During the celebrations of the new partnership between FiBL and Agroscope on the organic farm of the Siegenthaler Family in Münsingen (BE), Eva Reinhard, deputy director of the Federal Office for Agriculture, stated that "solutions that are specifically organic need their own research facilities. Thanks to the cooperation of FiBL and Agroscope, access to these facilities is possible. Both institutes are highly qualified and able to make the most out of their synergy." The production problems that farmers and their families are facing are expected to be solved the organic way. Approaches that work well in integrated production often require a more complex system on organic farms.
Strengthen Switzerland’s standing as a centre of research
Urs Niggli, the director of FiBL, wants to "strengthen Switzerland’s standing as a centre of research nationally as well as globally. Thus, we can harness the potential of organic agriculture even more." Michael Gysi, CEO of Agroscope, agrees: "FiBL and Agroscope fit together well. We agree on the general direction of agroecology and we complement each other through our professional expertise. Important areas for creating synergies are food technology and quality management; while organic agriculture faces specific obstacles, Acroscope provides its expertise."
Researchers from both FiBL and Agroscope have already worked together on several projects over the years. Since 1978, they have been conducting research comparing organic and conventional farming systems on the well-known DOK Trial in Therwil (BL). The two research institutions also band together for testing varieties of grains, apples and potatoes under organic conditions and fighting the Drosophila suzukii. The signing of the memorandum of understanding helps to strengthen the cooperation officially. Furthermore, it strengthens the pioneering position of Swiss organic research.
Memorandum of understanding between FiBL and Agroscope
The goal of the agreement is to extend and intensify the cooperative partnership between the two institutes. The intention is to intensify the cooperation in all areas of agricultural and food technology research in such a way that Swiss practices are strengthened ecologically and economically. FiBL and Agroscope are supporting agriculture and processing of agricultural raw materials that are both productive and resource-friendly, and that create public goods and services. The partnership should help to ensure critical mass for research in organic agriculture and animal welfare. This strengthens Switzerland’s standing as a centre of research. Interest groups should have easier access to research results in order to increase practical innovations. The research demands of the interest groups will be discussed in a national organic research forum that is supported together with Bio Suisse. In case of joint projects, research consortia will be formed. In joint research projects, research facilities and infrastructure should be accessible to both parties.