Research made in Africa


Peter Lüthi, Biovision

Escape the grey fog with an exciting trip to East Africa! For its 50th anniversary, our partner organisation icipe presents a collection of short films about pioneering research projects in organic farming and biological pest control.

The International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (icipe for short) has been a Biovision partner organisation since day one. The research institute, based in Nairobi, Kenya, was founded in 1970 by the visionary Kenyan entomologist Prof. Thomas Odhiambo (1931–2003). From 1994 to 2005 it was headed by Biovision founder and president Hans R. Herren. icipe is using this anniversary as an occasion to provide informative insights into the world of applied ecological research in Africa through short film reports. Biovision is a longtime partner in many of the projects and activities shown in the films.

Am icipe werden die natürlichen Feinde der Mangofruchtfliegen studiert und gezüchtet
At icipe, the natural enemies of mango fruit flies were studied, bred and later released together with farmers in their mango groves. © Peter Lüthi, Biovision

Knowledge transfer from the laboratory to the field

An important element of the joint projects is transferring knowledge about organic agricultural methods to farmers. The videos provide current insights into Biovision’s core activities. During his time as icipe director, Hans R. Herren founded the Biovision Foundation in 1998 together with like-minded people from Switzerland. He recognised the great need to make research findings more accessible to farmers. Since then Biovision has been pursuing its vision of a world with enough healthy food for all, produced by healthy people in a healthy environment. Today, Biovision contributes to the implementation of the UN sustainable development goals and Agenda 2030 regarding food security and organic farming in Africa, Switzerland and internationally. The second development goal, “Zero Hunger”, is its guiding principle.

Freilassung der Schlupfwespen. Die Schlupfwespen legen ihre Eier in die Brut der Fruchtfliegen, die daraufhin von den Wespenlarven dezimiert werden.
Release of parasitic wasps, the natural enemies of fruit flies. The parasitic wasps lay their eggs in the brood of fruit flies, which are then decimated by the wasp larvae. © Peter Lüthi, Biovision

icipe – a strong partner for Biovision in Africa

icipe is the only insect research institute on the African continent that has an international reputation. The institute is recognised and appreciated worldwide as a centre of excellence due to its dedication to scientific research of arthropods (invertebrates with segmented bodies and jointed limbs). Arthropods include the large universe of insects ­– both beneficial ones and pests in agriculture but also disease vectors such as malaria mosquitoes or ticks.

Barbara Frei Haller, Biovision Foundation Board member and Governing Council member at icipe, praises the institute’s achievements as outstanding pioneering research into harmful and beneficial insects. “icipe has been finding answers to the changing climatic conditions in the tropics for 50 years. In doing so, it has discovered and introduced organic methods to control insect pests in cereal crop cultivation and fruit and vegetable production, plus environmentally friendly measures for controlling disease-carrying mosquitoes or tsetse flies. This helps people and environmental protection”, says Ms. Frei Haller.

We at Biovision congratulate icipe on its 50th anniversary and look forward to continuing our effective cooperation together!

50 years icipe – Link to the video



Simple but Effective against Malaria

As part of the “Stop Malaria” project, Biovision and its partner organization icipe tested a new method for malaria prevention. Scientific evaluation shows that this simple method is extremely successful.

Wasps Save Africa’s Maize Harvests

The fall armyworm has spread across the African continent at an incredible pace and robbed millions of farmers of their livelihoods. Synthetic pesticides have proven to be ineffective, but rescue is now in sight: Biovision’s partner organization icipe has found an ecological solution to the plague this pest has created.

“Syngenta sells pesticides in Kenya that are banned in Europe”

Silke Bollmohr, Ökotoxikologin und landwirtschaftliche Beraterin in Ostafrika, hat im Auftrag lokaler NGOs die Verbreitung hochgefährlicher Pestizide in Kenia untersucht. Die Ergebnisse haben Politik und Bevölkerung aufgeschreckt – und eine Bewegung ausgelöst.

Welcome hangers-on

Many smallholder farming families in East Africa benefit from the push-pull environmentally friendly grain cultivation method. But that’s only half the story.