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Latin America and Caribbean: Fourth organic meeting successfully concluded

More than 300 participants made their way to El Salvador to the Fourth meeting of the organic sector in Latin America and the Caribbean, which took place from October 12 to 16, 2009.

Meeting poster

From left to right: León Bonilla of CLUSA and the International Committee with Salvador Garibay, Gregorio Varela, Gabriela Soto, María del Rocio Romero Lima, and Francisco Moyo.

  • Participants came from 16 countries, most of them from Central America, representing the organic movement, competent authorities and market players.

The event had been organised by CLUSA which promotes organic farming in El Salvador. Further players from El Salvador represented in the national committee were the national organic movement MAOES, CORDES, FUNDESYRAM, Ministerio de Agricultura y Ganadería and Universidad de El Salvador.

The event was financially supported by  the Swiss State Secretariats for Economic Affairs  SECO and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation DEZA, the Austrian Development Cooperation ADA, the Unidad Regional de Asistencia Técnica RUTA and others. 

The International Committee provided assistance to the local organisers, with Gabriela Soto, CATIE (Costa Rica), María del Rocio Romero Lima, Universidad Agraria de Chapingo UACH (Mexico), Gregorio Varela, Universidad Nacional Agraria UNA (Nicaragua), Francisco Moyo, Organic Producers Association of Bolivia AOPEB, and Salvador Garibay, Research Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBL (Switzerland).

This event was the fourth in this conference series. The next meeting will take place in Peru, in the autumn of 2010.

During the conference the 4th producers fair took place, displaying the large range of products from the region.

Data collection workshop

At the conference FiBL held a workshop at which the participants could exchange their experiences with data collection on organic farming. Helga Willer of FiBL who, together with IFOAM conducts the global organic survey annually, explained that in more and more countries governments collect the basic data (land, operators) on organic agriculture. In Central America, until three to four years ago, for many countries  these data had only been available from some certifiers or they were compiled in the framework of projects, and there was no continuity of data collection. This has now completely changed, and apart from El Salvador and Belize all countries have government collection systems.

In addition to the basic data, many Central American countries make efforts to provide also export data. These data are available for Costa Rica, Mexico and Nicaragua, In Honduras a system for export data is currently set up.


According to the data compiled by FIBL in cooperation with IFOAM more than 6 million hectares are under organic management in Latin America. There has been considerable growth in the past years. A lot of the products are for export. In Central America it is particularly coffee, that plays an important role.

In El Salvador coffee accounts for about half of the land under organic management, further important crops are cashew nuts, coconuts, and sesame seeds. Even though most of the organic products are exported, the local market is developing. Vegetables, flowers and coffee for instance are available on the local market.

More information



  • Workshop on data collection and processing on October 16, 2009, Salinatas, El Salvador. Presentation (625.4 KB) by Helga Willer, FiBL, Frick, Switzerland


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