Our homepage will be down in a few month, but the ecoweb.dk server will carry the Book of Abstract for a few years. Soon we will put on information on how to buy the proceedings (that's all the real good stuff!). It will also have a small Ifoam page pretty soon - waiting for Greg Forrest to put up a real Ifoam homepage.
I include the speeches I have here, fell free to use them as You want. Regards,
Mesdames et Messieurs, friends
First I would like with you to realize the path we have done until today. In a recent past it was impossible to hear speeches like those of the Environment Minister yesterday and the Agriculture Minister today.
What pleasure, what privilege to be here in Copenhagen and see our "dreams" becoming the cup of tea of numerous politicians.
Since 1972 every two years IFOAM organize an International Scientific Conference in different continents 1990 Burkina Faso, 1992 Brazil, 1994 New Zealand, 1996 Denmark next in 1998 in Argentina.
The main objective is to situate progress in research, development, education, market and sustainability of our system in regard to add that behind speeches behind papers and debate there is people and our conference provide the tremendous opportunity to meet people from all over the world.
Second objective is the preparation of the Food Summit of November in Rome organized by FAO . At the end of this conference we plan to address the Copenhagen declaration on this topic of food security based on the work of IFOAM 96.
On behalf of IFOAM - I would like to warmly thank Troels V. V. ?stergaard and the all team of IFOAM 96 for their hard work and dedication for this event.
To all of you I wish - good work, good contacts and please don't forget to enjoy yourself at evening time in this marvellous harbor.
(transcriped from audiotape recording)
Thank you to Mr. Auken for that opening speech and to all the people who has built the organic farming movement invisibly over 20 years, so that it can visually get together in this shape - today.
I personally see this movement as the biggest peace movement of our times, the biggest justice movement of our times, and the biggest ecology movement of our times. I see it as a peace movement not merely because it reestablishes a peaceful relationship between humans and the earth that feeds us, but even more it gives us the possibility to build societies that are peaceful. That have a place for everyone, because societies with redundant ...(poor sound quality) lead to violence, civil breakdown,absolute unlivable conditions for all. The issue that keeps coming up repeatedly and I guess that we will hear it more than ever before this year, with the food summit of november, is the question who will feed the world and how the world will be fed.
The assumption somehow has been for the last 40 years, that one can destroy agriculture every way, intensify it in a few places in a few hands, and that is the most efficient way to feed the world.
We know from all experience, that that net is breaking down. Just 1996 has given us two major catastrophes with that kind of intensive systems, concentrated in a few places or countries. We have had a new collapse of wheat crop of the United States. And the FAO was working on predictions, that by the year 2020, 99% of the grain need of the world, including Europe, would be met by US grain. This year there has been a 50% decline in wheat, because of drought, triggered by climate change, and a fungal disease which was introduced into India by the Americans in 1965 with the Green Revolution has gone back to kill the wheat crop of the US - as if what we were having is a microorganism level backlash.
There is a very, very dominant myth, that small farmers are inefficient, small holdings are inefficient, organic methods are inefficient. That we will have to have less, that we will have to have a decline, if people are to be fed. I don't think that's true. First of all, that's not true, by and large because productivity in agriculture has not been measured with respect to natural resources in the environment. It has always been measured with respect to labor inputs, it?s productivity by capita not productivity per acre. And because of the fact, that it is not people that are scarce. We have hands, minds and hearts in abundance, to produce organic food. That is not the input that we must be reducing. In fact that input has been in abundance in the Third World, but now with jobless growth as a phenomenon even in the industrialized countries, It is only in organic systems that we can find relevance for the future generations. Because every other system is pushing them out, rendering people absolutely dispensible to the economic production system. And we need places where people can find a new, relevant, significant meaning for life.
The studies are now, that when people from jail were put to organic gardening the crime levels came down. In down town areas in the US, whereever gardening and organic experiments started, the teenagers were not involved in violence anymore. That is the place we have to go, not just because agriculture is about producing food, it is also about giving people a meaning in life.
