New directions of travel

With a rucksack packed full of experience and knowledge, the Biovision team “Policy and Advocacy” is forging ahead with efforts to bring about a global breakthrough in the use of agroecological principles.

Stefanie Pondini, Biovision

“Agroecology” explores food systems from a holistic standpoint; it focusses not just on the yields per hectare of individual varieties but on the productivity of the entire agricultural system. For example, the principles of agroecology include closed nutrient and energy cycles, integrated arable and livestock farming and encouragement for the diversity of genetic resources.

New York, June 2016: How can we overcome global hunger? In New York, Biovision, in cooperation with the Senegalese government, brought together a range of opinion formers.

“Business as usual is not an option”. This warning, expressed by Biovision President Hans Rudolf Herren in his summary of the conclusions of the IAASTD Report, is now on everyone’s lips. Despite that, agroecological practices are often neglected or talked down by policymakers. This is a serious concern because the application of such techniques has the potential to improve soil fertility, increase biodiversity, adapt agricultural techniques to climate change, encourage a balanced diet and improve the incomes of farming families.

Concrete action rather than merely lip service

Over the years, the Biovision project team “Policy and Advocacy” has successfully used its negotiating skills to ensure that sustainable agriculture was included in the 17 Sustainable Development Goals adopted by the UN. The team is now focussing on two key areas for sustainable agriculture: research and policy. Firstly, Biovision is seeking to persuade decision-makers to change the way they think and act. In particular, it is advising and supporting African countries with policy planning and the introduction of agroecological measures with the aim of improving food security, climate resilience and general sustainability. The second project seeks to strengthen research into agroecology. One of its core components is to encourage networking between the international research community and investors, donor organisations and governments: New research and futureoriented techniques in the field of agroecology are crucial if we are to provide healthy food for a growing global population and conserve natural resources.