SHIFT Prize: Award for Transformative Agroecological Research

Farming Systems Comparison in the Tropics (SysCom), a project carried out by the Research Institute for Organic Agriculture (FiBL) wins the 2021 SHIFT Prize for Transformative Agroecological Research for Development.

In light of the triple burden of malnutrition, depletion of natural resources, severe consequence of climate change and the loss of biodiversity, the need for a profound transformation of global agricultural and food systems becomes increasingly evident. Agroecology is emerging as a viable alternative pathway to enhance the resilience and sustainability of farming systems by applying ecological principles to agriculture and ensuring a regenerative use of natural resources and ecosystem services while also addressing the need for socially equitable food systems within which people can exercise choice over what they eat and how and where it is produces.

The SHIFT Prize aims to recognize collaborative research for development projects and initiatives, which have made an exemplary contribution to the agroecological transformation of food systems. Among the 28 applicants, three research projects were selected as finalists by an independent jury.

Towards Food Sustainability: Reshaping the coexistence of different food systems in South America and Africa (FoodSAF)

The project by the Centre for Development and Environment (CDE) aims to provide evidence-based, transdisciplinary scientific knowledge for innovation strategies and policy options for food systems sustainability. In a collective action phase, 13 “Transformative Pilot Actions” (TPA) were co-designed and co-implemented between researchers and food systems stakeholder. Read the factsheet


Farming Systems Comparison in the Tropics (SysCom)

Through this project, the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL) compares different production systems to obtain scientific evidence on their potential and limitations in order to develop systems that contribute to sustainable agriculture. Thereby, they conduct long-term experiments, as well as participatory on-farm research to ensure direct benefits for local communities. Read the factsheet


Malawi Farmer-led Agroecology Initiatives by Soils, Food and Healthy Communities (SFHC)

Initially designed as a participatory research project, the Soils, Food and Healthy Communities (SFHC) organization developed into a farmer-led non-profit organization that aims to support rural Malawians in building sustainable, healthy, equitable, and resilient communities. Thereby, gender and social equity play a crucial role for improving food security, nutrition and livelihoods of smallholder farming households. Read the factsheet


On September 15, the SysCom project carried out by the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL) was announced as the winner of the 2021 SHIFT Prize for Transformative Agroecological Research for Development.

Watch the video about the winning project here: FiBL Projekt für biologische Landwirtschaft in den Tropen gewinnt internationalen Forschungspreis – YouTube

As the jury member Olivia Yambi puts it: «[SysCom] provides evidence for food systems transformation and contributes to the debate and potential policy changes to support agroecology, organic agriculture and diversity […].»

The SysCom coordinator and Head of Department for International Cooperation of FiBL Beater Huber, expressed that: «The award is an excellent motivation for our team, and it comes at the right moment: we have just completed an extensive midterm review with all partners where we concluded that we want to engage stronger in national and supra-national policy dialogues on the sustainable transition of the food systems. The SHIFT prize will help us gain awareness and link up with respective networks.»

The award ceremony will be held at the Agroecology Europe Forum 2021 in Barcelona in mid-November.