Switzerland and International

Infonet-Biovision

Online information platform for ecological agriculture

www.infonet-biovision.org is an Internet-based information platform for the promotion and dissemination of information of local relevance on organic farming, human and animal health, sustainable technologies and income generation. The database is designed to provide farmer groups, relevant local NGOs, agricultural and health advisers and schools with practical and clearly structured data. The content of the knowledge platform is prepared in conjunction with scientists and local experts. The database is easy to use and practical and so meets the needs of the local population.

To maximise the number of distribution channels, an “offline” version of the platform (Infonet on CD and USB media) is produced each year and this can be used on computers without an Internet connection. In addition, the project constantly evaluates new technologies for the dissemination of information and if practical, they are integrated into the project.

Farmer Communication Programme (FCP)

Objectives

By 2018 to improve access to information and its correct use in sustainable agriculture and so bring about sustainable improvements in food security and the living conditions of some 2 million small-scale farmers in East Africa.

Many Internet cafés have sprung up and they facilitate access to information.

Relevance

In Africa, agriculture remains the main source of income for 80% of the rural population. Agricultural production and with it food security are threatened by a range of environmental factors combined with a lack of education and information. Plant pests alone account for as much as 80% of crop losses. In Africa, organic methods are a practical alternative for farmers allowing them to increase crop yields. However, farmers often lack easy access to information that clearly presented and understandable.

Beneficiaries

Rural populations, mainly in East Africa; advisers and outreach workers in health, agriculture and environmental issues, partner organisations with similar objectives and schools. However, the Infonet is also used in other areas of Africa and throughout the world.

Users quickly learn how to learn to find the information on the Infonet of relevance to them.
Infonet visits: Most visitors from Africa come from Kenya, followed by South Africa, Tanzania, Nigeria, Uganda and Ethiopia.

Activities 2016 – 2018

  • Revise the existing content on the health of humans, animals, plants and the environment (4H) on the basis of user feedback and evaluations 
  • Develop new content based on emerging national, regional and global issues and the interests of user groups
  • Promote partner networks for the active dissemination of the Infonet content through channels other than the existing ones 
  • Improve the financial sustainability of the project by sharing costs and exploiting synergies with other FCP projects as well as seeking additional funders

Achievements

700'000 visitors click on the Infonet website annually. Between January and December 2015, there were 107,413 visits to the Infonet site from Africa: They came from 56 countries, particularly Kenya with 66%, followed by South Africa (6.4%), Tanzania (5.4%), Nigeria (4.4%), Uganda (3.8%) and Ethiopia (2.6%).

Mobile access continues to increase: Globally, it is 39% and in Africa it is already at 40.7%. In Kenya, 75% of the population has a mobile phone. However, globally access from desktop computers at 55% is still the highest. The remaining 6% access it from tablets (as at December 2015).

The database and the Infonet online information platform already provide high-quality information on ecological issues of local relevance. To ensure that the database and the user interface of the website remain up-to-date, the data has been analysed and restructured. A local coordinating office has been set up for this purpose.

The Infonet is an integral part of the "Farmer Communication Programme" (FCP), which brings together the Biovision communication projects. As part of the website redesign, the interfaces between the Infonet project and other FCP projects have been redefined.