Agroecology and technology

Digital platform empowers farmers in Colombia

Climate change is having a major impact on the work of farmers in Colombia. Although agroecology is an effective solution to strengthen their resilience, it requires time and knowledge. A digital platform provides a remedy here: by sharing their experiences and advice, the farmers strengthen their agricultural skills. At the same time, the women learn to gain confidence in their central role within the communities.


Country, region:
January 2023 - December 2024
300 direct beneficiaries, 1200 indirect
Total project budget:
CHF 102'036


Faced with worsening climatic conditions and the new challenges they present, farmers and livestock breeders need support to experiment and develop their own solutions. As the environment varies from region to region, only agroecological practices adapted to the respective ecosystems will strengthen the resilience of local food systems and the ability of family farms to adapt. The creation of agroecological micro-laboratories – called Agroecological Laboratories for Adaptation to Climate Change (AeD-LAB) – to enable farmers to experiment, exchange and build on their own knowledge.

Whether at the edge of a large rainwater basin or in the middle of green vegetable gardens, Luz Marina Ladino, a 47-year-old farmer from Colombia with sparkling eyes, explains and answers questions with ease and pride. A stark contrast to the woman she was two years ago: “I was very shy and didn’t dare speak to people. I had the feeling that a microphone would swallow me up,” she says, half ironically, half seriously. “I always hid behind people where they couldn’t see me.”

The farmer has come an impressive way since then. And she is not the only one. Because a lot has changed in the highlands of the Andes. A change that was brought about by agroecology.

At ease among many people, Luz Marina Ladino has changed a lot in just a few years. Here, she presents her farm, which has improved its yield thanks to agroecology. She also shares the knowledge she has acquired through exchanges with other farmers.

New perspectives

Colombia is particularly vulnerable to climate change. Most of the population lives at high altitudes or in the coastal regions, which are affected by both droughts and torrential rainfall. This makes it difficult for farming families to plan their harvests. Yields are becoming increasingly scarce and hunger is on the rise.

But with the right knowledge, adapted to local conditions, farmers can overcome the climatic challenges and combat hunger. To this end, SWISSAID has developed the pilot project “AeD-Labs”, which stands for “Agroecological Adaptation Labs”. The aim is to encourage farmers to experiment with simple and effective solutions to strengthen their ecosystems against climate change. They test agroecological methods in their fields, such as creating natural hedges from fodder plants, targeted fertilisation of the soil or feeding the animals homemade fodder.

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The power of sharing

Agroecology is the best answer to climate change. However, it is not a set solution, but is based on trial and error, improvement and adaptation. To facilitate the implementation of good practices, an app has been developed in collaboration with the non-profit start-up “Farmbetter” and farmers.

This app enables farmers with the same challenges to easily share and exchange their knowledge and innovations in the field of agroecology. In this way, certain innovations can be applied not only within a village, but also in similar environments, such as the Ecuadorian Andes and the “páramos” in Colombia.

The digital application breaks down borders, making knowledge accessible to more people. The platform also highlights agricultural progress, sensitises young people and draws attention to the immense work done by farmers.

Agroecology has changed the life of Luz Marina Ladino. After testing and adapting agroecological techniques on her land, she was able to share her experiences on the Aed-Labs platform.

A voice reclaimed

Women are the pillars of the community. They are responsible for the children, education and feeding the family. They are often the ones who stay in the villages to look after the family. They therefore play a central role in the fight against hunger, but with limited resources.

Growing up in a restrictive patriarchal society, they have never learnt to position themselves, speak publicly or act confidently. The project therefore aims to strengthen the women’s self-confidence and encourage them to participate in local institutions and initiatives. “Over the past two years, we have taken part in numerous workshops for women. We have met, freed ourselves from our fears and opened up to others. We have woken up and emancipated ourselves. Now we are aware of our abilities, rely on our resources and are no longer silent,” explains Luz Marina. And that has a positive impact on the entire community.

“AeD-Labs” is a success: through an active and inclusive approach, this project honours valuable local knowledge while introducing practical innovations that strengthen both the ecosystems and the farmers’ self-confidence. “I now dare to speak in public,” says Luz Marina, symbolising the regained voice of these women farmers who were once silent and are now bringing about great change in their communities and beyond.