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Farmer-driven organic resource management to build soil fertility

English title Farmer-driven organic resource management to build soil fertility
Applicant Fliessbach Andreas
Number 152224
Funding scheme r4d (Swiss Programme for Research on Global Issues for Development)
Research institution Forschungsinstitut für biologischen Landbau (FiBL)
Institution of higher education Research Institute of Organic Agriculture - FiBL
Main discipline Agricultural and Forestry Sciences
Start/End 01.01.2015 - 31.12.2017
Approved amount 1'633'884.00
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All Disciplines (4)

Discipline
Agricultural and Forestry Sciences
Communication sciences
Sociology
Environmental Research

Keywords (9)

Communication for development; Organic resource management; Participatory research; Soil fertility ; Adoption of technology; Soil governance; Farmers; Institution building; Media

Lay Summary (German)

Lead
Mangelnde Bodenfruchtbarkeit bedroht die Ernährungssicherheit Afrikas südlich der Sahara. Ziel des Projekts ist ein besseres Verständnis der Bedingungen, unter denen Landwirte in Bodenfruchtbarkeit investieren und wie sie durch Humusaufbau die Böden verbessern können um ihre Existenz und Ernährung abzusichern.
Lay summary

Zusammenfassung und Ziel

Landwirte können mit Hilfe von Agroforstwirtschaft und landwirtschaftlichen Maßnahmen Humus aufbauen. Die Beweggründe, warum Landwirte nicht mehr in die Bodenfruchtbarkeit investieren und vor allem warum die organische Bodensubstanz trotz ihrer zentralen Rolle für gute und ertragssichere Böden nicht die nötige Aufmerksamkeit der Produzenten genießt, sind unklar. Diese Fragestellung wird in jeweils zwei Gebieten innerhalb der vier Länder Mali, Ghana, Kenia und Sambia in einem interdisziplinären Ansatz mit Agrar-, Sozial- und Kommunikationswissenschaftlern untersucht. Techniken, soziale Interaktionen und Medien als Faktoren und Bedingungen für das Verhalten der Landwirte werden identifiziert. Aussichtsreiche und lokal angepasste Ansätze zur Verbesserung der Bodenfruchtbarkeit werden in enger Zusammenarbeit von Bauern und Forschern getestet.

Fach- und Länderübergreifende Forschung sowie Lernprozesse zwischen den beteiligten Wissenschaftlern und Akteuren (Landwirte, einflussreiche Persönlichkeiten, wirtschaftliche Akteure, Politiker, Journalisten) soll die Relevanz und Qualität der Forschung und Beratung verbessern und praktische Erkenntnisse für die beteiligten Institutionen und Akteure liefern.

Wissenschaftliche und soziale Bedeutung

Die Erhaltung und Verbesserung der Bodenfruchtbarkeit ist eine Bedingung für die Stabilität der Agrarproduktion, die Nachhaltigkeit ländlicher Gemeinschaften und die Stabilität und Entwicklung von Gesellschaften und Staaten. Sie ist eine der wichtigsten Herausforderungen für die Entwicklung der Ernährungssicherheit und des Wohlstands der Bevölkerung Afrikas.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 17.12.2014

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Zambia National Farmer’s Union Zambia (Africa)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Komi K.M. Fiaboe, icipe Kenya (Africa)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Research Infrastructure
ETH, Emmanuel Frossard, YAMSYS Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Research Infrastructure
Sabin Bieri, CDE, FATE Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Research Infrastructure
FiBL, Mercator, The Potential of Sustainable Farming Systems to Promote Adaptation to Climate Change Mali (Africa)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Exchange of personnel
ITPS, Global Soil Partnership (GSP) Italy (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Zambian Agriculture Research Institute Zambia (Africa)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Research Infrastructure
Daniel Mugendi, University of Embu Kenya (Africa)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Research Infrastructure

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
Global Soil Week Talk given at a conference Sustaining our soils and societies: the challenge of doing transdisciplinary research 21.04.2015 Berlin, Germany Fliessbach Andreas; Nicolay Gian Linard; Sousa Fernando;


