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Ravi Prasad: „We do have challenges but we can overcome challenges together“

It was a pleasure meeting Ravi R. Prasad at Biofach 2024 and learning about his expertise and his motivation to be IFOAM´s Executive Director. He emphasized: „I'm very pleased to be part of this family it's very exciting as everybody is so committed and everybody is for Organics.“ His tasks will range from expanding the member base to implementing IFOAM´s global strategy Organic 3.0. However, he is ready to take on the challenges because he is convinced of the huge potential for organic and he is looking forward to the Organic World Congress in Taiwan end of the year.


Watch the video and find out more about Ravi´s mission, priorities, challenges and IFOAM´s strategy 3.0.


BiO Reporter: What was your motivation to accept the role of executive director?


Ravi Prasad: Thank you, I was expecting this question because my career as you see has been with journalism and then with international agencies and organisations. But what many people don't know is that I grew up on a rural development project where my mother was

the executive director. So I worked with her organising young people in a small village in North India in Uttar Pradesh. That is perhaps the driving force behind me trying to work

with farmers, trying to work with young people and trying to make a difference with whatever I have learned so far. Also, I had a stint with the International Center for Agriculture Research in the dry areas in Aleppo which gave me the opportunity to

understand farmers and how the extension work happens. I worked with scientists, too. When I saw that IFOAM needs an executive director I thought I should apply. IFOAM is a great organization, I got to know about them in 2009 when I was working for FLO Cert the certification arm of Fair Trade.


I'm very pleased to be part of this family, it's very exciting, and everybody is so committed – our board members are excellent our members are excellent and everybody is for Organics.  This morning I was having a meeting with a group of people from the global South

and they were saying, well, before nothing existed IFOAM was there. They brought us together so it's a great organisation and I hope I'll be able to do some justice with the tasks that are being given to do.


There are multiple challenges your task will range from strengthening the member base implementing the new IFOAM strategy and introducing solutions against climate and food crises. So more than enough issues! What are your priorities?


In consultation with our board members the World Board, we’ve identified three

priorities at the moment. We have a 10-year strategy to implement. The strategy has three objectives and nine specific objectives. So we are looking at how to implement it because

implementation is key we need to have a road map. The second priority is to work with the team at the head office so that we are back on track and we can attract members

because members are key to any organisation that is membership-based organisations. Third, we need to reach out to people who are farther from us. That's a large number of

farmers in Africa that are still not part of our network. We have Southern Africa Network but we still need to build our relationship with farmers and bring them into the fold in the rest of Africa which is huge 54 countries with millions and millions of farmers. Similarly in Latin America, we need to expand. I'm very glad to say that Europe has a very good network excellent work is being done by our regional body, especially in influencing policies.

Policies made by the European Union have ramifications around the world so it's

great that our IFOAM Europe is very much engaged at the European level. They're also working with us in building the capacity of farmers – but as you said the most important part of our work is to expand the membership base strengthen them and bring them together.  The greatest opportunity we are going to get at the end of this year is the Organic World Congress.


So this will be your big event to network and get members on board?


That's true. And also Biofach – as you all know IFOAM is the international patron of Biofach –  we collaborate and we have been part of Biofach for a long time. We love it, and we want it to expand so that we can reach out to the world and show our members and those who are not members the potential of Organics. There's so much potential to grow! We do have

challenges but we can overcome challenges together!


IFOAM Organics International World Board. Source: https://www.ifoam.bio/about-us/our-world-board


Let's come to this IFOAM strategy called Organic 3.0 which recently was approved by the World Board. Please tell us some of the most important points of this global strategy.


It’s divided into three objectives and the objectives are very clear. The first objective focuses on how bringing back the glory of IFOAM, establishing enriching and strengthening the network. The second part is all about implementation and providing tools and capacity building for farmers and influencing policies. The third part is taking this further and the implementation of Organic 3.0 in particular. That is important because the world is changing very fast. What was done five years ago doesn't remain the same today and the changing political landscape is also a big challenge for the movement and also for policymaking.

So this is where we want to go. We want to make this happen, we want to make sure that our strategy addresses the challenges that we have. But that doesn’t mean the strategy thing a strategy is set in store. We will realign the strategy if the situation changes. All the

strategies that are devised by civil society organisations and even international organisations are quite malleable to respond to the needs, so we will reassess it but not now – maybe in 5 years to 10 years we'll see what happens but we'll start with a phased implementation of the strategy and soon we will be announcing what the phases

are. We are in consultation and we are working on the implementation plan. Before we came here we announced the strategy so we will get a lot of feedback from members. 

We work in such a huge range of countries and regions and it's not one-size-fits-all so we have to take everything on board for the implementation – you know, what can be used in Europe may not be applicable to Latin America or Africa so we have to contextualize it with the help of our members.


Now I would just like to reemphasize that the Organic World Congress would be an opportunity for not just the members but all those who are interested in organics, who are part of this global organic movement to be there to network to meet people and it will be the biggest opportunity for knowledge exchange: we will have a scientific stream we will have,

pre-conferences so that's an opportunity where you can meet and understand what's

happening the state of the art technology, the state of the art situation the business promises. They are all available. So I look forward to meeting most audience.


Thank you very much for the interview. BiO Reporter International wishes you very good luck and I hope we will meet again at Biofach or even in Taiwan at the Organic World Congress.






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