Viewpoint: "Organic agriculture can play a role in achieving food security in East Africa". Interview with David Amudavi, Director of Biovision Africa Trust

Photo by Yesim Pacal

April 05, 2023.  

Interview with David Amudavi, a Kenyan extension educationist and socio-economist. Amudavi also is the executive director of Biovision Africa Trust. He has been cooperating with ZEF and its Right Livelihood Campus Bonn (RLC) since 2015. He has an academic and professional background in agricultural education and extension and works on promoting sustainable agriculture and food systems in Africa.

How do you and your organization Biovision Africa Trust benefit from the cooperation with ZEF and RLC?

Biovision Africa Trust has been collaborating with ZEF and RLC for over 6-7 years in the area of research. The partnership has been instrumental in addressing issues in African agriculture and food systems. Biovision has been a central coordinator for initiatives such as ecological organic agriculture and the Knowledge Center for Organic Agriculture for Africa, both supported by the African Union and the German government. The organization has been supporting research work of students from Africa at ZEF and RLC, and facilitating field research in Kenya. The collaboration has led to the exchange of knowledge and sharing of ideas. Moreover, it has been practically relevant to solving problems of food insecurity and improving family incomes while protecting the environment.

Which future role can organic agriculture play in East Africagiven the projected growth, economic but also population-wise?

I think organic agriculture can play a significant role in East Africa, as it has the potential to provide safe and nutritious food for local consumption and can therefore serve as an important economic base for farmers. Organic systems have shown resilience to the impacts of climate change and are more likely to support sustained production. The diversification of crops within organic agriculture can help address issues of food security and nutrition. Additionally, it can support cottage industries and generate employment in rural areas, which is particularly important for countries where the economy largely depends on agriculture. Thus, investing in organic agriculture could complement efforts towards achieving food and nutrition security and provide alternative employment opportunities for the youth and rural populations.

Which challenges and opportunities do you see for Africa’s young, well-trained and talented academics? What can be done to make them stay or return to the continent?

Brain circulation certainly is an issue, as many youngpeople who study in academic fields like agriculture hesitate to return to Africa after completing their training abroad. However, it is important for these well-educated individuals to come back to the continent to contribute to knowledge generation and development. To make organic agriculture more attractive to young scholars, the role of information, communication and technology can be utilized to resolve challenges in the sector and create job opportunities. The close nexus between the organic sector and industry is important, as it can provide employment for young people and thus support the sector's development. Organic agriculture can also be linked to other sectors, such as environment and land-use planning, to attract young researchers. The UN Food Systems Summit in 2021 has raised awareness of the need for sustainable food systems. Young people with good training can play a role in this by working closely together with organizations on the continent.

How do the current energy crisis and political turmoil inthe Global North affect your work?

The current global polycrisis has led to reduced funding and support for our work. This is affecting our ability to promote agriculture, increase productivity, and ensure food security and economic stability in Africa, as most African economies rely on agriculture. The crisis is also affecting the availability of fertilizers, as the focus shifts from bio-based inputs to fossil-based and chemical-based fertilizers. Africa has the potential for producing bio-based inputs, especially bio-fertilizers and bio-pesticides, but limited funding has set back its growth. The crisis in the North affects the support and focus towards bio-based inputs and environmentally sustainable agriculture and food systems in the Global South.

Watch the full video-interview on ZEF's youtube channel:

The interview was conducted by Alma van der Veen, Public Relations Officer at ZEF.
Contact:  presse.zef(at)

This article was published in ZEF News No. 46.


Alma van der Veen


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