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Strengthening the eco-competence of BMZ Innovation Centres
German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) has established Green Innovation Centres in Africa and Asia to train and advise farmers and as a base for innovations adapted to the location.
Organic farming at the Innovation Centres, launched as part of “One world – no hunger”, is now being strengthened by the organisations IFOAM Organics International, Naturland and the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL). Since May 2016 a multinational working group has been working on sharing experience and knowledge with the countries. At the start of December 2017, the participants met in Nairobi for the first time at a regional workshop.
Besides organic farming, the goal is also to establish organic value chains for national and international marketing. Each of the nine participating countries has two or three crops which have major market potential or are important for food security. In Malawi, for example, these are manioc, soybeans and peanuts. In Cameroon the focus is on vegetables and potatoes.
The detailed working areas:
Support with market information, demonstration to political decision-makers of the benefits of organic farming, communication of the benefits of organic products in the individual countries, and overall coordination of the initiative. (IFOAM Organics International)
Studies of and research into consumer awareness of organic products in the countries; services for converting to organic farming, assistance with certification and with access to markets by Naturland partners in processing and trade. (Naturland)
Development of training materials for farmers and multipliers, training partners locally and promoting exchanges between research and practice in an African and Indian context. (FiBL)
Roland Krieg, freelance journalist, Berlin, Germany