-I in west African sub-region through ECOWAS.


Mr. Ernest Aubee of ECOWAS being honoured by WafrONet represented by Profs. Vodouhe Simplice (Benin) & Victor Olowe

The epoch event was also attended by representatives of international organisations such as SWISS AID, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Inter-continental Network of Organic Farmers Organization (INOFO), Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (SSNC), IFOAM Organics International, Forschungsinstitut für biologischen Landbau / Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL) and Recherche agronomique pour le dévelopement (CIRAD).

While rounding up the Conference, the stakeholders resolved to meet in Morocco or alternatively Rwanda in 2021 for the 5th African Organic Conference.



Prof. Dr. Victor I. Olowe


Institute of Food Security, Environmental Resources and Agricultural Research (IFSERAR), Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB), Abeokuta, Nigeria This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ;


Dr.Khalid AZIM
Researcher in Organic Agriculture and Organic Wastes Composting. INRA-CRRA Agadir
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The Organic 3.0 approach does challenge us a lot in the organic world, including science. It is a good frame for the new approach: going together to solve future challenges in food security and safety
in context of the Sustainable Development Goals.

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Since 2010, France knows an increase of organic agriculture, which has continued till 2018. Several organizations and stakeholders are involved in organic farming: producers, researchers, teachers, advisors, processors...


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The Organic 3.0 approach does challenge us a lot in the organic world, including science. It is a good frame for the new approach: going together to solve future challenges in food security and safety in context of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Dear members and friends of ISOFAR

As president of ISOFAR, director of the Thuenen-Institute of Organic farming and world board member of IFOAM-Organic International I am working on fund raising for "Organic Knowledge Centers in Africa", "German policy target: 20% Organic" and others. I support action groups in the design of concepts, recently for "True Cost Accounting", ”socio-economic" and "agro-ecology". I still travel a lot and try to promote "Organic Tricks" (like healthy farmer seeds and breeding livestock, intelligent crop rotation, organic pest control, high soil fertility, low water pollution, climate adaptation and mitigation, livestock-crop integration and interaction, nutrient management, food chain traceability and integrity measures, and last but not least fair working and income from producer to consumers) as part of the solution for food security and safety (we call it "plan B").


I know that all my colleagues from the ISOFAR board are active like me. That makes me proud.

Nevertheless, Organic researchers are still isolated and ignored in their competence in many parts of the academic world. I know, we all need more recourses and respect. Organic farming research has not a fair share of the resources. ISOFAR cannot give money, but is a platform to promote our competence and argues for resources. This is always a difficult and slow motion action, but worthy. We all should not be ashamed to ask "give me money". As long as others have more. 


Communication of our results and ideas is possible in scientific papers. Our Journal of Organic Agriculture is growing well; we have already 225 accepted papers. Every year we receive 160 new manuscripts and an extended group of editors (27 scientists) does review them for scientific quality. This quality assurance is important to avoid the image of ideology and "wished results" for Organic research. Open source publications make us the world not easy. Many of them offer fast and problem-free publication of results. But the quality is very often not okay and the image of such papers is decreasing. We work in ISOFAR on quality, together with Springer publisher. You as member of ISOFAR help to make this possible.


I wish all of you a good time at your work and with your families and friends, to make our world better - with science.


gerold rahmann


Prof. Dr. Gerold Rahmann


President of ISOFAR


Author: Sophie Valleix, ABioDoc’s responsible (VetAgro Sup department), This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. - website:


france news

Beef cattle of the organic experimental farm of Thorigné d’Anjou – June 2017 (meeting Optialibio project)


Since 2010, France knows an increase of organic agriculture, which has continued till 2018. Several organizations and stakeholders are involved in organic farming: producers, researchers, teachers, advisors, processors...


Organic French figures

The French organic observatory’s figures produced by the Agence BIO show that, on December 31st, 2017, 54,044 operators were engaged in organic farming in France, what’s representing + 14.7% in one year. Of these operators, 36,691 are producers, bringing the share of French farms engaged in organic farming to 8.3%. French organic surfaces reach 1.78 million hectares, which corresponds to 6.59%. The processing, distribution or import companies represented 17,353 operators of which: 12,286 transformers; 4,783 distributors; 284 importers. The consumption of organic products continues to grow. In 2017, the market for organic food products reached more than 8.3 billion euros, an increase of 17% in one year.



In 2017, it is estimated that organic trades account for almost 134,500 direct jobs (jobs in organic farms and those related to processing and distribution activities). While agricultural employment fell at an average annual rate of -1.1% between 2010 and 2015, employment in organic agricultural production increased by 10,669 full-time jobs between 2017 and 2016, representing +13%.



Some crops are well developed in organic agriculture: organic dried vegetables surface represent 27.9% of total surface in this production; organic fruits 19.8%; aromatic and medicinal plants 19.5%; vineyard 10% and forage fields 9.4%. On the contrary, some crops are not developed too much, in particular fresh vegetables (6.1%) and cereals (3.4%). 




In the continuity of 2016, the development of organic farms has remained strong and concerns all species in 2017.


The part of organic livestock compared to the total of French livestock is 4.93% for cows (4.53% for beef cows et 5.40% for dairy cows), 7.09% for sheep, 7.75% for goats, 1.07% for porks. Organic broilers represent 1.40% of the total and poultry hens 10.11%.


