To spearhead an EU-funded research and development project, FiBL has opened its first office in Africa. The “Syprobio” project, scheduled to run for five years, will test the technologies and practices of organic farmers in the West African cotton belt. Agronomist Rémy Dabire from Burkina Faso is currently getting the research work going within the African CRRA/IER (Centre régional de recherche agricole) research centre in Sikasso, located in south-eastern Mali. FiBL is coordinating the project, which was developed together with three national African research institutes, national organic farmers’ unions, HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation and a hundred farmers in Mali, Burkina Faso and Benin. The goal is to produce practically tested and scientifically robust proposals for production techniques and other innovations that deliver positive food-security and climate-change outcomes. The partners will test the hypothesis that the organic matter in the soil plays a key role in delivering such results. The 10,000 organic cotton producers in the three countries will provide the empirical base. Their knowledge will transform the interdisciplinary approach into a transdisciplinary and systemic research programme.
- Gian L. Nicolay, project leader, responsible for sociological and economic aspects
- Andreas Fliessbach, responsible for soil science aspects