The Tool for Agroecology Performance Evaluation (TAPE) is an innovative framework to evaluate the performance of agricultural systems and create global evidence on how agroecology supports the transition to sustainable food systems at different scales and locations and to inform policy-making.
Following a request by FAO Member Countries, this tool was developed through a participatory process involving a large number of FAO technical divisions as well as external partners. As the last step in its development and with the support of many local partners, TAPE is currently undergoing a piloting process in different regions worldwide to fine tune its application, ensure its local adaptability and global data robustness.
On 15-17 July 2020, the Bio-district della Via Amerina e delle Forre, in the Italian province of Viterbo, hosted the launch of the piloting process for the European and Central Asian context. Through a partnership with Schola Campesina, the International Agroecology Training based in the Bio-district, Centre, FAO hosted a virtual training session on how to pilot the tool in Kyrgyzstan, Georgia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. The training was followed by a field-testing of TAPE in 14 farms of the Bio-district.
“For us, TAPE is a tool to assess on what stage we are in the transition to agroecology, what we have achieved and where we should focus more. Agroecology is not a fix dot but a process. In the same way, the 10 elements of Agroecology adopted by FAO show that one would never end the work on enhancing the diversity at farm level, the capacity of synergies and recycling, the capacity to build and co-create knowledge, and the improvement of responsible governance issues. Food systems based on agroecology are more resilient, equal and fair and TAPE is a tool to show this with evidences,” said Andrea Ferrante, an agroecologist and coordinator of Schola Campesina.
Barbara Vitali from the Bio Bagnolese farm perceives TAPE as a great tool to assess the ecological sustainability of the territory she lives and works for, appreciating the intuitive visual graphs used to represent the levels of agroecological transition of the different farms.
“TAPE is a tool to understand what needs to be improved at local levels and what are the limitations of the respective institutional enabling environments to achieve wider transitions to agroecology. For instance, in the Bio Bagnolese, the tool showed that farmers are well advanced in the transition and there is a great opportunity to scale up agroecology through conducive public policies to support the overall sustainability of the territory and the different processes of transition. Once such kind of information is collected through TAPE at local, national and global levels, FAO can provide targeted assistance and support in policy development by building on synergies across different contexts, countries and regions,” reported Carolina Starr, FAO Agricultural officer from European and Central Asia region.
The analysis of agroecological transition in 14 farms of the territory of the Bio-district della Via Amerina e delle Forre showed that the highest element on average is Culture and Food Tradition, due to the high importance given in the territory to local and traditional food and to a delicious but mostly healthy and nutritious diet. Human and social values also scored very high on average, due to the natural, economic and cultural wealth of the territory.
The pilot confirmed TAPE as a strong tool for assessing agroecological transitions and identified areas for further discussions and development, in particular, in terms of measuring the loss and conservation of knowledge and the response to crisis in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. The methodology applied in Italy will be replicated in the Balkans, Caucasus and Central Asia. With the strong support of national partners from Kyrgyzstan (Nomadic Livestock Keepers’ Development Fund and ADI), Georgia (Elkana) and Bosna and Herzegovina (Agroecology and Community Seed Bank Initiatives), data will be collected and jointly analyzed in the upcoming months. Once the piloting phase has been concluded in the different regions, a global validation workshop will be conducted to adjust and fine-tune the methodology and agree on next steps with implementing partners.