And I think the biggest crisis right now at the ending of this millenium and at the beginning of the next is the hopelessness, the sense of being wasted, that is just running like epidemic through all societies of the world, that is creating the Yugoslavia's, the Rwanda's, the Sri Lankas, the Kashmire's, the Punjab's and the Assam's of the world today. We cannot afford the whole world to become "balkanised" and "libanised" in that way, and organic agriculture moves to mainstream economy, becomes the only imaginable solution to the entire world being reduced to a Rwanda-like situation. In any case I do not from my experience of 15 years, of having applied my physics training to farming systems and eco systems, I have not found to date, organic systems that are of lower productivity than industrial, chemical and intensive systems,
The way the productivity is constructed , is by looking at one element of the system, reducing hundreds of crop varieties to a single crop, reducing one crop to one function, reducing cattle, which was supposed to produce organic manure, which was supposed to provide animal energy, and in our country they still do, which were supposed to produce dairy products, and in societies where meat is eaten to provide meat. They have been reduced to just single function machines. They are just milk producing units or theyare just meat producing units. They are not linked to the land and as a result of that sort of intensification you have the inevitability, the mad cow disease. What could be more efficient than taking dead infected cows and feeding them to cattle. it's a very efficient system. Worked out in the prevention of one dimentional efficiency that sees no ecological value, human value, ethical value, cultural value in anything that has to do with production.
We are also realizing very quickly that, in any casethree to five units of internal input can produce the same amount of food as 300 units of external inputs provide, and as a very simple second class of arithmetic lesson to mean 5 units producing 100 is far more than efficient and productive than 300 units producing 100.
You might when you walk around see a program on regenerating biodiversity, but for us it is nut just conserving species as museum pieces. For us biodiversity is the very base for regenerating the first link of the food chain, which is seed, but even more important, shifting to a different notion of productivity, a diversity based productivity, not a monoculture based productivity. And it turns out that that is the crisis not just for us. There was a Leipzig conference on plant genetic resources two months ago, in june, and all ecological farmers of Europe was saying that the monopoly on seed, intellectual property rights on seed, is becoming the biggest block to shifting to ecological agriculture, because farmersdon't have access to the material, that would allow them to become ecological, the seed material.
So, farmers rights become absolutely essential foundations for organic agriculture, and that means: any monopoly system that undermines those rights becomes a declared war against the shift to organic agriculture.
The minister talked about eco-labelling and we have seen, again, in the last year the issue of the mad cow disease, the issue of the herbicide-resistant rape-seed that Monsanto wanted to push without labelling in Denmark and which, I feel very happy that Denmark has resisted so far.
These are issues in which very fondamental right to information is being denied to consumers. What method has been used, what has gone into the food, how the seed has been processed, what technology was used. And I think the deadlock that is being created in the world-trade organization around that there is an agreement that the north and the south could reach, which says,let us begin with food, on product and process methods, I am sure that the south will be more than willing to come to that. because it is the dumping by non ecological production methods that is wiping out agricultures . And they will be only too happy to have costs of production internalised into systems. And if by the time of the ministerial ......in december a few countries of the north like Denmark, Sweden and Norway could come to agreement that we will push for process and production methods being internalized, but we will do it for agriculture, we will do it for genetic engineering, we will do it for food labelling, I think we could actually have major brake through so that instead of trade issue, pushing and subsidising anti organic agriculture it starts to support organic agriculture. I will give you a very simple example, five years ago, I have done a conference about the stage of the world in terms of the food system. And we have done a paper on the fact that Pepsico, you know the big company Pepsico, is going to machoes in Punjab to make ketcup to send to all its pizza huts, it was paying the farmers half a rupi for a kilo, twenty rupis make a dollar and you can work out which fraction of a dollar that is. Just yesterday the newspapers announced that the exporters of vegetables from India would be getting subsidies to rupis ten a kilo, that is twenty times more than the farmer gets after laboring the entire year. And from what I see, a lot of that money is coming from aid. Which is saying not aid, lets promote trade, but trade is then promoting subsidies, for the wrong kind of agriculture, and I really think that we need a serious ecological audit on that.
