The IBS system is an environmentally sustainable, economically feasible, simple and pro-poor holistic farming and environmental health improvement system. Its key concept is to recycle as much biomass and energy as possible in ecologically friendly ways and to optimize agricultural outputs while minimizing external inputs such as pesticides and chemical fertilizers. As a manifestation to this principle, the Integrated Biofarm Centre (IBC), a system and sub-system based sustainable agricultural and natural resource management model first emerged in 1995 on the outskirts of Addis Ababa and has since been established in other cities and villages of Ethiopia as well as three other African countries, including the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mozambique and Côte D’Ivoire.
At these IBCs, several appropriate technologies have been tested, validated and demonstrated, including alternative energy such as biogas and solar panels, double-digging, composting, water harvest and utilization techniques such as drip irrigation, hydroponics, modern beehives, botanicals, viticulture, sericulture and integrated pest and vector management. These systems, approaches and technologies used at the IBCs have been proven to restore the environment, improve livelihood and create wealth.
Collectively, these increase the sustainability of farming activities and increases farm income, thereby improving the resilience of the farmers’ ways of life, something that is essential for food-producers faced with the uncertainty of the impacts of future climate change on natural environments. To this aspect, the IBS program entails training and experience to increase farmers’ resilience and equity to natural climate variability. Furthermore, the integrated method assures less environmental damage and positively seeks to maintain natural environments justifying it to be both holistic and restorative with immense ecosystem and biodiversity benefits.