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Managers and partners involved in a project entitled “Green Innovation Centres for the Agricultural and Food Sectors” from various African countries and from India paid a visit to Naturland on 12th May. This visit was part of a conference on organic agriculture organised by the GIZ (German agency for International Cooperation). Interesting options for possible future co-operation became evident.

The objective of the tour was to inform market players, representatives of the organic industry and researchers in Germany, among others, about the Green Innovation Centres project, and to help them to network. Naturland was a guest at the conference and arranged for the participants to pay a visit to its head offices.

In Gräfelfing, the location of Naturland’s head offices, the various departments of the association, such as those responsible for international operations, aquaculture and certification, and Naturland Zeichen GmbH, the licensing company, presented their work. The participants showed keen interest in the presentations and in the course of the afternoon held numerous interesting conversations, in particular on to what extent African farmers could gain access to foreign markets for their countries’ produce via Naturland, for example for peanuts from Malawi, honey from Ethiopia and cocoa from Cameroon. In the area of further training, too, options for concrete co-operation became evident. In this case the guests were particularly interested in Naturland’s expertise in the development of internal control systems and in its advisory services in the field of the conversion of tropical crops from conventional to organic production. Following the talks at Naturland, the guests enjoyed a guided tour round a wholefood market in the immediate vicinity. The participants were impressed by the great range of produce offered and the prominent market presence of the Naturland label.

Background: although never before has so much food been produced worldwide, today more than 800 million people are still undernourished. The majority of those who do not have enough to eat are small-scale farmers. “Green Innovation Centres for the Agricultural and Food Sectors” is a project operated by the GIZ designed to raise the incomes of these smallholders and to improve employment rates and the availability of foodstuffs in specific rural areas by introducing innovations in the agricultural and food sectors. These centres co-operate with local ministries and with existing projects aimed at soil preservation and food security which are part of a special initiative entitled “One World, No Hunger”. Besides this they encourage the building and spread of knowledge by offering advisory services, training and further education courses and facilitating access to loans needed to realise innovations.