So what we have to subject all agriculture to is the two tests of ecology and human rights. Ecology basically to insure that ecological processes have been the basis of food production, and human rights spanning from the fundamental right to food of all, from the rights of farmers to be engaged in farming, the right of farmers to have seed, the right of consumers to have knowledge about what they are eating, that whole bundle of human rights that is concerning food and agriculture. And agriculture that fails those tests deserves to disappear.
I feel very happy to be with you, the movements that are showing the way in which we could be going from here into the next millenium. Thank You
The 11th IFOAM Scientific Conference
Welcome address, August 11, 1996
Chairman, The Danish Association of Organic Agriculture
On behalf of the Danish Association of Organic Agriculture, I am deeply honored this evening to welcome all of you to IFOAMs 11rd Scientific Conference. For travellers from other countries, a hearty welcome to Denmark.
The associations members are people like yourselves - organic farmers, consumers, researchers and educators - who work together on all fronts to promote organic farming. We are very proud to host both the conference and the World Organic Exhibition. As a small association with fifteen hundred members, we have to admit that we couldn't have pulled off this ambitious project alone. In addition to the hardworking organizers and volunteers who have pulled the conference and exhibition together, I am glad to have the opportunity to thank Minister of the Environment Svend Auken and the Green Fond for support to the World Organic Exhibition.
I especially want to thank our progressive Minister of Agriculture Henrik Dam Kris-tensen for thee Financial and political support which the Ministry of Agriculture has given to the conference, to the World Exhibition and to the development and organic farming in Denmark.
We thank you.
The fact is that this conference is pretty typical and the kind of collaboration that has given Danish organic farming such a boost in recent years. We have a handful of organic farmers, researchers and small associations working overtime to get things off the ground. We have support from consumers. We have support from the major farm organizations and labor, through the ministers Council on Organic Agriculture and we have the national government stepping in with resources.
The Danish government now supports the development of organic farming at virtually every critical link. The work is long from finished but we now have
A major challenge for the conference participants here from Europe will be the building of similar support from the European community. We must have a European agricultural policy--with conversion subsidies, green taxes, research and control --which promotes conversion to organic farming.
Today, we have European agricultural subsidy program which penalize farmers who have a good crop rotation and thereby hinder conventional production and environmental clean up. This would give organic farmers all over the would a more free market
We must do more than work on common standards for organic production. We must go after European agricultural policy head on. We want to be more than a niche production.It says something about the times that, in order to be allowed to farm as I want to, I must have allies in many countries. I must understand and engage myself in the development of agricultural policy on a European and global level.
Just consider the production standards for organic farming. Fifteen years ago, we started a little association which hammered out a set of rules. then the Danish state development rules and later the European Community. Now we try to influence the new global rules, Codex Alimentarius. Our next task will probably be negotiations with the martians on galactic organic rules for cattle farming.: >
Common standards and agricultural policy are very important, and IFOAMs role is critical as rules and policies are set further and further afield. But we must remember that it is the local work which ignites many farmers interest in organic farming. The power of example is tremendous. But conversion also requires that we reach out to farmers, one-by-one.
We are here to talk about rules and research and marketing. But organic agriculture is also about what is in the hearts of every person who works the land. I want common rules with organic farmers in Argentina and Tanzania, but more important is what I already share with organic farmers throughout the world: the knowledge that I have borrowed the land from my children.
In agricultural debate, it is often said that organic farming cannot feed the world. We disagree. Organic farming cannot eliminate hunger overnight. But by emphasizing development of human resources, sustainable agricultural practices, and use of local resources, organic farming provides a better basis for development. This is certainly the case in countries where hunger is caused by social, political and environmental conditions. But organic farming is also - for the same reasons - promising for our depopulated rural areas in Scandinavia.
