The theme of the upcoming BIOFACH Congress (14 to 17 February 2023) is ‘Organic. Food sovereignty. Real prices’. After the one-off summer edition of BIOFACH and VIVANESS in July 2022, in February 2023 the international community of organic food, natural and organic cosmetics will once again meet in person to kick off the year at the Nuremberg Exhibition Centre. The BIOFACH Congress will focus on two key questions: How do organic products contribute to food security and sovereignty, and how do ‘true prices’ – prices that include all ecological costs – pave the way for the necessary transformation of the food and agri-food industry ?
Tina Andres, President of BÖLW: “In order to further expand the contribution of organic products to sustainability, and thereby succeed in the transformation of the food industry as a whole, the market failure in the use of organic products must finally come to an end. ecological resources. Only “true prices” will allow business to be conducted within the limits our planet can support, leading to the success of a food and agriculture industry truly fit to serve our grandchildren. International Organizations and Governments must make the most of the potential of organic farming.”
She adds: “Current food pricing turns the ‘polluter pays’ principle on its head, making environmentally harmful products appear ‘cheaper’ than they really are. So organic foods that present a fairer cost price are in the disadvantage. Which means you can still make a profit doing business conventionally – even if it undermines the very foundations of life for generations to come. The major market failure in food must be remedied with new systems of calculation, taxation and support. We want to discuss how this can be achieved at the congress.”
Marco Schlüter, Executive Director of IFOAM Organics International: “Organic practices have clearly demonstrated their ability to provide solutions and ensure a safe, sovereign food supply, as this sustainable way of doing business strengthens farmers’ autonomy and generates added value on a regional basis. The contributions of the organic system to strengthening a secure, sovereign food supply in every region of the world will also be discussed at the 2023 BIOFACH Congress in light of current crises.”
Sovereign and secure
The rising prices of energy and food, according to the organizers of the BIOFACH congress, show how fatal it is to depend on fossil fuel-based fertilizers. “Meat production in the northern hemisphere is not aligned with the available grazing space and also contributes to the increase in hunger in the south. That is why we need to start raising livestock based on the available space. Planting coffee or cocoa in agroforestry systems shows how much potential biological techniques offer to actively protect the climate.In addition, supply chains that are too long, and thus particularly vulnerable to disruption in times of crisis, prove the importance of stable, regional value chains.”
Real prices can remedy market failures and facilitate transformation
Ninety billion euros – that’s how much damage agriculture in Germany causes to the public interest, according to the organizers, which is not reflected in the food price. This is according to a study by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and the final report of the Commission for the Future of Agriculture (ZKL) of the German Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL). “The costs are many times the added value of the industry. The organic food industry can largely avoid this damage because it conducts business in a way that protects resources.”
The disruptions from the COVID-19 crisis, the consequences of the war in Ukraine, the energy crisis, the consequences of the climate crisis and the extinction of species – all of these are increasing social and economic tensions around the world. “But organic products make the food supply safer, thanks to their closed-loop economy, lower dependency on external inputs and strong regional value chains. By operating in a resource-conserving way, organic practices enhance biodiversity, increase soil fertility and protect the climate, resulting in resilient crop systems and food sovereignty.”
The main theme of the BIOFACH Congress is jointly organized each year by IFOAM Organics International, BÖLW and BIOFACH.
For more information: www.biofach.de