News highlighting FiBL’s research, training and advisory services

FiBL Newsletter November 2016

Contents

1   Research

1.1 Organic equals conventional agriculture in the tropics
1.2 New platform for farmers to find organic solutions and exchange knowledge launched
1.3 FiBL scientists report the major bottlenecks of organic cotton production in India
1.4 Microorganisms, mixed crops and recycled fertilizer may help date palm cultivation
1.5 New fact sheet assessing the use of chars, ashes and slags as alternative phosphorus fertilizers in organic farming
1.6 Organic farming in sub-Saharan Africa is productive, economically viable and resource-conserving

2   Other News

2.1 FiBL intensifies cooperation with China – Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China in Switzerland visits FiBL
2.2 Geographical indication training in Colombia

3   Publications

3.1 Organic farming and the prospects for stimulating public goods under the Common Agricultural Policy
3.2 New advisory tool on animal-friendly pig husbandry in Africa
3.3 Basic guide: Why cows have horns
3.4 Video: The Science behind the Organic Movement
3.5 Video: New FiBL video on the spade test

4   Events

4.1 FiBL events in other languages

5   FiBL on Facebook, Twitter & Co.

1 Research

1.1 Organic equals conventional agriculture in the tropics

A long-term study by FiBL in Kenya has shown clearly that organic agriculture not only generates comparable yields, but also produces more income for farmers than conventional methods.

> www.fibl.org/en/media/media-archive/media-archive16/media-release15/article/organic-equals-conventional-agriculture-in-the-tropics.html

1.2 New platform for farmers to find organic solutions and exchange knowledge launched

A new platform – OK-Net Arable – aimed at filling the gap in the exchange of information between farmers across Europe was launched. The platform was developed by the European funded project OK-Net Arable; FiBL is a partner in this project.

> www.fibl.org/en/service-en/news-archive/news/article/new-platform-for-farmers-to-find-organic-solutions-and-exchange-knowledge-launched.html

1.3 FiBL scientists report the major bottlenecks of organic cotton production in India

FiBL scientists have released a report identifying "Major bottlenecks of cotton production in Nimar valley of central India". The report is based on a recent farm survey conducted by Amritbir Riar and Gurbir Bhullar in collaboration with bioRe association in the Madhya Pradesh state of India. It presents a diagnosis of biophysical and socio-economic factors limiting the productivity of organic cotton.

> www.fibl.org/en/service-en/news-archive/news/article/fibl-scientists-report-the-major-bottlenecks-of-organic-cotton-production-in-india.html

1.4 Microorganisms, mixed crops and recycled fertilizer may help date palm cultivation

Date palm is an important crop in Morocco, Tunisia and many other dryland ecosystems. The prevailing harsh environmental condition, the spread of root diseases and other factors are threatening date palm cultivation. By establishing a bio-fertilizer technology together with partners in Morocco and Tunisia, FiBL is looking for a sustainable solution to these problems. The project consortium met in Morocco this September.

> www.fibl.org/en/service-en/news-archive/news/article/probleme-im-dattelanbau-mikroorganismen-mischkultur-und-recyclingduenger-sollen-helfen.html

1.5 New fact sheet assessing the use of chars, ashes and slags as alternative phosphorus fertilizers in organic farming

Partners of the CORE Organic II funded IMPROVE-P project compiled information on the potentials and requirements for use of chars, ashes and slags in organic farming. The fourth fact sheet on alternative phosphorus fertilizers published by FiBL and the other IMPROVE-P project partners provides a comprehensive overview of the current information on relevant sources of phosphorus resulting from different combustion and gasification methods.

> www.fibl.org/en/service-en/news-archive/news/article/new-fact-sheet-assessing-the-use-of-chars-ashes-and-slags-as-alternative-phosphorus-fertilizers-in.html

1.6 Organic farming in sub-Saharan Africa is productive, economically viable and resource-conserving

A long-term study in Kenya shows that maize yields and nutrient uptake in the organic farming systems are quite similar to conventional systems. Due to premium prices, organic systems are more profitable for farmers than conventional ones. The study was carried out by FiBL in close cooperation with partners in Kenya.

> www.fibl.org/en/media/media-archive/media-archive16/media-release15/article/organic-farming-in-sub-saharan-africa-is-productive-economically-viable-and-resource-conserving.html

2 Other News

2.1 FiBL intensifies cooperation with China – Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China in Switzerland visits FiBL

In June the Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China in Switzerland visited FiBL in Frick. Ambassador Wenbing Geng and his delegation learnt about FiBL’s domestic and international activities, especially in the People’s Republic of China, and expressed their interest in a collaboration.

