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Name: Merckens Development Support Consultancy
Country: Germany
Active Since: 2013

Member of IFOAM – Organics International since 2014

Merckens Development Support Consultancy is a consulting firm specialising in providing agriculture development services in organic and biodynamic farming, with a focus on promoting biodiversity. It is an internationally recognised Demeter advisor that has been actively involved in projects worldwide for more than 30  years, especially in Latin America, Africa and Asia

The consultancy’s primary objective is to assist conventional farmers in transitioning to sustainable farming practices, such as organic and biodynamic agriculture. They advocate for organic and biodynamic approaches because, at their core, these practices directly address the critical issue of biodiversity loss.

“As we assist farms in transitioning, we strongly emphasise the adoption of practices that enhance biodiversity. This includes encouraging crop rotation and mixed cropping, as well as implementing measures such as planting hedges for wind protection and creating habitats for birds and insects.” Klaus Merckens, Managing Director of Merckens Consultancy.

Merckens works with Demeter, another member of IFOAM – Organics International to help farmers get the Demeter certification © Merckens

How the company fosters biodiversity

Organic farmers use effective alternatives to enhance soil fertility and combat pests and diseases, all while minimising the use of synthetic inputs. They employ concrete techniques such as crop rotation, mulching and manure application. By adopting these practices, biodiversity, including birds, earthworms, insects, and other organisms, is protected and not adversely impacted by harmful synthetic inputs. Consequently, such methods foster resilience within the farm.

Merckens Consultancy has gone the extra mile to actively address biodiversity by integrating the topic, along with aspects like waste reduction and water management, into its training modules. These modules act as a practical handbook for farmers, equipping them with the necessary knowledge and techniques required to engage in farming practices that actively contribute to the improvement and enhancement of biodiversity.

These trainings have proven invaluable as they not only provide farmers with comprehensive knowledge on organic farming and the effective promotion of biodiversity but also offer conventional farmers a first-hand opportunity to witness the practicality and applicability of biodynamic farming. Consequently, Merckens Consultancy ensures that the knowledge gained in these trainings is put into action through their advisory services.

Klaus Merckens during one of the farmer visits © Merckens

During their advisory services, the company conducts a thorough needs assessment, placing particular emphasis on evaluating the extent to which farms have addressed biodiversity concerns. They take concrete steps, such as designing crop rotation strategies, for example, centred around cash crops and developing agroforestry systems tailored specifically for cacao farms. By incorporating shadow trees and creating edges, predominantly using leguminous plant species, they actively promote a more biodiverse farming ecosystem. 

This hands-on approach not only demonstrates the practical implementation of sustainable farming practices but also strengthens the connection between the training provided and the real-world application of these methods. Merckens Consultancy recognises the importance of staying informed and up-to-date with the latest developments in the field.

In this regard, IFOAM – Organics International plays a crucial role by disseminating valuable information about organic farming and providing farmers’ advisors with access to a wide range of materials and case studies from around the world. This access allows advisors to draw from diverse experiences and learn from successful practices implemented elsewhere. However, it is important to acknowledge that there is still room for growth.

IFOAM – Organics International plays a crucial role by disseminating valuable information about organic farming. This access allows advisors to draw from diverse experiences and learn from successful practices implemented elsewhere.

The easiest way for citizens to support biodiversity is to buy organic-certified products from organic farmers © Merckens


We would like to thank Klaus Merckens, Managing Director of Merckens Consultancy, for his contribution to this article. Learn more about the Consultancy here.