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ILEIA’s contribution to upscaling agroecology

  • Since December 1984 ILEIA produced 127 issues of Farming Matters
  • ILEIA collaborated in magazine making with twelve regional partner organisations
  • Together the magazines are produced one global, five regional and seven local language editions and in eleven languages
  • The magazines are read in every country of the world (according to Google)
  • Together they reach (substantially) more than a million readers per quarter, in digital and paper format
  • The total production cost per magazine per reader is less than one Euro
  • Since 1984 ILEIA collaborated with at least 2000 authors who contributed articles to Farming Matters
  • The outreach of their articles was up to 100 times higher than they would have got through a scientific journal
  • About 50 editors worked in ILEIA since 1984
  • Lastly, ILEIA worked with dozens of farmer philosophers, champions of agroecology, SRI, NPM, FMNR, and so on… Inspiring people whose contribution to sustainable development cannot be captured in simple figures and numbers.

136 Issues in this Publication (Showing issues 2 - 0)

Farming for the Future: An Introduction to Low-External-Input and Sustainable Agriculture - 1992-01-01

This is a book about farming. But, more than that, it is a book about farmers, about men and women farmers. It is seldom that farmers particularly those in the Third World - have an opportunity to make themselves heard. In this book, an effort has been made to give as much room as possible to the knowledge and experience of small-scale farmers in developing countries. In recent years, there has been an enormous increase in studies about small-scale farming and its potential for development, but I have the strong feeling that most of these studies are only meant to be food for discussion among experts. This is also a book about sustainability. Achieving and maintaining sustainable agriculture has become one of the focal points, not only within Dutch agricultural and environmental policies, but also within those of the international development community. Until now, agricultural policies - whether oriented toward export production or local food production - have focused too narrowly on maximising short-term profits rather than on long-term sustainable management of local resources by farmers. Although this is understandable from the point of view of policy makers confronted with questions of food security, employment, foreign exchange and population growth, it does not take into account sufficiently the interests of individual farmers and rural communities and does not lead to their empowerment.

ILEIA legacy is living on - 2022-12-20

ILEIA - Centre for Learning on Sustainable Agriculture, had its start in 1984. It started from the observation that family farmers in remote, diverse and risk-prone farming conditions did not benefit from ‘modern’ agriculture based on external inputs: chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and improved seeds and breeds, irrigation, mechanization and science-based research and development. For the specific conditions of these small-scale farmers in for example rainfed, dryland, sloping, upland and mountainous areas, far away from markets, these external inputs were too expensive, often not available, not fitting, and full of risk for health and ecology. Probably they could benefit more from good practices in ecological agriculture.


However, initial learning showed that it was not so much the external experiences with ecological / organic agriculture or permaculture that brought most tangible benefits. Empowerment of farmers by giving them back status for their own traditional and local practices, seeds, breeds and knowledge was far more effective. It strengthened farmer experimentation with technologies and concepts that fitted the conditions of their own place, culture and economy. Development and extension workers and scientists from outside can support and ‘validate’ these processes with their skills and scientific knowledge. This was called ‘Participatory Technology Development’. In this way scientists can benefit from the insights of farmers as well.

Joining Farmers' Experiences - 1991-01-19

This book is itself part of a continuing process of exchanging experiences about collaboration between farmers and outsiders in exploring paths to sustainable agricultural development. Out of the workshop on 'Farmers and Agricultural Research: Complementary Methods' conducted in July 1987 by the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) at the University of Sussex, UK, emerged the book 'Farmer First' edited by Robert Chambers, Arnold Pacey and Lori Ann Thrupp and published by Intermediate Technology Publications.

How to amplify agroecology - 2016-05-20

Janneke Bruil and Jessica Milgroom

Amplification of agroecological experiences is “the main challenge today”, in the words of former UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, Olivier De Schutter, because of its many contributions to addressing challenges such as hunger, poverty, loss of biodiversity and climate change. The participants in the Learning Exchange see amplification of agroecology as the transformation of food systems, rather than just the spreading of a set of food production techniques. Importantly, it promotes alternative forms of economic exchange and places agrobiodiversity, the struggle for land, control over seed and local farming and marketing knowledge (especially that of women) at the centre of this change processes. Amplification of agroecology was seen as a long-term process that is led by social movements, but encompasses all actors in the food system, including consumers. As agroecology is understood as an ongoing process of transition, there is no pre-determined end goal in its amplification, save for the broad objective of transforming food systems around the world. 

Agroecology Learning Exchange - 2016-05-20

This report has been compiled by Janneke Bruil, Jessica Milgroom, Romée Marchand (all from ILEIA)
with support from Daniel Moss (AEF).

The Agroecology Learning Exchange was hosted in Uganda between May 10 and 13, 2016 by the AgroEcology Fund (AEF) and the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa. This report aims to capture the proceedings as well as the rich and valuable sharing that took place at the Exchange. The editorial team is grateful to all participants in the Exchange and the AgroEcology Fund for the time, effort, creativity and other resources put into the Exchange. We look forward to continuing to grow the movement for agroecology together.

Learning from experience. A manual for organising, analysing and documenting field based information - 2007-03-20

Jorge Chavez-Tafur, with Karen Hampson, Anita Ingevall and Rik Thijssen

Much has been said and written in recent years about the need to document the experiences of the many different development initiatives taking place all over the world, and thus learn from the successes and failures. Unfortunately, it is rare that time and effort is put into organising, analysing and documenting experiences, for various reasons. ILEIA, the Centre for Information on Low External Input and Sustainable Agriculture, has over the past 24 years contributed to the exchange of field-based information about the experiences of small scale farmers trying to improve their production in an environmentally sound manner. One of the major difficulties related to this aim has been, and remains, the lack of documentation of practical field activities taking place at community level. If achievements, difficulties overcome and learnings are not documented in some form, it is very difficult to share them. It is probable therefore that a lot of interesting information that could contribute to the further development of knowledge on ecologically sound agriculture has been lost, is in a format or language that is not accessible to all, or has not been fully reflected upon and presented.

This manual is an attempt to develop a method which will help people to document their experiences. It builds on the work of those who have written about or been involved in the documentation of  development initiatives for a long time, such as for example, Daniel Selener and his team at the International Institute for Rural Reconstruction (Quito, Ecuador), Oscar Jara (from the Centro de Estudios y Publicaciones Alforja in San Jose, Costa Rica), Maria de la Luz Morgan and Marfil Franke (Escuela para el Desarrollo, Lima, Peru), and Mario Ardon and the PASOLAC team (in San Salvador, El Salvador). It presents a practical method to help you describe and analyse your project, and thus document it fully. Our intention is to show that the documentation process does not have to be a difficult or complicated one.