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FiBL partnership with New Zealand

Following a visit to New Zealand by a Swiss delegation in 2009, New Zealand’s Minister of Agriculture David Carter and the former director of the Swiss Federal Office for Agriculture Manfred Boetsch signed a Memorandum of Understanding between the two countries. It is in the framwork of the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases , in which the two countries exchange information on actions and research activities.

From the Swiss side, Mr Dominique Kohli (Federal Office for Agriculture) and Professor Michael Kreuzer (ETH) are responsible for the co-ordination.

FiBL is involved in the group of the Swiss climate change researchers with FiBL experts Andreas Gattinger and Adrian Müller and others.

The partner institutions in New Zealand are Lincoln University (LU), which is a small and specialist land based (read agriculture) university; and the Biological Husbandry Unit (BHU), which is a small charity that is about 10 years old. It was set up to save and protect the organic unit at Lincoln University. Charles Merfield is head of The Future Farming Centre (FFC) which is part of the Biological Husbandry Unit and was started two years ago. The Future Farming Centre is a national organic / ecological agricultural research and extension centre.

As a first step, contact people have been appointed at FiBL (Robert Home) and in New Zealand (Charles Merfield) with the aim of building a partnership.

It is envisaged that the starting point for the partnership could be student exchanges. Conditions in Switzerland and New Zealand have some similarities: climate, soils and agricultural systems, but with sufficient differences to make interesting  comparisons, and a key benefit of this is counter-season research would be the possibility of getting an extra field seasons into a calendar year.  At first, these exchanges would consist of simply hosting students, but we hope that the program could develop into joint supervision.

More information


Robert Home, Socioeconomics, FiBL