As the U.S. member body to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) encourages relevant stakeholders to participate in an international workshop in Delft, the Netherlands, on November 7 and 8, to develop an International Workshop Agreement (IWA) for professional farmer organizations. Interested parties are also encouraged to submit comments prior to the meeting for consideration by workshop participants.
ISO recently approved the request for the workshop, submitted by NEN (Dutch Standardization Institute), which seeks input to develop a formalized definition of farmer organizations. As noted in the IWA document, high rates of population growth, decreased income, and inconsistent access to financing are challenging many farm businesses worldwide. These issues are compounded by "the current fragmented approach to building farmers' business management capacity, and a disconnect with market opportunities, buyers, banks, and input providers."
As a solution, a consensus-based definition of professional farmer organizations will provide market actors, capacity builders, investors, donors, commodity certification schemes, and regulators with a common language and understanding around required capacities of farmer organizations and their needs. The definition is meant to determine whether farmer organizations are ready for business engagement.
NEN has agreed to facilitate the standards development process as a neutral partner, and the development of an IWA will include direct participation of stakeholders outside the traditional ISO country representation system.
See the official invitation document. Interested stakeholders can also provide written comments without attending the meeting in Delft. To participate in the development of the IWA, register no later than July 6 or also register for the online meeting. See NEN's website for more information, or send an e-mail to [email protected] for registration details.