Public policy


The first plan for the organic farming development began in 1998 and several plans followed. Since 2008, these plans concern large area: producers, advisors, teachers, researchers, processors… These plans played a role in the organic farming development, as the strong demand for consumption and as the several organizations and stakeholders working in organic farming. In June, The French Minister of Agriculture and Food presented the new plan for organic farming development “Ambition Bio 2022 Program”, which has a budget of 1.1 billion euros and is organized into 7 major axes:


  • Axis 1: Develop production to reach the 15% of French agricultural area cultivated in organic by 2022;
  • Axis 2: Structure the sectors via the “Avenir Bio” Fund; Currently endowed with 4 million euros, the Future Bio Fund will be increased by 2 million euros from 2018;
  • Axis 3: Develop consumption and support the supply of organic products for all consumers, including the poorest and most vulnerable publics; In addition to the goal of 20% bio in public catering by 2022, a common desire of organic stakeholders is to encourage the offer in collective and commercial catering;
  • Axis 4: Redefining research priorities;
  • Axis 5: Train the actors;
  • Axis 6: Adapt the regulations; On January 1st, 2021, a new European regulation will be applicable;
  • Axis 7: Organic farming in the French overseas territories.



Several organizations are involved in organic researches (technical Institutes in agriculture, national research centers…). 


At the end of 2017, in the National institute of agronomy research (INRA) transformed its AgriBio program into the 9th metaprogram of INRA. While the other 8 metaprograms were created in 2011, AgriBio is entering its 18th year.


Link to recent Agribio projects :

Two theses start in this context: - Operation and evaluation of diversified production systems in organic agriculture: references for the agro-ecological transition (UMRH); - Conditions for linking the greening of agriculture and food in the context of just sustainable development (SAD, Ecodevelopment).


Inra is also involved in European Core Organic call. Link to Inra’s projects into Core Organic + (2015-2018):


The French Organic farming technical institute (ITAB) will co-supervise another INRA thesis: "Design combinations of cropping systems at the farm level to manage soil health". The ITAB is involved in several research in organic farming, concerning crops and livestock, seeds and biodiversity, quality, processing… In 2017, ITAB was involved into 62 research projects, including 8 European projects.


ITAB Lab, created in 2017, is an association for research and innovation Bio. It is a collective of actors (Pôle agriculture biologique Massif Central, GRAB Avignon,IBB…) committed to research and innovation, coordination and capitalization of knowledge in AB (Pôle agriculture biologique Massif Central, GRAB Avignon,IBB…).


At the beginning of 2018, ITAB and ABioDoc, the French documentary centre specialized in organic farming, edited a bibliographic review on French technical-economic references in organic agriculture  


Some experimental farms are only or for part in organic farming : Thorigné d’Anjou (Pays de la Loire), Ferme des Bordes (Limousin), Ferme de Trévarez (Bretagne), Laqueuille (Auvergne) … managed by a technical institute, an agricultural chamber, the national agronomic research institute…

Several agricultural high schools have a farm or a part of their farm in organic farming, some time with a experimental station like P.A.I.S in Suscinio Higt school. Some private farms shelter experimental station, like Reine Mathilde plateforme in Normandy (farm is GAEC Gilbert).


French research examples in organic farming:


Salamix (June 2015 - May 2018), INRA, funded under the AgriBio 4 program.

The project consists in setting up an experiment based on the comparison of three farming systems producing meat from grassland resources (permanent meadows in mountain areas). It is a question of studying the interest of the sheep / cattle mix, in comparison with specialized sheep or cattle systems, in terms of finished meat production and quality, performance and animal health, grassland production, farmer work and environmental impacts. The project is conducted on the Inra site of Laqueuille (Massif Central), which is being converted to the AB.


Optialibio (Oct 2014 – June 2018), Idele (Tehnical institute in animal husbandry): this project (Optimization of autonomy and resistance to climatic hazards of organic cattle farming systems) aimed to produce references and tools to strengthen the adaptation capacities of organic cattle systems to climate hazards by improving their autonomy food.


Covalience: Co-design of management tools and assessment of cross-pollination selection for local adaptation and resilience of agro-ecosystems: case of maize (ITAB, CASDAR funds, 2018-2021).


Bt ID-1528: Tools for identifying, tracing and controlling Bacillus Thuringiensis contamination from fork to fork (Casdar 2015-2019, ITAB).


Resilait: Resilience of organic dairy systems; optimization of competitiveness factors and development of more efficient systems for future risk management (Casdar funds, 2016 - 2019 ITAB / IDELE, technical Institutes of animal breeding and of Organic farming).


French participation to European projects in organic farming examples:

Liveseed: Developing seeds and organic breeding in Europe (H2020, 2017-2021)

Diversifood: Enrich the diversity of cultivated plants through a multi-stakeholder approach to increase the performance and resilience of different agro-ecosystems, and develop new healthy and tasty products (EU, 2015-2019)


EcoOrchard (2015-2017) Innovative design and management to boost functional biodiversity of organic orchards, a Core Organic project

The Finnish organic food system has had the same development phases as many other countries producing or consuming organic food, but the current volume of production and the market share is lagging severely behind the best-performing European Union countries. Finnish authorities set several development programmes with quantitative goals for the growth of the organic sector, the latest for 2020.

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