Organic Leu pushes in Rio
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.”