Data like the length of the maize cob are measured by the project team on the SysCom field trial at Chuka, Kenya.
Project team measuring plant data
Results from the SysCom trial in Kenya show the potential of organic agriculture to improve profitability and soil fertility of farmers like Josephine Ithiru from Chuka.
Farmer preparing compost

News & Events

Media Release: Organic agriculture improves profitability and soil fertility in Kenya

First results from a long-term study in Kenya show the potential of organic farming to improve the soil fertility and economic profitability compared to the conventional approach.

The positive impacts of organic agriculture on productivity and profitability, soil fertility, plant health, biodiversity, resource use efficiency and climate change mitigation have already been established under temperate environments (e.g. DOK-trial ). Though, these facts are yet to be proven under tropical conditions and SysCom project aims to fill this knowledge gap by evaluating the performance of different farming systems over long-term. The first results after 6 years of cultivation in Kenya show the strong potential of organic and emphasize the need to continue observing the performance in mid and long-term. A comprehensive international media release including the results can be downloaded here:

SysCom Kenya international media release (306 KB)

For more information on SysCom Kenya and the SysCom programme you can download these detailed results and background paper or the link to the respective page on the website:

SysCom Kenya background and results (491 KB) 
Link: Project site: Kenya

SysCom Kenya partners (486 KB)
Link: Partners: Kenya

SysCom programme background and results (438 KB)
Link: About the Project

High resolution pictures and graphs can be downloaded from here:

  • Picture 1 (5.3 MB): Data like the length of the maize cob are measured by the project team on the SysCom field trial at Chuka, Kenya
  • Picture 2 (7.9 MB): Preparation of compost like the smallholder farmer Josephine Ithiru from Chuka is producing, is an important component of organic agriculture (Quote Josephine Ithiru, Chuka, 4th February 2015: "Despite the absence of rain, I expect a better harvest this year than before because of organic agriculture.It improves soil fertility and moisture.")
  • Picture 3 (6.0 MB): Soil moisture is measured on the SysCom field plots at Chuka
  • Picture 4 (5.9 MB): On the plots at Thika (picture) - as well as in Chuka and the farm plots - soil samples are taken to analyse them at the laboratory
  • Picture 5 (4.4 MB): The soil samples are analysed at the laboratory of KALRO (Kenya Agriculture and Livestock Research Organization) in Muguga
  • Picture 6 (6.6 MB): Smallholder farmer James Kuria Mwangi from Karinga Village tested different fertilizer mixture with rock phosphate within the "Participatory On-farm Research" component of the SysCom programme (Quote James Kuria Mwangani, Karinga Village, 5th February 2015: "I would like to hand over my grand children a fertile soil and the opportunity to eat healthier in the future.")
  • Graph 1: Effect of high input organic and conventional agriculture on gross margin (cumulative) at Chuka, Kenya (with premium prices)
  • Graph 2: Effect of high input organic and conventional agriculture on soil potassium (K) at Chuka, Kenya

Interview with Gurbir Bhullar (FiBL) at the Agroecology Symposium

Dr. Gurbir Singh Bhullar, Program Leader SysCom at the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL), Switzerland discusses howParticipatory On-farm Research (POR) is able to provide solutions that are tailored to individual contexts and problems. The interview was recorded in occasion of the International Symposium on Agroecology for Food Security and Nutrition, held at FAO HQ in Rome on 18-19 September 2014.

Learning Event for Capacity Development: Participatory technology development and long term systems research to enhance the sustainability of agricultural systems – significance, contribution and challenges (August 2014)

Some glimpses from the learning event

With an objective of further developing the capacities of the research staff and fostering learning through mutual exchange, we organized a North-South learning event at FiBL during the last week of August 2014. The participants from our partner countries (Kenya India and Bolivia) joined this event and stayed with us for one week from 23. - 31. August. This event provided, for the first time, an opportunity of mutual learning and sharing among the teams located in geographically distant SysCom countries. Besides the training sessions on new research methodologies, technical tools, data management, quality control and reporting, a specific emphasise was laid on participatory research methodologies.

"Participatory technology development and long-term systems research to enhance the sustainability of agricultural systems" (354 KB) (Brief report on the event held in Switzerland)