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Research programs

Overview of the research projects

We promote applied research on the model and research farm in order to jointly develop sustainable models for small-scale tropical agriculture.

Research enables new objective insights into our innovative approaches and can critically examine their effectiveness.

The exchange between researchers from Switzerland and Togo broadens horizons and promotes mutual understanding.

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Research project "TREAS'R": a collaboration between ETH Zurich, the University of Lomé in partnership with the association "Glück für Togo"

 Research project TREAS'R 

The applied research project TREAS'R with the ForDev research group at ETH Zurich and LBEV at Lomé University runs from 2020-2022 and is financed by the Swiss National Fund with around half a million Swiss francs. Dr. Ivan Novotny from ETH Zurich visits the farm regularly. He conducts many interviews in order to understand the different agricultural strategies of the farmers in Donomadé. He also analyzes what it takes for our solutions on the model farm to be accepted by the surrounding people and implemented in the long term. For this purpose, a board game is being developed that simulates reality and contains possible scenarios, such as the formation of an agricultural cooperative based on the FeMoDo model.

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Ivan Novotny (ETH Zurich) out and about in the village.

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An existing board game is being tested in Donomadé

 Researchers from near and far on the farm 

From Togo are Dr Folega, Dr. Diwideba, Dr Pereki and Dr. Atakpma, as well as various students involved in the TREAS'R project and again and again on the farm. They examine the soils on the farm and in the fields of the pioneer farmers, measure the biodiversity of plants and animals and measure how much CO2 is stored. Of course, the effective harvests of the various agricultural practices are also compared. This allows us to quantify the ecological and economic effects of our innovative agriculture. They are also analyzing land use changes in the region over time using satellite images and Wingtra's drone images from 2019 in order to make forecasts for the future

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Cooperation with ETH

As part of the research activities, a renowned soil expert, Prof. Dr. Emmanuel Frossard from ETH Zurich visited the farm and exchanged ideas with the researchers on site, as well as our experts. It is planned that in 2022 Prof. Frossard and Dr. Novotny and Dr. Dray will look after a student from ETH Zurich in 2021, who is involved in the research project on the farm.

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Emile and Jaques, two students prepare fish food together for the tilapia feeding experiments

Internships and bachelor theses with HAFL students in Bern

Since April 2021, Célia and Jacques, two students from the Bern University of Applied Sciences for Agriculture HAFL, have been on FeMoDO for a six-month internship. You each have a small research project. Célia installs long-term soil monitoring for tropical permaculture soils and Jacques works on sustainable fish farming. He analyzes the water quality of our ponds and makes feeding experiments to see to what extent the growth of the tilapias can be improved [ see also] .

K800_5Soil analysis on the farm of student Célia (right) and her supervisor Liv von
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Two lecturing experts from HAFL, Thomas Janssens and Liv Kellermann, visited the farm in early summer 2021 and worked with the student interns on their research projects.

Internships 2022: 
For the coming year 2022 we have advertised 2 internships at FeMoDo. 

Left: Liv and Célia, supervisor and student analyze a soil profile together. Right: Célia and Happy in the field

 Internships for 2022 

"Design in the context of development cooperation"

Carmen Blättler developed a physical farm model as part of her master's thesis at the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences, together with the population. This model made from local materials helps the farm workers to organize the work in the fields and also allows a fruitful dialogue with the farmers who can neither write nor read.

Milédou: Places of interaction and exchange (model description) (DE)

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Carmen Blättler's farm model in action

 New perspectives for the team 

As part of the research activities, our experts Happy and Attisso have also been hired. Happy the sociologist supports Ivan with the interviews and Attisso the agroecology expert accompanies the field tests. New perspectives open up in exchange with the researchers on the farm and research trips, further training courses and other projects for the experts in Togo are planned.

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