Traditional farming systems all around the world are complex and tailored to local situations, enabling family farmers to efficiently confront adverse conditions and meet their basic needs. Indigenous knowledge and traditional agroecological practices offer a valuable set of solutions adapted to the local conditions which have been built with centuries of experience.
Today, however, this indigenous and traditional knowledge faces a serious risk to disappear, due to a progressive homogenization of farming practices under the paradigm of “modern agriculture” that is largely based on external inputs and imported knowledge.
VSFs use participatory training techniques in order to integrate this valuable local knowledge into enhanced local farming practices. The different agroecological methodologies are a great inspiration to VSF’s work in this field. A successful example is the Pastoralist Field Schools (PFS) promoted by VSF and the UN Food & Agriculture Organisation (FAO) to empower participants and the wider community and to stimulate local innovation through participatory learning techniques.
Furthermore, VSF international’s members support several producers organisations in Africa, Latin America and Asia with the aim of strengthening their organisational capacities in the implementation of technical assistance, procurement of inputs, storage, processing or credit. Special attention is given to capacity building of women groups and women peasant association, as a way to foster equality and for the key role they play in their communities in regards to nutrition and food production. We also support the creation of partnerships and networks between local producers organizations, NGOs and research institutes.