With this issue, The Organic Farmer, one of the principal agricultural magazines in Africa, celebrates its number 100 publication since inception.
TOF issue number 100! This translates to 800 print pages with information for farmers and about farmers that we have published during the more than eight years the magazine has been in circulation. The journey has been on a long and exciting one; from the first issue of 10,000 copies, which we published way back in April 2005, to the current issue number 100 with a print run of 32,000 copies.
Over the years, TOF has made thousands of friends within the small-scale farming community in Kenya, East Africa and beyond, the community of scientists in the country, extension officers from the Ministry of Agriculture and even in colleges and schools. To date TOF, as farmers popularly refer to it, is very well known all over the country.
The hundreds of articles and pictures, through which TOF used to pass key messages on organic farming, were by far not a one-way information transfer channel. Farmers did their part by sharing tips and ideas for articles as well as reacting and or responding to letters, phone calls, e-mails and SMS. We are thankful for the huge feedback from farmers. For us working with the farmers is inspiring and motivating. The production of magazine, however, teamwork. Lucy Macharia, the administrator, and James Wathuge, the designer, contributed tremendously to the success of the magazine.
We wrap up this short introduction with a word of thanks to the publisher, icipe, and Biovision Foundation for Ecological Development in Switzerland, for tirelessly shouldered the cost of production and distribution of The Organic Farmer magazine all these years.
Message from Andreas Scriber, the CEO of Biovision Foundation for Ecological Development
The Organic Farmer has turned out to be an amazing success story. That you are holding the 100th edition in your hands is truly remarkable. It shows that a huge void was filled when the magazine was launched in 2005, with access to vital information being a big problem for small-scale farmers, not just in Kenya, but all over Africa.
Accordingly, the rapid growth of the magazine was demand driven. Today TOF reaches up to 240,000 readers and the Internet site biovision-infonet.org is visited by over 900 people a day. Weekly radio shows, the SMS service and access to information through smart phones complement TOF and vastly increased its reach.
The information on sustainable agricultural production is key to assisting millions of smallholders, who are, as is widely recognized, crucial for ensuring food security for the population, creating jobs and maintaining a healthy environment. All of which form the basis for any healthy economy.
However, the need for extension services and ongoing support for smallholders is traditionally neglected by many policy makers who pay lip service to the enormous performance of the people who feed the country.
For these reasons, Biovision Foundation, together with icipe, has supported TOF from the beginning, and will continue to do so in the years to come.