From 02 to 06 June 2022, the closing event of the Transitional Agriculture project took place in Neckarsulm, Germany. This was the first face-to-face event in the framework of the project, after the seminars could previously only take place digitally since 2020 due to Corona.
The participants from Ghana, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Rwanda and Germany traveled to Neckarsulm on June 02, 2022 and were warmly hosted by the welcoming committee consisting of AKI's project leader Ms. Julia Fendel and AKI's project assistant Ms. Nane Hummel as well as the program manager of Andreas Hermes Academy Ms. Dr. Anoush Ficiyan. During the dinner at the hotel, the group was welcomed by Mrs. Nicole Bolomey, International Business Manager of Andreas Hermes Academy, and had for the first time the opportunity to exchange and get to know each other physically.
On June 3, the farmer association “Bäuerliche Erzeugergemeinschaft Schwäbisch Hall (BESH)” was chosen as destination for the excursion, where the participants gained valuable insights into organic farming and its value chains under the excellent guidance of Mr. Hardy Mann from BESH. After a presentation by the producer association about its organizational structures and marketing concepts, a BESH member, a very innovative cattle fattening with pasture management in Crailsheim was presented by the farm manager Mr. Bernd Ehrmann. In addition, the group learned more about the development of organic spices and spice blends for regional meat and sausage specialties during a tour of the BESH organic spice factory Sonnenhof, as well as about the fair and partnership-based cultivation of spices using the example of the BESH project with India and Zanzibar. Afterwards, another BESH member, a pig fattening farm in Jungholzhausen, was visited, which was also one of the highlights of the excursion. In a technical discussion with the farm manager Mrs. Marion Walter, the participants were able to learn interesting facts about organic pig farming and its products. After the group had visited the "Schwäbisch-Hällische" grazing pigs, which are kept in the adjacent forest, the large new innovative pig stable was inspected. At the end of the excursion, the participants were full of new ideas and suggestions on how a successful agricultural organization with a focus on marketing concepts along the value chain can succeed.
On June 4 and 5, a 1.5-day workshop was held on the topic of generational change and succession in a national farmer organization. This was moderated by Mrs. Dr. Maria Gerster-Bentaya, who has accompanied the project from the beginning, and Mr. David Bermudez. In larger discussion groups as well as in mixed but also country-specific group work, the participants' own experiences with success stories and challenges were lively discussed and exchanged with the other participants. In addition, participants had space and time to prepare themselves for the General Assembly of the World Farmers' Organization (WFO) in Budapest, to which they were to travel after the workshop in Germany. In an anonymous survey at the end of the workshop, it became clear that these 1.5 days of face-to-face workshop had moved the participants very positively and that the exchange with the other participants from different countries, which could take place for the first time after 2.5 years in person, was very fruitful. In this way, many new ideas emerged for their own farmer organizations, especially on the topic of generational change within a farmer organization, which the participants would like to deepen further.
After the workshop, the cultural program began with a visit to Guttenberg Castle, where the participants were given a guided tour of the castle and learned more about its history, followed by a falcon flying demonstration. In the evening, five of the participants still attended a Christian Pentecost mess at the Catholic “Deutschordensmünster St. Peter and Paul” Church in Heilbronn, which the pastor held in English especially for this small group.
During the visit to the winery of the state capital Stuttgart on Whit Monday, June 6, the participants could get an impression from the excellent wine expert Mr. Axel Musch how the special culture wine can be grown, stored and processed organically and could convince themselves of the high quality during the wine tasting. In the evening, the group traveled to Budapest, Hungary, for the WFO General Assembly. HERE you can read more about it.