The Organic Research Centres Alliance (ORCA) intends to internationally network and strengthen existing institutions with scientific credentials and empower them to become centers of excellence in transdisciplinary organic agriculture research. The objective is to ensure that environmental, economic, and social benefits accruing from organic research are shared worldwide. The ORCA concept is designed following a research paradigm that heavily draws on traditional knowledge, improves it with scientific investigation and shares it widely. Research centres may be physical laboratories or “institutions without walls,” formed through alliances between producers and scientists, as well as twinning between developing and developed countries’ institutions.
The ORCA concept has been developed jointly by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (Italy), Tufts University (USA), and the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (Switzerland) in 2008. Subsequently, scientists and individuals in civil society and private industry all over the world have engaged in advancing the ORCA concept and creating a critical mass of institutions aiming to take forward organic agriculture research and development.
While donor funding is still awaited to empower emerging ORCA networks to create consortia and undertake collaborative on-farm research, ORCA partners hereby seek to share information related to organic research on this website. Therefore, this ORCA portal offers information on organic research topics and related resources.
The proposed Organic Research Centres Alliance ORCA intends to internationally network and strengthen existing institutions and empower them to become centers of excellence in transdisciplinary organic agriculture research. The eleven ORCA Centres will cover 22 topics related to organic agriculture.