Beacons of hope

Is agroecology of any use against climate change? Are there any practical examples that point the way towards an ecological and sustainable future? Biovision has sought and found – some answers.

 

Research for the agroecological future: Edward Karanja from the KALRO organisation in Kenya works with a field worker to collect soil samples.

Matthias Geck, Political Dialogue & Advocacy, Biovision 

The knowledge of food system transformation that we have built up over many years is increasingly in demand. Governments and international organisations are helping each other to set out programmes and measures to achieve the UN’s Agenda 2030 and combat the climate crisis. This can also be seen in Biovision’s countless successful partnerships with the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the Swiss Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL), the International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems (IPES-FOOD) and the Global Alliance for the Future of Food (GAFF) an alliance between leading foundations seeking a transformation of the food system in order to achieve greater sustainability.

Using agroecology to combat climate change

Two new studies undertaken by Biovision attracted great interest on the international stage in 2019. The first of these investigated funding flows in the field of agricultural research. Invitations to a presentation of the study in Zurich were accepted by important donors, researchers and political decision-makers from Africa, Europe and America. The study demonstrated that the majority of funding for research continued to go to the industrial agriculture sector. Biovision’s aim is to divert more funds into research for agroecology. The second study examined the question of how agroecology might strengthen the resilience of farming businesses in the face of climate change. On the basis of a metastudy and field studies in Kenya and Senegal, Biovision was able to confirm scientifically that agroecology improved the resilience of farming systems. Great interest was also shown in the presentation of this study at the United Nations Climate Change Conference, also known as COP25, in Madrid. Under the heading “Beacons of Hope”, Biovision published a report and a toolkit for the transformation of food systems. The report selected and presented 21 showcase projects that clearly demonstrated the feasibility of changing course.

A toolkit for the analysis of agroecological projects

The “Agroecology Info Pool” website, which we launched in 2018, has registered growing numbers of visitors. This information site combines existing knowledge withindicative samples of methods and projects in agroecology. It represents a promising tool for pushing forward the transformation towards a socially, ecologically and economically sustainable food system.

Financial donors and development organisations seeking to systematically integrate agroecological practices and concepts into their projects and portfolios need a reliable instrument to provide them with an accurate, comprehensive analysis. We have developed the ACT (Agroecology Criteria Tool) precisely for this purpose. ACT was used by Biovision itself to analyse 500 research projects; the results produced by the tool were so convincing that it is already being used by Belgian and French NGOs and a British research institution to analyse thousands of development projects.