Statement of Candidacy
The relationship between the work of the IFOAM World Board and Africa’s Continental Initiative – Ecological Organic Agriculture - cannot be overemphasized. We live in a world facing phenomenal challenges (notably rising poverty with increasing global population, climate change, food and nutrition insecurity, environmental degradation, loss of biodiversity, among others). These challenges are bound to rise and require efforts from people who have the desire to make the world a better place for current as well as future generations. Such people reside around the world, and have capabilities which if well harnessed can help propel agriculture in the right direction to guarantee a decent and healthy living for ALL, in line with some of the current sustainable development goals (SDG).
I believe that organic agriculture - or ecological organic agriculture as some would broadly say - is the agriculture that we need to embrace in research and development, policy and programmes, and investment plans. Efforts to promote it will certainly shape the global agriculture agenda.
As a strategic player in the development of the African Union-led ecological organic agriculture (EOA) in Africa (http://eoai-africa.org), and with a sound professional training, I believe I will not only add value to the quality of oversight provided by the IFOAM World Board in promoting organic agriculture but also be an agent of change in pushing the agenda of Organic 3.0 and strengthening synergies with other relevant initiatives in Africa that are globally aligned with principles and practices of organic agriculture. The EOA initiative stems from a response to the African Heads of State and Government Decision on promoting Organic Farming. The goal of the EOA initiative is to mainstream EOA into national agricultural production systems, policies, and practices by 2025 in order to improve agricultural productivity, food security, access to markets and sustainable development in Africa. To achieve this goal it is framed around six pillars: Research, Training and Extension; Information and Communication; Value Chain and Market Development; Networking and Partnerships; Policy and Programme Development; and Institutional Capacity Development.
I have played a significant role in supporting the development of the EOA initiative, with support from the current coalition of partners (African Union Commission, Swiss Development Cooperation, and Swedish Society for Nature Conservation) in implementing the initiative in eight countries in Africa: Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Ethiopia in Eastern Africa, and Nigeria, Senegal, Mali and Benin in West Africa. I support the Continental Steering Committee through its Secretariat, currently hosted in my organization, to scale out EOA to other African countries. It is pleasant to note that IFOAM is a member of this Committee and its role is very much recognized.
With the foregoing, my candidature, and partly representing the face of Africa, should be valuable to the mandate of the IFOAM World Board. I therefore believe there is a lot we can achieve with my membership in the Board to unlock the potential for realizing our vision and goals in the organic sector.
Background of Candidate/Resume
I am the Executive Director of Biovision Africa Trust (BvAT), a not-for-profit Trust registered in Nairobi and based in the International Centre of Insect Physiology & Ecology (ICIPE), Nairobi. I am responsible for the day-to-day operations of its programmes. I coordinate the Farmer Communication Programme (FCP), which comprises Infonet-Biovision web-based knowledge platform (http://www.infonet-biovision.org), The Organic Farmer Magazine (TOF, www.theorganicfarmer.org), the TOF-Radio, Mkulima Mbunifu (TOF Tanzania, http://mkulimambunifu.org), and Outreach communication in supporting knowledge management and dissemination of technologies and practices on ecologically sustainable agriculture. The programme, supported by the Biovision Foundation of Switzerland, is distinctively reaching out to farmers in Africa.
I am also the Project Coordinator of the African Union-led EOA Initiative currently implemented in eight countries in Africa (i.e. Benin, Kenya, Ethiopia, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, Tanzania and Uganda) with financial contribution from the Swiss Agency for Development and Corporation (SDC) and the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (SSNC) and Sida. I also support the Secretariat of the EOA Continental Steering Committee. I also support the Changing Course in Global Agriculture (CCGA) initiative in Kenya undertaken by the Millennium Institute (Washington DC) and Biovision Foundation to promote the use of the T21 model in influencing policy making and arriving at prudent decisions and actions for supporting sustainable agriculture.
I hold a Ph.D. in Adult and Extension Education with minors in Developmental Sociology and Natural Resource Management (NRM) from Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, USA (2001-2005. I did a 2-year postdoctoral fellow with ICIPE’s Push-pull project: ‘Creating smallholder-led growth through ‘push-pull’ technologies in Eastern Africa’ from July 2006 to October 2009 and supervised five graduate students (2 Phd and 3 Msc) on the project. I did my M.Sc. in Agricultural Science at The University of Melbourne, Australia (1992-1994), and a B.Sc., in Agricultural Education and Extension in Egerton University, Njoro, Kenya (1987-1990).
Before joining ICIPE as senior scientist (social scientist) and Biovision Africa Trust as interim director in 2011, I was a senior lecturer in the Department of Agricultural Education and Extension, Egerton University. I successfully supervised many graduate students and published widely in international journals, contributed to book chapters, and presented several research papers at international conferences. I was also involved in several consultancies related to livelihood improvement, technology transfer among smallholder farmers and strengthening of agricultural extension systems in Sub-Saharan Africa for various international organizations.
Biovision Africa Trust
C/O International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE),