Or­ganic Leu pushes in Rio

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS - AN­GELIQUE PAT­TER­SON

DOU­GLAS local An­dre Leu is cur­rently in Brazil rub­bing shoul­ders with world lead­ers and pro­vid­ing in­for­ma­tion on or­ganic agri­cul­ture at the Rio +20 Con­fer­ence.

The United Na­tions Con­fer­ence on Sus­tain­able De­vel­op­ment has named the Rio +20 to mark the 20th an­niver­sary on the UN con­fer­ence on en­vi­ron­ment and de­vel­op­ment in Rio de Janeiro and has brought together Heads of State and Govern­ment and rep­re­sen­ta­tives from around the world.

Mr Leu wears many hats, in Aus­tralia he is the chair­man of the or­ganic fed­er­a­tion of Aus­tralia and he is also the pres­i­dent of the in­ter­na­tional fed­er­a­tion of or­ganic agri­cul­ture move­ments (IFOAM), which he said has 870 mem­bers in 120 coun­tries.

“We are in Brazil on be­half of our mem­bers to ad­vo­cate on be­half of the mul­ti­func­tional ben­e­fits of or­ganic agri­cul­ture in terms of sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment,” he said.

“We have been get­ting a good re­cep­tion and speak­ing at dif­fer­ent events ev­ery day and del­e­ga­tions such as the Euro­pean Union, the United States and other coun­tries are be­ing very sup­port­ive of what we’re try­ing to do.

Mr Leu said one high­light ad­dress would be where the prime min­is­ter of Bhutan was speak­ing.

“That’s be­cause Bhutan, the whole coun­try is go­ing or­ganic, they are great cham­pi­ons of what we’re do­ing,” he said.

Mr Leu ex­plained sci­en­tific re­search has re­vealed that small- hold­ings farm­ers with low yield, if taught good or­ganic prac­tices in­clud­ing bet­ter pest, dis­ease and soil man­age­ment will get on av­er­age 100 per cent in­crease in yield an­nu­ally.

“What we’re do­ing is show­ing the good sci­ence be­hind it and giv­ing prac­ti­cal ex­am­ples of where it’s hap­pen­ing and how it’s be­ing up­scaled and we need this mes­sage to be heard by del­e­gates and lead­ers,” he said.

Mr Leu said Aus­tralian Prime Min­is­ter Ju­lia Gil­lard also needed to hear the mes­sage and take note.

“I find what is hap­pen­ing in Aus­tralia very dis­ap­point­ing com­pared to what I see in the rest of the world in­clud­ing here in Brazil, Tues­day was Agri­cul­ture and ru­ral de­vel­op­ment day,” he said.

“In Aus­tralia we have no pro­grams or few pro­grams that sup­port or­ganic agri­cul­ture, fed­er­ally noth­ing has hap­pened and the CSIRO doesn’t have any or­ganic projects.

“There’s a lot to be done here but my pri­or­ity re­ally has to be in­ter­na­tional, and we have got a much bet­ter chance in­ter­na­tion­ally than we do in Aus­tralia.”

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