Agromisa Consultation Meeting
On 8 March 2017, Agromisa had a meeting with a group of 29 volunteers to brainstorm about new ideas for the future of the organisation. Bringing people with different backgrounds and experiences together generated dynamic discussions and many interesting ideas emerged. The meeting also had an important social function and strengthened the commitment of those present to Agromisa’s key objective: making information available that would support the agricultural activities of small-scale farmers in tropical and sub-tropical regions.
The meeting began with an introduction by board member Jan-Willem Liebrand who provided an overview of the current status of Agromisa. This was followed by three short presentations outlining ongoing and successful activities. Five topics had been selected for group discussion and the generation of ideas. Participants worked in small groups and shared their ideas on two of the topics. They then documented their conclusions so these could be discussed later in the meeting.
Status of Agromisa
Agromisa’s activities continue to be run by volunteers and there is no longer a paid staff.
Financially, Agromisa depends on the sale of its publications – particularly those in the Agrodok series. A potential problem arose recently when the Technical Centre for Agriculture and Rural Cooperation (CTA) indicated it intends to stop its Publication Distribution Service. It is working towards making all its publications only available on line. This means it will stop all co-publishing contracts and will no longer buy Agrodoks from Agromisa. For Agromisa who had a co-publishing contract with CTA it means that if it allows CTA to make all Agrodoks available on line it might reduce sales. On the other hand, it could increase public awareness of Agromisa’s publications especially the Agrodok series.
Three short presentations
Nepalese translation of Agrodok
A Nepalese tea farmers’ cooperative was interested in the Agrodok ‘Entering the organic export market’.
The cooperative translated this Agrodok into Nepalese because they realised it supported them to successfully export their high quality organic tea.
C2U and SILC
Pieter Temminck (AOC-Oost) and Liesbeth Rijsdijk (Windesheim College) presented the Connect to Uganda (C2U) project, which aims to strengthen agriculture education in a school in Uganda. The project involves Dutch students in developing a farm plan for the school farm based on permaculture and to prepare teaching materials. Also as part of their internship the students drew on Agromisa’s experience and Agrodoks to develop beekeeping in the school.
Subsequently C2U and Agromisa developed the Sustainable International Learning Community (SILC). SILC is a concept that aims to develop agricultural education within the broad context of agribusiness. At present there are talks with an interested NGO and there is a good chance that funds can be generated for a SILC startup.
Study by Windesheim Students
A group of Windesheim students carried out a study for Agromisa with the aim of finding out how Agromisa could find feasible and sustainable ways of increasing its revenues.
Their advice on accessing funds consisted of developing cases for support that were clear and transparent.
They developed two cases. The first case for support was based on the content of the premium selling Agrodok ‘Improving hatching and brooding in small-scale poultry keeping’. This publication aims to improve the life of small-scale farmers and their families in Senegal by spreading the Agrodok’s content through a SMS-service and audio recordings.
The second case for support is based on the curriculum project Agromisa carried out in Afghanistan. The students used the experience of this project to develop materials on sustainable agriculture that could be used to teach 22,000 high school children in Kenya.
Group discussions on the future of Agromisa
The group discussions dealt with the following ideas:
- Setting up an Agromisa lectures series
- Continue supporting agriculture education.
- Setting up or supporting study circles
- New ways for knowledge dissemination
- Relation with Wageningen University and Research (WUR) and students
Setting up an ‘Agromisa lecture series’
Agromisa sees this as a public event that deals with issues relevant to themes that fall within Agromisa’s missions. Agromisa hopes that the first lecture will be held after the summer.
Some people have already expressed their interest in helping to organise these lectures and Agromisa sees it as a good opportunity to involve WUR students as well.
QUESTION: What theme would be interesting and attractive to choose for the first events? If you have ideas, please let us know! Submit your topics/contributions for future lectures in an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Developing lesson materials
Developing lesson materials and making use of an open internet platform to make it possible to work together with people (teachers) in the field. Moodle was suggested for this initiative. If you have experience with this platform Agromisa would like to hear from you so as to get a better idea on its feasibility.
Developing and supporting farmers study circles
The idea on developing or supporting farmer study circles in rural communities also generated enthusiasm among many people. This needs looking into further.
Currently the board is working on follow up of the ideas and information that emerge.