Public Debate on Perspectives of sustainable/organic farming for developing countries

Organic farming is a growing sector not only in Europe in North America, but also on the global level. The system of organic agriculture has the objective to protect the environment and achieve a sustainable farming system. It has been shown in many study-cases, that organic farming often provides a number of advantages for the environment like lower levels of nutrient runoff and a higher level of biodiversity. However, in practise we can also observe, that organic farming often comes with lower yields. At the same times, higher prices are necessary to make the system pay economically viable.

Organic berry production in the region Maulé, Central Chile

Organic berry production in the region Maulé, Central Chile

We want to discuss, whether organic farming is a useful instrument to develop agriculture in developing countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, South-East Asia and Latin America. Most of farmers in developing countries are small subsistence and semi-subsistence farmers, therefore organic farming might provide interesting examples to help farmers in those countries to improve their income. Besides this, we can observe that agriculture in ecological sensitive areas can be a challenge. On the other hand, according the report “how to feed the world 2050” from the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) we need to increase the food-production by 70% until the year 2050. The share of people living in extreme poverty nowadays is already at 1.4 Billion persons, the number of persons who are suffering from chronic starvation is estimated by FAO at 870 Million people. Therefore we also need farming systems with constantly high yields in order to supply international markets and contribute on the world food situation. In that respect, organic farming has been sometimes criticized due to it’s lower yields. It might also be an interesting debate, if we can combine organic farming with other strategies and approaches to optimize farming systems in developing countries and at the same time improve yields. But poverty, starvation, small farming and farming in ecologically sensitive areas might also be problems, which are interlinked. We will critically investigate and discuss the role of organic farming for agriculture in developing countries.

With us are four experts in the area:

Dr. Marie von Meyer-Höfer has done her dissertation at University Göttingen on “Product Differentiation and Consumer Preferences for Sustainable Food“. Her main research interests are food consumer research, sustainable and organic food consumption in industrialized and emerging countries, sustainability labelling and animal welfare.

Viola von Cramon-Taubadel studied agricultural economics at the University in Bonn. She is politician for the Green Party in Germany and has been member of the Bundestag 2009-2013. She is working on foreign policy and human rights in Eastern Europe (mainly Ukraine), but she also brings a wide expertise on agriculture in Eastern Europe.

Prof. Dr. Matin Qaim has done his PhD in Kiel and Bonn. Since 2007 he is professor for “International Food Economics and Rural Development” at the University Göttingen. Since then he has supervised many PhD-students, he has an outstanding publication record, he has won many scientific awards and he has a wide expertise in developing countries. His main research interests are the economics of biotechnology, issues of food security and sustainable development, nutrition and health economics, agricultural markets of high value products in developing countries and rural development.

Eberhard Prunzel-Ulrich has studied agriculture at Göttingen University. In 1981 he and his wife founded his small farm in Landolfshausen (Käsehof Landolfshausen) some km from Göttingen, which since 1987 he runs under the Bioland-certification. They mainly produce grain, and milk & cheese from sheep and goats, which they sell on the weekly market in Göttingen. Since many years, they are also in involved in education-projects like farm-courses for children or guided tours and open-farm events. Eberhard Prunzel-Ulrich is also involved in activities of the small-farmers association in Lower Saxony.

Jan Fragel: studied law and education science in Göttingen. He is a freelancer journalist working for print media and radio, who also brings many experiences on agricultural and development topics especially in developing countries like e.g. Nicaragua or Thailand.

Time: Do, 04.02.2016, 19:15 Uhr

Location: Tagungszentrum in der Sternwarte, Geismar Landstr. 11, 37083 Göttingen

The discussion is part of the accompanying program of the DAAD-Biofach Winterschool, which takes place in Göttingen and Nuremberg between February 2-14, 2016 and which is organized by the Section for Tropical and Subtropical Agriculture and Forestry (SeTSAF) (Antje Henkelmann) of the Georg-August University Göttingen and which is supported by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).

So hope to see you there!

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