20 March 2012
- Coming up
The islands of the Indian Ocean have launched, under the auspices of the IOC (with support from the CIRAD and financial support from Europe, the French & Réunion Government) a new information resource on the web: the Indian Ocean Biodiversity & Agriculture portal.
It's finally here - the Bio & Agri OI Web Portal is now open to business, where you can discover more about the natural and agricultural heritage of the islands of the Indian Ocean. This region is one of the world's biodiversity hotspots, and each of the five member states of the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC), - Comoros, Reunion, Madagascar, Mauritius and the Seychelles - have pledged to preserve this biodiversity.
In order to safeguard our biodiversity, members of the Indian Ocean agricultural community have agreed to adopt more environmentally friendly policies.
"These new policies are basically equitable management of natural resources, to improve soil fertility, protect crops against pests and improve irrigation and using fewer resources, while maintaining a satisfactory level of production. This is the challenge of today’s agro-ecology, and the main concern of national authorities will be to address climate change," says Tahina Rakotondralambo, coordinator of the Regional Agro-ecology & Climate Change Initiative (IRACC), launched by the IOC and financed by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). This will enable farmers to better cope with droughts, overcome the difficulty for islanders of obtaining supplies, so as to enhance their autonomy. Aims also include avoiding resource depletion. These are the practices the IOC member states have pledged to promote.
The Bio & Agri OI web portal is part of this initiative. The address of the portal is http://agriculture-biodiversite-oi.org, and is designed for :
"The Bio & Agri portal was officially launched by the steering committee of the Regional Agro-ecology & Climate Change Initiative (IRACC), organized by the IOC in December 2011. The project is part of the Plant Protection Network (e-PRPV) and is funded by Europe, the French and Réunion Governments. This is an new way of promoting agro-ecology and sharing successful practices," said Eric Jeuffrault of the Directorate for Food, Agriculture and Forestry, the e-PRPV National Focal Point.
Currently, a network of correspondents is being established with the support of Progress Volunteers (France Volontaires) in Reunion. This network will supply the web portal and an associated web directory called "Koal IT e-Agro", developed by e-Koal Reunion. It will be coordinated from the center of plant protection in Réunion (e-PRPV project) and the Indian Ocean Commission in Mauritius (IRACC project). Correspondents will be based in each island’s Ministry of Agriculture. "Correspondents are appointed in each island as part of the IRACC and in May will be trained in Mauritius. A Reunion Progress Volunteer can come to support them on the portal and web directory when necessary," says Sophie Della Mussia, communications officer at CIRAD, who initially came up with the idea for the portal. Ms. Della Mussia states: "The portal will evolve over time to adapt to the needs of its users. We hope that this new medium will improve information sharing between the islands and raise the visibility of the Indian Ocean region. In the future, we may offer, with relevant partners, a televisual program dedicated to agriculture and nature in the Indian Ocean, to educate a wider audience about the challenges of biodiversity conservation, ecology in agriculture (agro-ecology) and food security."
As a foretaste of a future TV program for the Indian Ocean, visit the Web TV site which currently offers stories, profiles and many other videos:
The launch of the Bio & Agri portal took place during the French Sustainable Development Week, from April 1 to 7.