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Naturland

Philippine Delegation visiting Naturland head office - focus on organic agriculture and social standards

Philippine Delegation visiting the Naturland head office in GräfelfingPhilippine Delegation visiting the Naturland head office in GräfelfingOn June 28th 2017, a delegation from the Philippines visited the Naturland head offices in Gräfelfing, Germany, during a one week study tour on the organic food value chain. The delegation, organized by AFOS (Foundation for entrepreneurial development cooperation), was made up of politicians and producers that want to promote organic agriculture in their regions.

They met with representatives of LVÖ (National association for organic agriculture) and Naturland to learn about organic agriculture in Germany, the Naturland international experience and to discuss challenges and solutions for the promotion of organic agriculture and its commercialization.

The meeting started with an introduction of LVÖ about their work and responsibilities. As the umbrella association for organic agricultural associations in Bavaria, the LVÖ is among others involved in political lobbying, public relations and research about organic agriculture. The delegation expressed their concerns about strategies to communicate the benefits of organic products to consumers, especially in the context of high poverty and malnutrition rates as well as a lack of experience in organic farming in their country. A lively discussion started when the delegates learned that LVÖ recently elected an organic queen that advocates organic agriculture. Since it is already common in the Philippines to have regional beauty queens but not yet related to products, this seemed to be a promising marketing strategy they might applicable in their country.

During the second part of the day the focus was on expertise and experience of Naturland as a labelling association. Naturland introduced its structure and international work focusing on social standards. Furthermore, current engagement in the Philippines was presented. The delegates expressed great interest in these projects and the benefits that certification to the Naturland standards generates for its members abroad. All participants also expressed their intention to build up future cooperation on possibilities to improve education and vocational training about organic agriculture in the Philippines.

The study tour was arranged by AFOS under the frame of the “OURFood” program in the Philippines, coordinated by Dietmar Speckmaier. AFOS aims to improve the competitiveness and product quality of smallholder farms and processors by offering vocational trainings and certification for Good Agricultural Practices (GAP). Further steps of the study tour included visits to organic certified farms as well as various organic stores, and discussions with the Bavarian Farmers Federation and Fair Handelshaus, the regional center for Fair traded products in Bavaria.