Switzerland and International

More research for agroecology

Current situation

Global food systems are largely based on an agricultural model that has lost touch with its ecological and social base. Instead of a system of farming that is sustainable and diverse, the dominant form of agriculture is industrialised and intensive. The negative consequences are serious: leached out soils, polluted water courses, pesticide resistance, a reduction in biodiversity and climate change. Increasingly, it is also endangering the health of producers and consumers. Agroecology offers a real alternative: a systemic approach to our food systems that provides answers to many of these challenges simultaneously.

Project

The objective is to increase the level of awareness, promotion and dissemination of the major untapped potential in systemic, agroecological farming and food systems on the basis of the scientific evidence. The focus is on developing systemic research (in the area of agroecology) through an increase in investment in projects and institutes, as well as on forming and networking multidisciplinary research teams from distinguished research institutions.

Within the project delivery framework, the P&A Team advocates for an increase in the acceptance and legitimation of agroecology at a variety of levels and by different stakeholders.

The long-term goal is to create conditions that will allow sufficient healthy food to be produced by an ecological approach, and to adapt more successfully to external change (e.g. climate change).

Researchers in the field in Kenya
Currently, there are still too few financial resources flowing into research projects such as the Long-Term System Comparison. This project demonstrates the added value offered by agroecology compared with conventional agriculture.

Relevance

At the very heart of this project lie the balance and synergies between the ecological, social and economic processes in local food systems – as already required by the World Agricultural Report (IAASTD 2008) and recognised globally in Agenda 2030.

The project uses the existing framework provided by Agenda 2030 to raise the profile of a science-based approach to agroecology and  expand its application. This will drive the paradigm shift forward in favour of sustainable, global food systems.

Objectives of the current phase of the project

  • To analyse the investment in agricultural research on the basis of three case studies, with a particular focus on the underlying political economy, and to identify the most significant challenges and opportunities relevant to the strengthening of systemic, agroecological research.
  • To work for the recruitment of public, private and philanthropic donors to provide additional investment in agroecological research, as well as appropriate decision-makers at research centres, and to demonstrate the added value provided by a strengthening of agroecological research, including participatory approaches and interdisciplinary research teams.

Advisory Board

  •  Michel Evéquoz, Senior Advisor and Focal Point CGIAR, Global Programme Food Security, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC)
  • Julius Ecuru, Head of the BioInnovate Africa Programme, icipe
  • Jane Maland Cady, Program Director, International Program, McKnight Foundation
  • Michel Pimbert, Executive Director, Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience, Coventry University
  • Carl E. Pray, Professor and chair of the Department of Agricultural, Food and Resource Economics, Rutgers School of Environmental and Biological Sciences
  • Martijn Sonnevelt, Executive Director, World Food System Centre, ETH Zurich