Dear ISOFAR members and friends,

I hope that you are all well and able to work in a peaceful and healthy environment, and can do respected work for Organic Farming. This is the world we need for our wishes and children. To dream about and work for a better world. But, the world today seems not as peacefull and healthy as we would like to have.

More than 60 Million refugees – the highest number ever counted – are searching for a better life. Due to increasing numbers of wars and destroyed livelihoods (degradation, pollution, and poverty) mainly in Asia and Africa, more and more people move to other areas, countries and even continents (e.g. Europe, USA). They leave home, not voluntarily, and with a lot of fear. Still there are – and increasing – 800 Million hungry people on Earth. The El Nino phenomenon 2015 has impacts on agriculture and resulted in severely bad harvests particularly in Eastern and Southern Africa, 2016 is not clear yet. Climate change becomes an obvious reality for many fragile farming systems, despite all countries have promised to fight against this change and keep the global warming below 1.5 °C.

Annually, 100 billion US-Dollar have been promised for adaptation and mitigation in poor countries, but will this do? Population growth is still a major challenge for many poor countries, because it eats the economic growth. On the other side of these negative messages – which can and should fear us – only few people own the wealth of the Earth, obesity is increasing, and we continue to exploit natural and fossil resources for advantages of already wealthy people. This is not fair, but it is reality. My fear is, that the final fights for resources and livelihood have already started. Nationalism, radicalism and terrorism) dominate the political news everywhere on the Earth. What is Organic Agriculture in such a critical phase? I have the wish and hope: „A lot!". Shall we give up and say: „Because there are so many problems, we stop our activities and wait for better times?" I say: no, just now we must contribute to solve the problems.

As many of you know, I have moved for some years to work in Ethiopia and Africa to support actions to make more food: enough, healthy and affortable. That is not easy but makes me motivated. That is also a life of a scientist, to bring knowledge into practice. I am more than ever before convinced that Organic Agriculture can help to solve future challenges and already offers good suggestions and answers, which will work, especially for poor and remote farming conditions. I know, that many of you have changed your positions and duties. That is good and helps to change the world towards better conditions.

Nevertheless, there are also many good news for our intentions. Many people on the Earth fight, act and shop for a better world. Organic is growing well, as we could see at BioFach Nueremberg in February 2016. 80 Billion US-Dollar and 42 Million hectares are figures we can be proud of. Many countries put Organic on their political agenda and research funding grows, slowly but constantly. That does not mean, that we should be happy with the development. More is needed. But it is also clear: Organic is not a political niche anymore. It is forcing and challenging conventional farming as well. Together, organic and conventional can solve future problems, when we learn from each other instead of fighting each other.

Upcoming scientific track at the 19th OWC

ISOFAR representatives have worked in cooperation with TIPI and NCOF colleagues to develop the scientific track of the coming 19th Organic World Congress, November 9-11, 2017 in New Delhi, India (OWC17; https://owc.ifoam.bio/2017). The OWC and its scientific track will be a good place to discuss about the potential of Organic Agriculture to solve the future challenges. Therefore the topic is „An Organic World through an Organic India", based on the IFOAM strategy „Organic 3.0 - The next phase of organic development".

The Scientific Track is the track of the OWC where research results are presented and discussed. Papers must link to scientific disciplines such as soil, plant, animal, or economics. All papers should give at least an outline of how the research presented contributes to answer to the question: "How does your research contribute to go Organic 3.0?". Further, it should address at least one of the following issues in the summary and discussion:

1 Feeding the world (productivity, efficiency);
2 Minimizing food chain induced global changes (ecology);
3 Respect for ethical and cultural issues (ethics);
4 Improvement of the quality and health benefits of food (quality);
5 How to make organic prosper and be profitable (economics);
6 Better cooperation among global research communities (networking).

The Call for Papers is open until September 30, 2016, facilitated by an easy online platform: https://owc.ifoam.bio/users/sign_in , where papers can be uploaded. All accepted papers will be uploaded to Organic E-prints, if accepted by the authors. Papers will be complete papers between 2 and maximum 4 pages, A4, with the outline Title, Author names, Abstract, Introduction, Material and methods, Results, Discussion, Summary, References. For the review, following criteria will be used for selection of oral papers and posters:
1. Does the research address organic farming?
2. Does the paper fulfill scientific standards?
3. Does the paper provide solutions to future challenges?
4. Does the paper represent diversity in terms of regions, gender, ages and topics?


Accepted papers will be presented and discussed in 20 sessions of 1.5 hours each, and must link to the ordinary scientific disciplines (i.e. soil, plant, animal, economics, social) which will be the well known session titles.

Regards
Prof. Dr. Gerold Rahmann
President of ISOFAR