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Dr. Paul Van Mele, Co-Founder and Director for International Development-Access Agriculture visits BvAT

On the 23rdof May 2019, the Executive Director of Biovision Africa Trust (BvAT), Dr. David Amudavi and the Coordinator of the AU led EOA-I Continental Secretariat, Mr. Alex Mutungi hosted the Co-Founder and Director for International Development of Access Agriculture, Dr. Paul Van Mele for a partnership meeting. Access Agriculture is an international non-profit organisation with head office in Belgium and with regional offices in Kenya, Benin, Bangladesh and Bolivia.

Based on the demand of the community of agricultural extension service providers, agricultural universities, government staff and farmer organisations in developing countries, and with backing of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), Access Agriculture was founded in 2012 to enable South-South exchange on and access to quality farmer training videos to secure sustainable livelihoods of smallholder farmers and users of natural resources.

BvAT is hosting the Ecological Organic Agriculture (EOA) Secretariat and overseeing the implementation of EOA projects across Africa (Mali, Senegal, Benin, Nigeria, Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda, Tanzania and now moving to Rwanda in the Phase II of the project which started in May 2019.

Access Agriculture will work closely with BvAT to reach organic farmers in Africa through multiple distribution channels, local partners and young entrepreneurs including its online knowledge platforms (Access Agriculture – www.accessagriculture.organd Agtube; www.agtube.org), DVDs, and portable video screening equipment. Access Agriculture has experience of reaching millions of farmers worldwide with practical agricultural technologies in more than 76 local languages. The Access Agriculture platform currently hosts some 200 quality training videos, primarily targeting farmers and extension service providers, while Agtube (an agricultural equivalent of YouTube) is the social media platform where anyone can upload agricultural videos. By 2018, 44 TV stations across the global South were broadcasting videos hosted on our video platform and many radio stations were broadcasting the audio files. People can also download fact sheets from the website for use in their course content and curriculum development.

During the meeting, Dr. Amudavi briefed Dr. Paul Van Mele on the EOA Phase II project and discussed the possible roles Access Agriculture could play in promoting South-South farmer to farmer learning of EOA technologies in Africa through the translation and dissemination of the currently many videos already produced. Access Agriculture will also be a key international partner in the implementation of the BvAT led Knowledge Hub for Organic Agriculture  in Eastern Africa project funded by BMZ and coordinated by GIZ. These efforts will build on the collaboration between the wo organizations through BvAT’s flagship program, the Farmer Communication Programme (FCP) in Kenya.

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