Development is based on knowledge. Since its foundation in the year 1998, Biovision has been supporting initiatives that make traditional knowledge and current know-how available to a broader audience and ensure its application for sustainable development.
In Africa more than 80% of the total population is engaged in agriculture. To improve the livelihoods for the rural and marginalized people, efforts should thus focus on sustainably increasing agricultural yields.
Traditionally, farmer knowledge and experience are transmitted from parents to their children. In the ever-changing context in Africa today, this is not sufficient anymore to solve the most pressing problems. The scarcity of available fertile soils and the impact of climate change for example demand improved agricultural techniques and the necessary knowledge to apply them.
Knowledge is key to development
Modern, scientifically supported, ecological production methods are still not widely used in Africa. Biovision provides concrete examples of success with its grassroots projects. Farmers and high-level decision makers both should be sensitised so that successful, organic solutions can be passed on and disseminated further. In addition, Biovision supports knowledge dissemination independent of the media and the communication of practice-oriented information through various media channels.
Relevant and up-to-date information for African farmers
With up to 4.1 million small farmers in Kenya able to hear farmer radio plus the 282,000 Kenyan and 60,000 Tanzanian farmers who read the monthly TOF and MkM farmer magazines, the dissemination of information on ecological solutions has been an unrivalled success. In addition, the Infonet website has a global audience and numbers are increasing all the time. In 2015, there were a total of 700,000 visits of which 107,413 were from Africa.
Biovision approach: holistic and effective
Gaining control over complex problems requires consideration of the different steps towards an adapted solution in their entirety. This is the Biovision approach.
Since 1998, Biovision Foundation has been promoting the development, dissemination and application of sustainable ecological agricultural practices, enabling people in the developing world to help themselves. Our holistic approach plays a central factor: The health of people, animals, plants and the environment is the central aim in all our projects.
How this is implemented in concrete projects is demonstrated by the example of the Push-Pull method in this infographic. In addition, our approach to aid is elaborated by an interview with Andreas Sicks, head of Programmes & Partnerships at Biovision.
What concrete help does Biovision give to smallholders in sub-Saharan Africa?
Biovision helps smallholders and their families introduce integrated, agroecological solutions that achieve sustainable and permanent increases in yields without damaging the environment. To achieve this, we often work with research-based partners who develop and test the solutions and also provide scientific evidence of their efficacy.
What are the particular strengths of this approach to aid?
We believe that the inclusion of farmers at an early stage and the use of participatory research methods are crucial as this allows us to develop adapted solutions suitable for local conditions that can actually be used in practice.
What is the role of our partners?
We work closely with partners at various levels: firstly, research partners and NGOs implement the projects (e.g. BvAT). We also work with foundations and local and national governments as a way of achieving a breakthrough for agroecological methods.
Why was this approach adopted?
Previously, applied research into innovative, agroecological methods had been largely neglected and so Biovision is occupying an important niche. The introduction of successful approaches by farmers requires the use of targeted communication channels. In addition, the advocacy team promotes the new agroecological solutions at the political level.