Posted by: Mahdi Ebrahimi | February 18, 2008

“International conference on the organic sector development in Central/Eastern European and Central Asian countries” in Kyiv

It is a pleasure of Organic Federation of Ukraine to inform you about the upcoming ’International conference on the organic sector development in Central/Eastern European and Central Asian countries’.

The conference will take place on April 10 – 12, 2008 at the National Agricultural University of Ukraine in Kyiv.

Please follow the direct links below or visit to find detailed information on:
•         Programme and conference schedule
•         Call for contributions
•         Registration
•         Sponsor opportunities

The conference in short
The Conference aims at collecting and presenting ideas, activities, recommendations and practical examples on how to develop the organic sector in the target region. The conference languages will be English and Russian with simultaneous translation. Target groups are all stakeholders from the countries of Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia, like policy makers from regional and national government level, (organic) farmers, processors, traders, importers and exporters involved in international trade as well as organic certifiers, organic experts and other multipliers.

Speakers are invited to submit proposals to be included in the conference programme. For details, please follow the link ‘call for contributions’ and follow the instructions on how to send your proposal.

You are kindly invited to submit your proposals by 5th of March 2008.

Organizers are the Organic Federation of Ukraine, Organic Services GmbH and the National Agricultural University of Ukraine. The conference is supported by FAO, the Ministry of Agricultural Policy of Ukraine, BioFach, Oxfam Novib and the PPP project Ecoland Grains & Legumes / Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft mbH (DEG). With presence of IFOAM.

The organizers invite you to take part and use this platform to exchange ideas and meet old friends and new partners!

For more information please contact the conference secretariat:

Mr. Eugene V.  Milovanov
Tel / Fax: +380 (44) 234 00 54

Organic Federation of Ukraine
Hospitalna Str. 12, Office 412
Kyiv 01001, Ukraine




  1. Very good blog!
    By the way:
    “International conference on the organic sector development in Central/Eastern European and Central Asian countries”:
    Pay attention:
    Final programme is available at

  2. Thank you for your comment

    i will publish the result of this conference.

  3. 12.04.2008, Kyiv, Ukraine – From April 10 to 12, 2008, 228 participants from 25 countries came together for the ‘International Conference on the organic sector development in Central/Eastern European and Central Asian countries’ to discuss concepts, opportunities and strategies for developing organic food and farming systems for their countries which in their majority are at an early stage of development. With over 40 presentations from experts and leaders in the organic sector the conference addressed the importance of public and private cooperation, the need for organic action plans, the development of local and export markets as well as certification.

    Organised by the Organic Federation of Ukraine, Organic Services, Germany and the National Agricultural University in cooperation with the Ministry of Agricultural Policy of Ukraine the conference stressed the importance of systematic approaches to organic sector development. The conference was supported by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the European Union (EU), IFOAM and several other organisations and interested parties. With a growing consumer demand for organic products, organic farming offers alternative strategies and solutions for rural development, thus enhancing economic and social prosperity as well as ecological sustainability.

    The position of the Ukrainian Ministry of Agricultural Policy was presented in the opening speech by its representative Oleksandr Demydov. Several strong statements underlined the wish of Ukraine to further develop its organic sector: “We are aiming at 10% organic farming by 2015. We are ready to support organic market development and to introduce GMO (genetically modified organisms) free regions. Organic offers great opportunities for Ukraine.”

    Rainer Krell, FAO emphasised that organic farming has a place in the strategy and policies of FAO in fighting worldwide hunger. The benefits of the organic system are valuable for societies at large. In a 2007 FAO conference on organic farming its potential has been widely acknowledged. Isabelle Peutz, EU Commission, offered an insight into the European Organic Regulation and invited the Ukrainian as well as other governments to request the EU Commission for cooperation and support, as did Mr. Krell for FAO before.

    In his welcome address, Gerald A. Herrmann, IFOAM President, said: “We have been successful in establishing a common understanding of organic in the world, and we are far ahead of other sectors in this regard. This conference offers an important opportunity for the emerging organic countries targeted by the conference. About 20 years ago, pioneers among them IFOAM members made first steps on which we can build today.”

    Speakers from the region emphasised their activities and shared their valuable experiences. While single countries like Moldova already have a comparable well developed system other countries are lacking still far behind and will need strong dedication and investment in case they want to participate in the economical chances that the growing international organic market offers.

    Conference participants unanimously issued the Kyiv Declaration, which concludes that as rural communities are threatened by corporate monopolies and genetic engineering, regional development must be strengthened by all means. The declaration sounds support for public and private collaboration in developing national organic standards, certification and market development that shall focus equally on domestic, regional and export markets as well as on raising of consumer awareness. Financial support schemes shall target market development and not organic farming subsidies only.

