Every year, Biofach India comes around and though some of the PGS Council members are there, visiting or holding fort at the IFOAM booth, this year was special as the PGS Organic Council got an opportunity to participate in the Biofach itself.
Getting everybody organized to come to the fair required a fair bit of logistical coordination as each one of the organizations and their products being displayed were varied. The organizations who put up their products were Umang, Timbaktu Collective, Deccan Development Society, Institute for Integrated Rural Development and Last Forest Enterprises. Green Foundation, one of the other members was holding fort at its own booth.
The response to the booth space was phenomenal – people streamed in all the time and there was an estimated average of 300-400 people, everyday who stopped and enquired – there was interest from 3rd party certifiers and consumers wondering how this peer review system by farmers themselves, made sense. As part of the package, we had taken along the new issue of the newsletter – in its 5th year, a new brochure and huge standees which attracted attention with their equal attention to farmers, markets and consumers. These standees were put up in a public area with the newsletter and brochure being available to all.
Even more interesting at the Biofach India was a whole session that was dedicated to alternative certification mechanisms – this session was chaired by Dr. AK Yadav, former Director of National Center for Organic Farming, India and presentations by Ashish Gupta from PGSOC/OFAI, Jennifer Chang on the Hansalim Coop in Korea and Dr. Zhou Zejiang on the efforts in China.