Today we celebrate the 7th anniversary of the founding of IFOAM Asia and it is with deep emotions as I remember the inauguration on that auspicious summer day in South Korea.
Exactly one year before the inauguration, the leaders of the organic movements from 14 countries in Asia met together to decide on the formation of a regional organic alliance. After 3 days of discussions, consensus was reached on the formation of the regional alliance under the umbrella of IFOAM-Organics International. And since then, IFOAM Asia has grown steadily to represent the voice of the organic sector in Asia under the sacrifice and guidance of some of the finest and most dedicated leaders and staff persons.
For the past seven years, IFOAM Asia has endeavored to represent the various stakeholders in Asia and broadened its activities to consolidate the formation of the Asian Local Governments for Organic Agriculture (ALGOA), the Asian Organic Youth Forum, and the Asian Organic Innovation Committee. A group to promote the women in organic agriculture is being planned as well as a farmers’ group – it goes without saying that our farmers are the backbone of our organic movement.
I see great developments await ALGOA as it will be expanding its work with the setting up of the different Centers such as the ALGOA Center for Organic Leadership, ALGOA Center for Public Procurement, ALGOA Center for Good Governance & ALGOA Center for Market Access. ALGOA has also expanded globally and has taken on a more active role outside Asia with the construction of the “Global Alliance of Organic Districts” in cooperation with like-minded organizations in Europe and other continents.
The most satisfying work was perhaps the annual ALGOA Organic Foundation Courses (OFC) that started in 2016. The OFC has trained more than three hundred local government officials and IFOAM Asia members in the space of five years and the trainees have go on to use their knowledge and networks to impact the growth of organics in their respective areas of work.
Much to our surprise, with the great spontaneity of the youth, the first graduates of the OFC went on to form the “Asian Organic Youth Forum”. It proved extremely popular in the region and attracted funding from local governments which were more than willing to fund trainings and public events with the Youth Forum. And such success of the Asian Organic Youth Forum has led to discussions with other organic youths in Europe and this has consequently, resulted in the birth of a global organic youth platform.
I am very proud to declare another milestone on this day June 28th, 2020, on the 7th anniversary of IFOAM Asia, the opening of the website of the Young Organics Global Network (www.yoglobalnetwork.com), hereby, announcing to the world that our young and innovative leaders are grouping together to follow in the footsteps of our organic pioneers. The Young Organics Global Network will be officially launched in October 2020.
In 2022, IFOAM Asia will celebrate its 10th anniversary and within the next three years, I can foresee that IFOAM Asia will grow in numbers and status, with the local governments, young and innovative leaders, researchers, organic women and our beloved organic farmers being the basis and the soul of the organic movement in Asia.
“Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail”