. 2019 AGM - Mexico!
Our Mission: To address issues and concerns relevant to organic inspectors, to provide quality inspector training, and
to promote consistency and integrity in the organic certification process.


2019 IOIA AGM - Mexico!

Start brushing up on your Spanish!

In 2019, IOIA will celebrate the annual meeting and advanced training in the lovely destination city of Huatulco, Oaxaca, on the Pacific Coast of Mexico. Consistently, IOIA members vote for warmer locations when they weigh in with their preferences for our late-winter annual meetings.

The 2019 AGM and advanced training will be held at Isla Natura Beach Huatulco in Huatulco from February 27 - March 2.

About the venue
Dates and Events including field trip info
AGM info
Advanced training info
Costs and Fees
Other things you should know

If you are interested in attending, please contact us at ioia@rangeweb.net

Si está interesado en asistir, contáctenos en ioia@rangeweb.net

We hope you plan to join us for this extraordinary event!

Todo info en el español, haga clic aquí.

Airport to fly into is Huatulco (HUX), about 30 minutes’ drive by taxi to the meeting venue. Huatulco is about 5 hours' drive from Oaxaca City, which might be helpful if you plan an extended stay. The hotel has two private beaches and two pools (one with children and one without). Now is a good time to start planning your trip! Simultaneous translation services will be provided.

Timeline of dates and events including field trips

Advanced training with simultaneous translation is planned on February 27 - March 1, followed by the Annual Meeting on March 2.

Field trip -
Available every day except Sunday




Hagia Sofía, http://hagiasofia.mx/ (English and Spanish). Plan your own trip. Hagia Sofia is 50 min from Huatulco Bay. Price includes transportation from the hotel.
Hagia Sofia is an agro-ecological development with exotic flowers, fruit trees, butterflies, birds, river, and waterfall. The tour is approximately 4 hours. Pick up time is 8:30 am and the tour ends  3 pm.  They offer two packages:
1. Refreshing packages $800 Mx (about $40 US) per person includes : Transportation Round trip; guide tour; fruit water and fresh fruit.
2. Traditional Packages $900 Mx (about $45 US) per person includes : Transportation Round trip; guide tour; fruit water, fresh Fruit, Breakfast and Lunch, 100 % organic food.
Location: Mitla 402, local 7 Santa Cruz, Bahías de Huatulco, Oaxaca
Tel: (958) 587 08 71 ~ Cel: (958) 583 79 43 reservaciones@hagiasofia.mx
  There are also a wide variety of activities and tours available right on-site at the hotel, including kayak tours, cooking and dancing classes, and a ‘purple snail educational walk’ to learn about the snails that are used to dye fabric.

Advanced Inspector Training is available on February 28 and March 1 - register for one or both days. Day 1 covers the industry’s hottest topic— organic fraud— in its dynamic course: Anatomy of an Investigation. Speakers with organic fraud investigation experience will dive deep into the spectrum of organic fraud occurrences they have seen, including how fraud was identified during an organic audit or independent investigation. In particular, speakers will dissect the investigation steps that took place to break open 2017’s huge organic fraud imports story from eastern Europe. Attendees will learn how to approach a situation where fraud is suspected, and how to document findings in a way that they can hold up during an NOP appeal or in a court of law.

New industry practices related to organic fraud prevention will be discussed in depth, through the lens of the Organic Trade Association’s Organic Fraud Prevention Solutions program, which seeks to proliferate adoption of organic fraud prevention plans. The training concludes with all attendees and panelists working in conjunction to identify how to turn the old paradigm of organic inspection procedures on its head, and develop new approaches to uncover organic fraud during inspections.

Day 1 Speaker Bios

Day 2 will focus in the morning on a Mexican organic regulations with a GAP analysis of US NOP/Mexican regs, an overview of the Mexican regs, and a look at trade agreements with a focus on US border import/export issues. Speakers from the Mexican Departments of Agriculture and Rural Development have been invited. Esteban Macias Padilla, Commercializadora G.A.B, will speak in the afternoon on Intricacies of the Soil Plant relationship, especially in container growing and greenhouses, including pest management.

Day 2 Speaker Bio

Advanced Training
Feb 27 - March 1

Advanced Training Agenda (draft)

Agenda de entrenamiento avanzado (borrador)

Organic Apiculture Inspection Training -
February 27 (all day)

Apiculture (beekeeping). Classroom instruction in the morning and a field trip in the afternoon. Ernesto de la Rosa (Morelos, Mexico) and Garth Kahl (Oregon) will lead this training. Both are IOIA Inspector members with extensive apiculture experience. Speakers will include a local beekeeper. Please do not register for this training if you are allergic to bee stings. Fee for registration.
Field trip -
February 27


Organic Coffee Production and Processing, trip coordinated by Homero Blas Bustamante, IOIA Inspector Member, Homero Blas Bustamante, Presidente Sociedad Mexicana de Producción Orgánica; and Presidente IFOAM Organics International – Latinoamérica. More info about this trip. Fee for registration.
Field Trip - Apiculture
February 27

Apiculture (beekeeping). Ernesto de la Rosa (Morelos, Mexico) and Garth Kahl (Oregon) will coordinate this field trip. Both are IOIA Inspector members with extensive apiculture experience. Please do not register for this field trip if you are allergic to bee stings. Fee for registration.
Annual Meeting - March 2
Morning field trip
Informal tour to the downtown Huatulco market. No charge.
  Keynote Speaker - Luis R. Elizondo, Pro Organico,
Mexico's Organic Market, today and tomorrow
  Board Candidate Bios Sample Board Ballot
Field trip
March 3 (afternoon)

Parque Nacional (National Park) Huatulco to the west, a protected area since 1998. It contains 6,375 hectares of lowland jungle and 5,516 hectares of marine areas, encompassing 5 bays and the most important coral communities of the Mexican Pacific. Nominal fee to cover the cost of entrance fees and transportation. The registration page includes a survey of interest. This site offers more information:


Meeting Venue and Accommodations

Isla Natura Beach Huatulco www.islanaturabeachhuatulco.com
Website is English/Spanish. This is a 5 star hotel with simple, ecologically friendly decor.

IOIA’s room block is available until January 11. Please register early and indicate which nights you need lodging to ensure that you have a room. Rooms are not guaranteed after that date. Please do not book at the hotel outside this room block. IOIA’s fees for accommodations are all inclusive of meals and beverages (including alcohol). If you book outside the hotel or stay off-site, you will not be able to eat within the IOIA group.  A limited number of rooms have been booked for Feb. 25, Feb. 26, Mar. 4, and Mar. 5 for those who wish to extend their stay before or after the training. Transport to/from the airport is not included. Children are welcome!

·        Two private beaches, including bath towels, sun umbrellas
·        Two swimming pools (one allows children, one adults only)
·        Two bars (one on the beach)
·        Small refrigerator, beer, water, snacks (replenished daily)
·        40 in. screen TV
·        Alarm clock
·        iPod Charger
·        Digital safety box
·        Ironing board/iron
·        Wi-fi - free – reliable in meeting room and common areas, less so in lodging rooms
·        A/C
·        Live entertainment.
·        One child under 10 years is free.
·        Additional charge for children
·        Tourist information and massage are available for additional fee.

Cost for accomodations:
IOIA rates for February 25-March 3 are US $150/day for private room (king bed), all-inclusive - meals, snacks, and beverages.
US $75/day for shared room (2 double beds), all-inclusive - meals, snacks, and beverages.
Latin American inspector members - $125/day for private room or $50/day for shared (2 persons). Outside of the February 25 - March 3 dates, the actual cost is $180/day.


Registration Fee for the two days of the advanced training is $350/day
Not including accommodations, $25 per day discount
Feb 27 Field trips - $50 each, including transportation
$25 for annual meeting registration on March 2

Huatulco - specifically Santa Cruz de Huatulco – was recommended by the AGM Organizing Committee. Huatulco is located in the state of Oaxaca where the foothills of the Sierra Madre del Sur mountains meet the Pacific Ocean approximately 500 km south of Acapulco. Huatulco is an area of 9 bays with Santa Cruz being one of the smaller and somewhat less touristy.

The population is 50,000. Legends say the Toltecs and Quetzalcoatl came from this area.

Although it is considered a tourist destination, 80% of the tourism is domestic. Until resort development began in the 1980s, Huatulco was little known except as a coffee-growing area. In 1984, a government agency dedicated to the development of tourism in Mexico, acquired 21,000 hectares of land to develop a tourism center, similar to that in Cancún.  Huatulco has been designated as Mexico’s only "Green Globe Certificate Community", a sustainability award.  Huatulco was the first sustainable tourist community in the Americas and the third worldwide to receive this award. 

To entice members to attend, the committee considered factors such as traveler safety and proximity to field trips (tropical fruits, coffee, beekeeping) and supported a beach site over a city. The city of Oaxaca can be explored as a side trip (5 hours by car). Most participants will likely fly through Mexico City and then take car, bus, or a short flight to Huatulco (1 hour). There are also direct flights to Huatulco from major airports in the US and Canada. As a trade-off for slightly higher airfares to travel internationally, hotel costs will be quite affordable.  Members may want to extend their stay to visit the Parque Nacional (National Park) Huatulco to the west, a protected area since 1998. It contains 6,375 hectares of lowland jungle and 5,516 hectares of marine areas, encompassing 5 bays and the most important coral communities of the Mexican Pacific.

From Wikipedia: Sunshine can be expected about 330 days a year with the average temperature of 28 °C (82.4 °F). The dry season extends from December to May and the rainy season is from June to November.

IOIA typically meets in Latin America every 4 to 5 years and in Canada about every 3 or 4 years. This roughly corresponds to the make-up of IOIA’s inspector membership.

Other things you should know:

The currency exchange – about 20 pesos to the US dollar.

Time zone - UTC-06, Central Standard Time (US).

Start early if you don’t have a passport.

Electricity - Mexico is on a similar system as the US and Canada so no converters required. Read more about this here.

Current travel advisories information