    The professional and high level presentations will be made available in conference proceedings for information exchange and knowledge transfer among a wider audience. Selected presentations may very well serve as blueprint for public and private stakeholder activities for organic policy and market development.

    Conference participants appreciated the hospitality from the National University of Ukraine. Organisers were thanked for having compiled a high level programme and for offering this opportunity for information exchange at a crucial time in which many countries are still thinking about how to shape their organic agricultural system.

    The conference would not have been possible without the generous financial support of all its sponsors and cooperating partners.

    For further information see

    Press Release, Responsible: Eugene Milovanov (Organic Federation of Ukraine), Mildred Steidle (Organic Services).

    Organic Federation of Ukraine
    Hospitalna St. 12, Office 412
    Kyiv 01001, Ukraine
    Тел./Факс: +380 (44) 234 00 54

    Organic Services GmbH
    Landsbergerstr. 527
    81241 München
    Tel.: +49 (0) 89 820759 01

    © 2008 Organic Federation of Ukraine/Organic Services GmbH – All rights reserved

  4. Organic conference in Kyiv a great success
    Author: Kai Kreuzer

    228 participants from 25 countries attended the first international organic conference in the capital of Ukraine from 10 – 12 April 2008. The event in Kyiv (three million inhabitants), formerly Kiev, was intended to incentivise countries in the region to engage intensively with organic agriculture and marketing. Eugene Milovanov from the Organic Federation of Ukraine and his co-organiser Gerald Herrmann from Organic Services were very pleased that the conference was such a success.

    Picture: The organizers were very satisfied with the event

    The aim of the conference that hosted some high-level speakers was to present status quo reports from Ukraine and neighbouring countries, to learn from the experience of the EU and to build up a network of players. Examples of best practice were presented in the working groups with the aim of stimulating discussion and emulation.

    There are very diverse levels of development among the organic movements in the countries that made up the former Soviet Union. Whilst the dictatorial conditions prevailing in White Russia practically preclude the development of organic structures, in Georgia, a small country in the Caucasus, there are 400 members in the organic association Elkana. And whereas the 90 large-scale businesses in Ukraine are wholly export oriented, for Georgia the priority is establishing its own domestic market. All the participants at the conference agreed, however, that there was huge development potential in the various national markets and in exporting. Obstacles to trade arising from national legislation, language difficulties and the lack of organisational structures are the main problems faced by the emerging organic movement in Eastern Europe outside the EU.

    (picture on the left/Ulrich Hellberg: one-day excursion to a 8000 hectare farm with 460 employees, which works according to organic standards since 30 years: Semen Antonets explains to a group of farm visitors the soil. Large fields and trees as windbreaks)

    But there were no language barriers at the excellently organised Kyiv organic conference. Just under half of the 228 people taking part came from Ukraine, with a good quarter from the other former Soviet Republics and the rest from Western Europe (mainly Germany). Outstanding were Gerald Herrmann and Susanne Krause from Organic Services, as co-organisers with the Organic Federation of Ukraine. About 30 helpers associated with the Ukrainian organic association made sure everything in the coffee breaks and in the office ran without a hitch. With 42 lectures, briefing the presenters and speakers, and providing simultaneous interpreting from English into Russian and Russian into English was a masterpiece of organisation. Everything down to the last detail had been prepared, including a shuttle service from the hotels to the conference venue in the Agricultural University of Ukraine (picture).

    Right at the beginning of the conference, the political perspective was dealt with by representatives from the Ukrain Ministry of Agriculture, the EU, FAO, IFOAM and the Organic Federation of Ukraine. Oleksandr Demydov, from the Ukrainian Ministry of Agriculture in Kyiv, talked about the progress made in organic agriculture in Ukraine in recent years. He said that 260 000 ha (0.6 % of agricultural land) were being cultivated organically. In terms of organic area, Ukraine was 19th out of 200 countries. The aim was to raise the organic production of the complete agricultural harvest to not less than 10 % by 2015, which is an increase by a factor of almost 20. He explained that an action plan for organic agriculture and an organic law were being prepared. Since there was currently hardly any domestic organic marketing in Ukraine, he recommended creating specialist organic stores in his country.

