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Workshop Certification of agricultural products as a key driver of sector transformation

May 12, 2016 @ 8:00 am - 5:00 pm


The GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies (GIGA), the GIZ Forum Nachhaltiges Palmöl (FONAP), and the Poverty Reduction, Equity and Growth Network (PEGNet) cordially invite you to a half-day workshop entitled “The Certification of Agricultural Products as a Key Driver of Sector Transformation”.

There is increasing public demand for producers to report on the origin of raw materials and adhere to labour and environmental standards. In this context, certification schemes have gained in importance. By enhancing transparency, certification provides companies with an opportunity to be key drivers in shifting the agricultural sector towards more sustainable production modes that also foster rural development. Especially in developing countries, the certification of agricultural products has the potential to give small-scale farmers a competitive edge on the world market and to improve their livelihood.

In recent years, an active scientific and practical debate on the limits and opportunities of certification schemes has emerged. Exchange between practitioners and academics, however, remains limited. Moreover, the discourse is often crop-specific, even though the key issues are equally important across all cash-crop sectors. Important cross-cutting topics range from short-term aspects such as a living income and changes in smallholders’ welfare to long-term issues such as economic resilience and environmental sustainability. This workshop aims to bring together researchers and practitioners from different sectors to activate and advance knowledge transfer across these sectors.

Workshop Programme
The workshop will begin with a keynote speech by Prof. Johan Swinnen, PhD, who is a professor in the Department of Economics and the Centre for Institutions and Economic Performance at the University of Leuven (KUL), Belgium.

A round-table discussion with scientists and practitioners working in this field will follow. It will be moderated by Dr. Linda Kleemann (GFA Consulting Group and Kiel Institute for the World Economy).

In-depth discussion of the topics will take place in moderated group discussions. Each one will start with a short presentation by a researcher or practitioner. Confirmed speakers include Jenny Walther-Thoß, WWF; Dr. Iris Schöninger, Welthungerhilfe; Eric Servat, Rainforest Alliance; and Markus Fertig, PCU Deutschland GmbH. Please note that each participant can select one group on the registration form. The results of these discussions will be presented to the plenum and integrated into the workshop’s final statement.

The group discussions will cover the following topics:

  • Living income – Under what conditions can fair trade lead to the stabilisation of smallholders’ income and a reduction in their vulnerability?
  • Design of certification – What criteria have to be met by certification to provide a win-win situation for all stakeholders?
  • Poverty reduction and socio-economic development – Are certificates a driving force in reducing long-term poverty and increasing food security?
  • Environmental sustainability – How could certification maintain/increase environmental sustainability?

The workshop is open to researchers and practitioners interested in exchanging experiences and ideas regarding the implications of certification. It aims to transcend the borders between sectors and between theory and practice.

If you would like to participate, please send the registration form, including your preferred group discussion, by 22 April 2016 to:

Organising Committee

Workshop Costs
There is no participation fee for the workshop, but please note that travel and accommodation costs will not be covered. All participants are invited to attend a group dinner following the workshop.

Workshop Venue
GIGA Institute, Neuer Jungfernstieg 21, 20354 Hamburg, Germany.

GIGA, Institute of Asian Studies, Elisabeth Hettig, Phone: +49 (0)40 -428 25-780,


Arusha (hotel TBC)
Arusha, Tanzania, United Republic Of