Organic-Conventional farming trials findings released

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For a long time, there has been debate on the benefits of organic compared to conventional agriculture. Now the doubts will be put to rest with the release of the partial results of the long- term field trials that have been going on for the last nine years, which are aimed at providing the first evidence- based results of the two approaches of agriculture in Kenya and the rest of Africa.

Research to serve smallholder farmers in Africa

Biovision Africa Trust (BvAT) through its information services to farmers - The Organic Farmer magazine TOF, communication outreach, Infonet-biovision.org and TOF Radio - BvAT shall use the results of the study to continue providing relevant and reliable knowledge and practical advice to the farmers in Kenya and rest of Africa.

The study findings show that if a conventional smallholder farmer starts to apply good organic farming principles, yields will grow, soil health will improve and they can reach the same production of yields on the same farm as compared to a farmer who uses a high input conventional system.

Research to help policy formulation

The trials, which are being conducted in Chuka, Meru South sub-County and KALRO-Thika were started in March 2006 and are expected to take 10 to 20 years for conclusive findings to place debate on the benefits of organic farming and conventional on a rational basis. The results will also guide policy formulation and encourage dialogue on the merits of organic agriculture in developing countries.

The results of the trials that were released on June 28th last month at KALRO, Kandara, Muranga County have been a combined effort of key research institutions led by the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL) Switzerland, The International Center of Insect Physiology and Ecology (icipe), the Tropical Agricultural Soil Biology and Fertility of CIAT (TSBF-CIAT), The Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation (KALRO), and the School of Environmental Studies of Kenyatta University (KU).

The research is funded by Biovision Foundation of Switzerland, LED-Leichtenstein Development Service,

The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and the Sustainable Fund. Other partners involved in the trials are the Kenya Organic Agriculture Network (KOAN) and the Kenya Institute of Organic Farming (KIOF).

Beneficiaries

The beneficiaries of the project include farmers, marketing organizations, trading companies, consumers, agricultural NGOs, extension services, national and international research institutions, County and National governments and development agencies.

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