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India: Organic Beauty Brand Expands Distribution


The Philippines: Government Encourages Organic to Thwart GMOs


India: First Sustainable Fishery in Kerala




India: Organic Beauty Brand Expands Distribution

The organic beauty brand Organic Harvest has rolled out its products in retail outlets in Chennai and Coimbatore, in Tamil Nadu. By January 2015, the brand plans to have its products in 20 retail outlets in Chennai, 11 in Coimbatore and 3 in Madurai.

Organic Harvest products are already in 1,500 stores across Delhi-NCR, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, as well as parts of Maharashtra, Bangalore and Hyderabad.

Organic Harvest CEO Rahul Agarwal was quoted by The Times of India as saying: "For today's consumer, beauty is no longer restricted to luxury; it has become a necessity in their lifestyle."

"Health conscious folks are running away from chemicals nowadays and their increasing concerns regarding personal health urges them to buy only those products that contain 100% natural ingredients. This has been one of the major factors behind our success."

Organic Harvest has a line of over 40 hair care, skincare and related beauty products, as well as 16 essential oils. It operates three concept stores in Delhi, and has plans to open six more stores in malls and high street markets in 2015.

OM Comment
Natural & organic beauty products are gaining popularity across the globe. As consumers become more aware of personal care formulations and potentially harmful ingredients, many are turning to natural and organic products. Organic Monitor research shows the Asian market for such products is one of the fastest growing in the world.

Related Report: #5001-60 The Asian Market for Natural & Organic Cosmetics

Source: Progressive Media



The Philippines: Government Encourages Organic to Thwart GMOs

Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary Proceso Alcala has urged organic farmers to increase production of organic products to counter genetically engineered crops, admitting that government cannot force others to stop promoting Genetically Modified Organism (GMOs) production.

This developed as some organic farmers from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao participating in the 11th National Organic Agriculture Congress (NOAC), staged a silent protest inside the SMX Convention Center while Alcala was delivering his speech at the opening of the Confab with some or less 2,000 delegates.

"To ban is easy to say but difficult to do. I have been with them in organic farming but I say there is a need to identify which area to declare. Talk about the program with the mayor and let the mayor to decide individually,' Alcala told reporters in an interview.

Alcala said it is better for organic farmers and practitioners to increase production and strengthen organic farming practice to counter genetically engineered technique or commercial farming.

'Live and let live,' he said. He also debunked claims of GMOs contaminating organic farms, saying, 'It is all in the mind.'

This was also the position of Senator Cynthia Villar, the chairperson of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food, saying, 'We have to promote organic farming. You cannot stop that you have to counter in order that it will not thrive.'

'We should do in a better way and not through force to stop it [GMO]),' Villar pointed out. Villar was the keynote speaker during the NOAC held here.

Villar stressed that farmers could produce more in organic farming and earn more because organic farm inputs can be found only in the backyard. She said it is even environmentally-friendly. Alcala said organic farming is growing in the country although it is not enough to ensure food security at this time. However, Alcala said DA targets 10 percent of the total agricultural farms in the country to be organic by the end of President Aquino's term in 2016.

As of the moment, DA reported that 87,129 hectares of agricultural land have been devoted to organic agriculture. The area is at least five times more than the initial recorded coverage of 14,140 hectares before the implementation of the program. In Region 11 alone, DA noted that organic farming is fast becoming a popular practice among farmers and agricultural practice in Davao and neighboring provinces.

DA reported that there are around 13,200 organic farmers and more than 8,800 certified organic farms or establishments nationwide.

Meanwhile, during the opening of the three-day organic farming convention, stakeholders and farmers called on the government to protect the country's diverse rice varieties threatened by GMOs, particularly GM 'Golden' Rice, which is reportedly set to be approved for commercialization following field testing.

Efren Dayot, a 63-year-old farmer from Calinan, this city, was among the protesting farmers. Dayot said he has been practicing organic farming since the city government banned GMOs. He said he is opposing the golden rice because it is bad for the health.

During the Confab, the farmers and other stakeholders signed a petition, which was submitted to Alcala, calling for protection of the country's rice.

The growing debate about GMO labelling in food industry will be featured in the upcoming Sustainable Foods Summit. Food traceability is a focal theme of the North American edition, hosted in San Francisco on 21-22 January 2015. More details are on the website

Related Article:

Eco-Labels Benefiting as GM Labelling Fight Set to Continue

Source: Philippines News Agency



India: First Sustainable Fishery in Kerala

Sustainable fisheries in the developing world have taken a significant step forward with the certification of India's first clam fishery in Kerala, southern India. The Ashtamudi short neck clam fishery is only the third fishery in Asia to have received this recognition.

"WWF-India initiated the MSC Certification of the Ashtamudi short-neck clam fishery in 2010 recognising the possibility of bringing in global sustainability standards for the benefit of conservation and local livelihoods. We are very pleased to see the culmination of these efforts with the recognition of India's first MSC certified fishery" said Ravi Singh, Secretary General & CEO, WWF-India.

The clam fishery in Ashtamudi dates back to 1981 and supports the livelihoods of around 3000 fishers involved in collection, cleaning, processing and trading the clams. Ashtamudi Lake is a Ramsar wetland of international importance and has extensive mangrove habitats harboring nearly 90 species of fish and 10 species of clams.

The growth of Ashtamudi's commercial fishery was driven by demand in Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia in the 1980s and 1990s. By 1991, the catch peaked at 10,000 tonnes a year, but declined 50% in 1993 due to over-fishing.

A closed season and mesh size restrictions for nets were introduced, along with a minimum export size and a prohibition on mechanical clam fishing. These measures showed immediate effects, and the clam fishery has sustained landings of around 10,000 tonnes a year for the past decade.

"We are extremely pleased to see this small-scale fishery become the first in India to be certified to the MSC's global standard for sustainable fishing. It will be an important addition to the growing number of developing world fisheries that are demonstrating their sustainability through the MSC's certification program," said David Agnew, MSC Standards Director.

MSC certification will mean the implementation of measures to ensure that this valuable resource is not overfished and its ecosystem is protected. It also opens up the scope for other fisheries in India to work towards MSC certification that will enhance conservation and sustainability of the resource while providing greater economic returns.

The MSC certification was a joint effort by WWF, the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) and the Kerala State Fisheries Department and the local fishing community. The certification demonstrates the power of collaboration between partners and the importance of grass-roots activism of fishers to protect the environment and their livelihoods.

OM Comment
The opening of this sustainable fishery is applauded. The MSC and related sustainable food schemes are gaining popularity, however few have made significant inroads in developing countries. This
Ashtamudi project shows how a collaborative approach is necessary to overcome implementation hurdles in India and other developing countries.

The future direction of eco-labels in the food industry are featured in the Sustainable Foods Summit. The North American edition will take place in San Francisco on 21-22nd January 2015, the European edition in Amsterdam on 4-5 June, whilst the Latin American edition will be in São Paulo on 25-26th June 2015. More information is available from the website


Source: News Release / OM














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