Knowledge transfer events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Date Place Persons involved
Agriculture with Future, Today! Talk 21.10.2016 Idanha a Nova, Portugal Sousa Fernando;
Heilongjiang Leadership: Modern Agriculture and Innovation Talk 20.10.2016 FiBL, Frick, Switzerland Fliessbach Andreas; Sousa Fernando;
Swiss Forum for International Agricultural Research (SFIAR) Talk 14.03.2016 Brugg, Switzerland Fliessbach Andreas;


Self-organised

Title Date Place
Field days with farmers - compost and biochar preparation 12.05.2017 Kade, Switzerland
Training in compost preparation 26.01.2017 Mafeya, Mali
Farmer field days in Koulikoro (Aug 2016) and Sikasso Sep (2016) 15.08.2016 Koulikoro, Mali
Farmer field days 13.07.2016 Chuka and Thika, Kenya
Farmer field days - several in each focus area 13.07.2016 Chipata and Kasama, Zambia

Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
New media (web, blogs, podcasts, news feeds etc.) „Africa is everywhere“ oder: Über die Höhen der interkulturellen Zusammenarbeit German-speaking Switzerland 2017
New media (web, blogs, podcasts, news feeds etc.) Facebook site International 2017
Media relations: radio, television Radio emission on organic resources for SFM Lutanda Catholic Radio Station International 2017
New media (web, blogs, podcasts, news feeds etc.) Student Reporters Short stories out of ORM4Soil International 2017
Media relations: radio, television Ghana TV: Opening ceremony of 1st Progress Meeting in Accra, Ghana TV Ghana International 2016
Media relations: radio, television Resource MGT for soil fertility meeting Ghana broadcasting corporation International 2016
Print (books, brochures, leaflets) Organic Resource Management to build Soil Fertility International 2015
Media relations: print media, online media ORGANIC SOIL MANAGEMENT PROJECT LAUNCHED Friday Brief International 2015
Media relations: print media, online media Press release: "The international year of soils at FiBL" Many Rhaeto-Romanic Switzerland German-speaking Switzerland Italian-speaking Switzerland 2015
New media (web, blogs, podcasts, news feeds etc.) Project website International 2015
Media relations: print media, online media Soil fertility vital for food security - UNZA lecturer The Post International 2015
Media relations: print media, online media Zambia: Organic Resource MGT Key in Soil Fertility Times of Zambia International 2015

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
177582 Farmer-driven organic resource management to build soil fertility 01.01.2018 r4d (Swiss Programme for Research on Global Issues for Development)

Abstract

The decline of soil fertility is a major threat to agriculture and food security in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Enforced organic matter production by modern agroforestry systems (planting of nitrogen fixing trees, leguminous shrubs together with food crops), as well as the use of mulch and compost have shown to increase and maintain soil fertility. Yet these techniques have failed to be implemented in farmers’ cropping systems on a large scale. This research project, therefore, aims at identifying the agronomic, socio-economic, cultural, and communicative reasons that promote the adoption of tested agricultural technologies. We assume the integration of farmers in the design and management of innovations to be important to reverse the trend of declining soil fertility. In the proposed project, farmer-driven soil fertility management techniques will be developed jointly with researchers at both on-station and on-farm levels. As part of an outreach campaign these innovations will be disseminated to farmers’ communities in order to assess challenges and to identify hindering and favoring factors associated with its adoption. The application of research results in farming practice is an important focus of the project with communication involved in all processes. Political and societal groups will be involved and informed on the outcome of the project in order to influence their working procedures. The study will be conducted in relatively humid and arid climatic zones of Mali, Ghana, Kenya and Zambia. In each of these countries FiBL and IAM/ZHAW researchers will collaborate with partners at universities and research stations, extension services and farmers. Most research will be done by PhD students and associated MSc studies supervised by local and international experts in the respective field, leading to peer reviewed publications. The study is expected to improve research design, provide easily adoptable soil fertility management techniques, address institutional barriers and soil governance, change habits and attitudes of farmers and local society towards agricultural sustainability, and identify the best processes of communication according to farmers' needs. It is further expected that our inter- and trans-disciplinary approach applied in the four countries will be scalable to the whole Sub-Saharan Africa. This project has the potential to contribute significantly to the resilience of food systems, agricultural productivity, environmental stability, and food security.
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