Organic agriculture is our answer to the question "How should food be produced ?" but it is also our answer to the question "Who decides how food will be produced ?". It is farmers and consumers who must decide. Organic farming frees us today from a number of powerful agribusiness interests -such as those which produce fertilizers and pesticides and which now would like to sell us genetically modified plants, animals, enzymes and Heaven knows what else.
There is wisdom in the saying "Think globally and act locally". But to promote organic farming, we are increasingly forced to act globally - on standards and policy - and think hard locally - about how to get nutrient cycles between towns and farms to function in a balanced and healthy way.
I have confidence that all of the dedicated people here will be working at one or more of these levels for many years to come. Our Associations goal here in Denmark is total conversion of Danish agriculture - that will certainly take several decades to accomplish. We are very happy and proud today to have the opportunity to learn from your experiences and knowledge.
With these words I will conclude my address.
Once again, a hearty welcome. And thank you for coming !
Ladies and gentlemen
As Danish Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries I am very proud to open IFOAM 96-conference and to welcome you all to Copenhagen, and especiallyto this particular place - Holmen.
For more than 300 years the headquarters of the Danish navy were located at Holmen. a few years ago however, military use of the area was given up.to day Holmen is occupied by a number of different institutions.
As an international organisation for organic farming IFOAM plays a very important role. perhaps IFOAM's most important achievement so far is the agreement on basic standards for organic agriculture. These standards constitute the binding guide-lines for all regulations concerning organic farming.
The European Union (EU) has implemented a regulation concerning organic crop production. I do hope that in the near future a similar regulation concerning animal production will be adopted.
Furthermore, the European Union has implemented an agricultural environmental program. This program opens the possibility for member states to support organic farming with co-financing from the European Union. Denmark has adopted such a measure. We are all aware of the problems associated with modern, intensive agriculture.
It is a priority for the Danish government to limit these problems, and to promote solutions which are ecologically sustainable. In this context, it is important to underline that agricultural production has to be economically as well as environmentally sustainable. The agricultural policy of the European Union and of the International agreement on world trade with agricultural products is market oriented. Agricultural policies must however take more and more account of nature and of animal ethics.
Denmark is a country with a highly developed agricultural sector. It produces three times as much food as we consume ourselves. The agricultural sector does, therefore, play an essential role for the Danish economy, although only 5% of the labor force work in the primary agricultural sector.
The structure of the Danish agricultural sector has changed over the years.The number of holdings has declined radically, and production has increased.
The result is a highly intensive production. Without rules and regulations on production-conditions, the surrounding seas, lakes and streams would be at risk. The dominant risk-factors are leaching of nitrate and too intensive use of pesticides.
In the organic agriculture there is no use of pesticides. this means that holdings following the organic rules are less harmful to the environment.
I am proud to be able to say that Denmark was the first country in the world to introduce a national legislation on organic agriculture. The legislation on organic agriculture. The legislation introduced financial support to organic farmers, production rules and rules on organic products. These rules were, of course, based on IFOAM guidelines.
I would however very much like to stress, that the success of organic farming in Denmark - and I believe it also goes for other countries - is not the result of initiatives from public authorities or the established farming organizations. The status of organic farming to day is the result of effort of many individual pioneers, who believe in ideas and concept of organic farming and have the courage to fight for it. I think it is proper to day to give special thanks to these persons.
Denmark has obtained good results in the production and distribution of organic food. proof of this is distribution being undertaken through national supermarket chains. The consumers' confidence in organic food is based on a well functioning system of state includes a control-label for organic products.
Especially since the autumn 1994 Danish consumers have shown an increasing interest for organic products.
I believe that the reason for this is a growing interest in quality. That is quality as a broader concept, where consumer demand is reflecting an increased interest for environmental considerations, animal ethics, high nutritional quality and greater health and nutritional value.
I believe that the agricultural sector should fully accept the new concept of "political consumers".people do care what kind of products they consume and under which conditions production has taken place and they are prepared - more and more so - to act accordingly.
I hope that you may all have a pleasant and useful organic summit in
Copenhagen and that the conference will constitute an important platform for
an increased interest and demand worldwide for organic production.