    (Podium: Rainer Krell, Eugene Milovanov, Sergey Melnychuk, Isabelle Peutz, Gerald Herrmann, Oleksandr Demydov)

    Isabelle Peutz, representing the EU Commission’s Directorate General for Agriculture at the conference, saw great opportunities: “There are 490 million consumers in the EU on Ukraine’s doorstep.” This was important for animal feed and products like wine as well. From January 1. 2009 the new Organic Regulation allowed organic wines to be labelled as such. She pointed out that the organic market in the EU had developed best of all in countries where the government was itself aiming to promote organic development by, for example, initiating its own programmes.

    (picture on the right: the initiator of the conference Eugene Milovanov together with Viktor Ananias and an Victor Suprunov, member of an organic farm – carrying a bag that was created for the conference – in front of the university)

    Rainer Krell, who represented the FAO in Rome, expressed his conviction that organic involved more than just a method of cultivating the land. He stressed the point that a worldwide change in lifestyle was called for, and this move towards sustainable development had already been achieved in some countries. His message was that organic agriculture could deliver far more than just food without residues – it was able to make a big contribution to feeding the world and promoting health. As a member of FAO, Ukraine could in the same way as other countries put forward joint projects for consideration.

    IFOAM President, Gerald Herrmann (in the front of picture) reminded people of the time when the world was divided into two blocks. In the meantime, the pioneers from those days had moved a long way forward and now an organic network had been created covering the whole of Europe. Since there were no longer any barriers, anybody could now get involved and help to shape developments.

    Marco Schlüter from the IFOAM EU Group gave a clear explanation of how the representation of organic interests in Brussels functioned. “Although the industry lobby is much bigger and better, the NGOs operate very effectively and are well received by parliamentarians and the administration. It is important to be a part of the Brussels structure in order to play a part.” Mr Schlüter also went into the process leading up to the organic action plan, and into its main drawback, namely the shortage of finance.

    Hanspeter Schmidt (picture on the right), a lawyer well known for specialising in organic issues, dealt with the new EU Organic Regulation. He explained that it contained more or less the same as the existing version, but it was differently structured. He criticised the fact that only wine and aquaculture, but not textiles and cosmetics, had been included. His recommendation to the burgeoning organic movements in Eastern Europe: it was better if they worked out guidelines for themselves rather than leaving it to governments. Mr Schmidt regretted the ‘huge problems’ that the postponement of the EU organic logo was going to cause.

    Professor Ulrich Hamm (picture) from the University of Kassel – an expert in the statistics of organics – stated in his talk that the world was increasingly dividing into countries using and not using gene technology. However, more and more retail food chains were on the side of organics in order to give their customers maximum food safety. For him, only certified organic agriculture could guarantee protection of food from undesirable pesticide pollution or gene technology by controlling the whole production process from the farmer’s field to the consumer’s plate. (picture: Hamm criticised an adulterating press article)

    Professor Hamm warned against introducing high levels of subsidy per unit of land. In his opinion, the market with its high or low prices was the better regulator. Surplus production led to the collapse of prices and ultimately to a return to conventional farming, as could be seen in isolated cases in Germany, Denmark and Austria. Instead, the ‘polluter pays’ system ought to be introduced, whereby artificial fertilisers and pesticides were taxed and therefore made more expensive. Consequently, he recommended that the countries of Eastern Europe should devise their own organic legislation, in order that both producers and consumers enjoyed the protection of the law. He also advocated the introduction of a national organic logo so that consumers would be in a better position to support domestically produced organic products.

    The part of Professor Hamm’s talk dealing with the organic industry’s orientation towards the domestic market or exporting was particularly interesting. The advantages of catering for domestic consumers were greater independence and creating a variety of marketing structures. The disadvantages were the long time it took and the relatively low conversion rate over the years. Also, large scale production brought no cost advantages. Concentrating on exports – and there is currently strong demand worldwide – producers were very dependent on exchange rates and on individual large-scale customers. High levels of investment in the early phase were usually unavoidable.

    (picture: Gerold Rahmann, head of the research institute in Trenthorst, describes its activities)

    At the end of the conference, and to the applause of the audience, IFOAM President Gerald Herrmann read out the ‘Kyiv-Declaration’ that stated among other things: “Market development must focus on domestic as well as regional and export markets and should not favour one market sector alone. Financial support programmes should be targeted equally to supporting farmers, market development and raising consumer awareness.”

    (picture: Eugene Milovanov proudly presents the first official stamps of an organic conference)

    There will be another article concerning the countries which were presented at the conference.


    Organic Federation of Ukraine:

    The presentations of the speakers will be on this website beginning May 2008.

    FAO-Brochure concerning organic agriculture:

    Avalon Foundation:


    Send us your feedback:

  5. Kyiv Organic declaration:

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