Organic farming helps to conserve natural resources and to secure an adequate food supply for people in the Southern Hemisphere. This fact is increasingly supported by recent scientific research, but many farmers in the Southern Hemisphere have known it for a long time. What they are more concerned about is rather "How can organic farming be supported in the Southern regions?" Here is an example: by means of high-quality training materials. Thanks to IFOAM's "I-GO" program, such materials are available at last.
Many of the organizations involved in development cooperation are, among other things, actively engaged in education. While preparing courses for organic farmers and consultants one of these organizations, the FiBL (Research Institute of Organic Agriculture), realized that not only were there few suitable materials available, but they were also difficult to obtain. "This impression was confirmed by a survey carried out among almost 200 organic farming organizations", states project manager Frank Eyhorn of FiBL Switzerland.
Hence the idea of compiling training materials for organic farming in the tropics. IFOAM, the International Federation of Organic Farming, readily welcomed the project and decided to give further support through its "I-GO" program (IFOAM-Growing Organic, IFOAM's program supporting organic agriculture in developing countries). Under the supervision of FiBL Frick, Switzerland, and with the co-operation of CABI Bioscience and organizations from India, Bolivia, and Senegal a series of guidelines for trainers were drawn up.
The content of these guidelines for organic farming training courses in the Southern Hemisphere is clearly structured and contains general didactic suggestions as well as specific technical details. In addition to the technical content, the manual also contains colorful transparencies with many pictures, and suggestions for practical exercises. Even though the texts are easy to understand, they require a sound general education and some basic knowledge of agricultural practice. The guidelines are also well suited to self-instruction.
Anne Boor, Global Program Coordinator of the I-GO Program, explains; "With the help of this training manual, we aim to improve organic farming training in the South and thus offer an important contribution to the growth of organic farming."
As a first step, the Training Manual has been published in English. French and Spanish translations will be available from March 2003.
Frank Eyhorn, Marlene Heeb, Gilles Weidmann: IFOAM Training Manual for Organic Agriculture in the Tropics - Theory, Transparencies, Didactic Approach. International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) Tholey-Theley, 2002
The Training Manual on the Web
The Training Manual is available at www.ifoam.org/plattform/home_index.html and www.fibl.ch/english/publications/training-manual
How to order
To order the English language manual please contact the IFOAM Head Office (details see below). The CD-ROM costs 10 Euro (plus postage, and VAT in the European Union).
Forschungsinstitut für biologischen Landbau
Gilles Weidmann und Frank Eyhorn
Tel.: +41 (0)62 865-7272
Fax: +41 (0)62 865-7273
International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements IFOAM
c/o Ökozentrum Imsbach
We would appreciate receiving a copy of the appropriate issue.