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GIC Gross KopieOn September 13th, a group of 25 international postgraduate students participated in a half-day seminar at the headquarters of Naturland in Gräfelfing in the context of the course „Food chains in agriculture” at the University of Applied sciences Weihenstephan-Triesdorf. The event took place with a delegation composed of 10 women and 15 men from the countries of Benin, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Nigeria, Togo and Tunisia. Around half of the participants work at training institutions in their home countries, and the other half were present in the context of the Green Innovation Centers programme.

Two presentations were held about Naturland and the organic certification process and requirements especially for smallholder groups, with an emphasis on the Social Standards and the Naturland Fair certification. A third presentation talked about the development of local organic markets in the context of smallholder organic farming and farmers’ groups. In particular, the presentation stressed the importance of strengthening smallholder farmers’ groups, the relevance of performing a market analysis in regard to local marketing, and the relevance of certification and Participatory Guarantee Systems.

For Naturland, improved access to knowledge and innovations in organic agriculture holds great potential for improving food security and raising the productivity of smallholders’ farms in Africa in a sustainable manner: economically, ecologically and socially. With this objective in mind, the association works in a joint project with IFOAM Organics International, the international federation of organic agriculture movements, and FiBL, a research institute for organic agriculture, to support nine selected Green Innovation Centres for the Agriculture and Food Sector. The Green Innovation Centres are part of the especial „One world, No Hunger“ initiative and are being implemented by GIZ (German Agency for International Cooperation) on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development in a total of 14 countries.