The winners of Silver Awards 2018 are Brazil, Denmark, and Quito (Ecuador). Each of the winning policies provides an innovative and holistic solution to a societal issue.
Brazil: National Policy for Agroecology and Organic Production PNAPO (2012)
PNAPO is a national framework policy for the promotion of agroecology and organic production. PNAPO recognizes that agroecology encompasses different dimensions and that therefore we need a system which connects production, consumption, sustainable use of natural resources, economy and social justice.
Engaging the public
The policy was developed through intense civil society discussion and engagement, which increased trust between and within government bodies, farmers and consumers; public-private partnerships around agroecology were formed.
One of PNAPO’s main instruments is the National Plan for Agroecology and Organic Production (PLANAPO). The plan’s first cycle of activities (2013 – 2015) promoted credit and insurance for the development of agroecological food production systems (PRONAF Agroecologia), the establishment of research networks and farmers associations and the creation of local markets for agroecological products, mainly through public procurement programs.
Healthy meals from family farmers
The policy approach linking food production, nutrition, health, and education through the National School Feeding Programme is particularly impressive. In Brazil, students in public schools have the constitutional right to a school meal. The food should be bought by family farmers, supporting them in the process.
This means that family farmers must overcome challenges to their supply capacity, technical procedures, and delivery processes. PLANAPO assisted 5,300 municipalities to spend 30% or more of their school meal budget on purchases of organic and agroecological products from family farmers. This brought healthy meals on students’ plates, helped family farmers to extend their production and services, and supported 556 women’s networks, benefitting 5,566 rural women.
In 2016, the second cycle of the Plan (PLANAPO 2016-2019) was launched, with roughly 194 concrete initiatives. With it, Brazil commits to advance the agroecological agenda in the country, further mainstreaming agroecology into public policies and substantially investing in it. By following its commitment, Brazil, already an inspiring pioneer in beating hunger can extend its global leadership role to upscaling agroecology.
Denmark: Organic Action Plan “Working together for more organics” (2011-2020, updated in 2015)
The Danish Organic Action Plan has a strong focus on demand creation, research, and product innovation. It has produced a clear positive result: today Denmark has the world’s highest organic market share – nearly 10% of produce sold in the Scandinavian country is labelled organic. Denmark also has the second highest annual per capita spending on organic food. This helps motivate farmers to convert from conventional to organic food production.
Supporting production, fostering demand
The idea behind the plan is that by increasing the demand for organic products in Denmark and abroad, farmers are motivated to convert from conventional to organic food production. This has clearly worked. The OAP has easily met its original target of doubling the organic farmland compared to a 2007 baseline. In fact, in 2017 organically farmed land had already increased by 68%.
On the push side, farmers were offered substantial capacity building, as well as significant investments in research and innovation. The government also recognized that organic agriculture has higher production costs, so it maintained its support for land area payments, earmarking EUR 143 million for conversion and maintenance through the financial instruments of the European Common Agricultural Policy.
Furthermore, the Danish Ministry for Industry, Business, and Financial Affairs invested in mobile product development teams. These teams meet with farmers and small companies to create value-added products and marketing strategies. Over 5 years, more than 400 new organic products were developed.
Putting the consumers at the heart
On the pull side, consumer awareness campaigns were supported by measures to increase the demand for organic products in private and public kitchens such as schools and hospitals. Municipalities were encouraged to support the conversion process training kitchen workers and changing supply chains and menus.
The government estimates that more than 800,000 people benefit from healthy, organic meals served every day in public canteens. The city of Copenhagen, Denmark’s capital, developed one of the most ambitious public procurement programmes in Europe which met the goal of 90% organic food in 2015 – without an increase in meal prices.
Quito, Ecuador: Participatory Urban Agriculture Programme AGRUPAR (2002)
This programme explicitly recognizes the role of urban agriculture for wider social, ecological and economic development and works along the entire food chain. In inner-city barrios and settlements on hillsides, many people in Quito used small-scale agriculture to feed their families. Despite this, urban agriculture remained unrecognized.
Embracing urban agriculture
Quito’s AGRUPAR Programme was developed on the basis of a broad, largely women-led community consultation and launched in 2002. It explicitly recognizes the role of urban agriculture for wider social, ecological and economic development.
Today, AGRUPAR reaches 4,500 beneficiaries from highly vulnerable groups annually and covers 83 percent of the district. The programme has directly benefitted more than 70,000 people and indirectly helped a further 110,000 through increased quality of life, improved nutrition and health, and personal empowerment.
Supporting community gardens, supporting societies
AGRUPAR supports community gardens, family gardens and gardens in schools and other institutions through training programmes. It makes equipment and further inputs available, such as seeds, seedlings, poultry, guinea pigs or bees. Today, 4,500 participants produce more than 870,000 kilograms of food per year. Over 3,600 urban gardens grow on 32 hectares and more than 21,000 people, 84% of whom are women are trained in organic production.
The programme also supports market-oriented production. Once producers achieve household food security, AGRUPAR encourages them to form micro-enterprises and offers training in business planning, marketing and accounting. Producers who lack the necessary capital are supported through grassroots investment societies. Today, nearly every second participant generates revenue, earning on average USD 175 of additional income per month. The Programme has boosted the local economy by setting up more than 170 micro-enterprises which create more than 330 jobs with an average income of USD 3,100.
Increasing diet diversity through improved access to healthy food
The programme has also created 17 “Bioferias”, organic produce markets where producers who have followed the programme can sell their produce. Nearly 170,000 consumers attended these Bioferias – and made healthy choices, as surveys show that customers enjoyed increased dietary diversity.
The main impact of the programme has been to increase access to healthy local food for vulnerable groups. However, other positive effects include increases in income, personal empowerment and improved relations within the family and the community. Environmentally, the programme has helped to rehabilitate land, increase soil health, reduce air pollution and increase biodiversity.