> www.fibl.org/en/media/media-archive/media-archive16/media-release15/article/fibl-intensiviert-zusammenarbeit-mit-china-botschafter-der-volksrepublik-china-in-der-schweiz-zu-b.html

2.2 Geographical indication training in Colombia

From 13 to 17 June 2016, 25 actors from the social, private and public sector met in Paipa, Colombia, for a 5-day training on Geographical Indications and origin-based food and non-food products. The training was organized by FiBL and partners.

> www.fibl.org/en/service-en/news-archive/news/article/geographical-indication-training-in-colombia.html

3 Publications

3.1 Organic farming and the prospects for stimulating public goods under the Common Agricultural Policy

The new IFOAM EU / FiBL study found that the reformed Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) of the European Union (EU) for 2014-2020 lacks clear tools to guide and direct investments towards sustainable agriculture, the majority of tools available are limited to supporting individual farm practices and they do not promote a comprehensive transition towards sustainable agriculture. Although the so-called "greening" measures are a step in the right direction, they have limited prospects of delivering due to questionable exemptions and poor implementation by EU countries.

> www.fibl.org/en/service-en/news-archive/news/article/cap-not-delivering-the-public-goods-promised.html

3.2 New advisory tool on animal-friendly pig husbandry in Africa

Together with local advisors, FiBL produced a technical guide for trainers in Swaziland on animal-friendly pig husbandry. The new practical tool will support trainers in their efforts to promote smallholder pig production in respect of the animals' natural behaviour. Animal-friendly husbandry is known to be a key prerequisite for economic production of quality meat.

> www.fibl.org/en/service-en/news-archive/news/article/new-advisory-tool-on-animal-friendly-pig-husbandry-in-africa.html

3.3 Basic guide: Why cows have horns

Organic farmers aim to minimise their interventions on animals. However, today at least three out of four calves born on organic farms are dehorned. Hardly any animal organ has been so widely discussed as the cow horn. Before robbing all cows of their horns for utilitarian reasons, it is worth finding out what significance the horns might have to them. Since this theme has not been researched much until now, biodynamic farmers working with researchers from FiBL have brought together and interpreted their observations and pictures of the anatomy, physiology, biological development and functions of the horns.

> www.fibl.org/en/service-en/news-archive/news/article/why-cows-have-horns-a-new-basic-guide-sheds-light-on-the-issue.html

3.4 Video: The Science behind the Organic Movement

The keynote speech at the Organic Science Conference in Canada was held by Urs Niggli, director of FiBL Switzerland and president of TIPI - the Technology Innovation Platform of IFOAM - Organics International. The video-recorded speech is available on YouTube and covers a wide range of aspects of organic farming research, including its current status and importance for the development of the organic sector, the challenge of the yield gap, and the innovation potential of organic farming research.

> www.fibl.org/en/service-en/news-archive/news/article/video-the-science-behind-the-organic-movement.html

3.5 Video: New video on the spade test

Soils are the most valuable resource for crop production, but they receive very little attention because we take them for granted. Within the project FertilCrop, visual soil assessment and other hands-on techniques are compared to analytical soil tests. A new video explains how to apply the spade test.

> www.fibl.org/en/service-en/news-archive/news/article/film-mit-der-spatenprobe-die-bodenstruktur-im-feld-beurteilen.html

4 Events

4.1 FiBL events in further languages

FiBL events in further languages can be viewed at

> www.fibl.org/en/service-en/events.html

5 FiBL on Facebook, Twitter & Co.

You have a number of possibilities to keep yourself updated about FiBL. Here are the relevant links:

> FiBL news: www.fibl.org/en/homepage.html

> FiBL newsletter: www.fibl.org/en/service-en/newsletter-en.html

> FiBL news via RSS: www.fibl.org/en/service-en/rss-en.html

> FiBL on Twitter: www.twitter.com/fiblorg

> FiBL on Facebook: www.facebook.com/FiBLnews

> FiBL on YouTube: www.youtube.com/user/FiBLFilm/videos

> New FiBL publications in the OrganicEprints archive: www.fibl.org/en/fibl/themes/publications.html and FiBL homepage: www.fibl.org/en/homepage.html, below the news.

 

Yours sincerely,
Helga Willer and Andreas Basler
---------------------------------------------------------------
Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL)
Ackerstrasse 113 / Postfach 219
CH-5070 Frick
Phone +41 62 865-7272
Fax +41 62 865-7273
E-mail newsletter@fibl.org
Internet www.fibl.org


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