FAO Symposium Promotes Agroecology in Africa
On November 5-6, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) hosted a regional symposium on Agroecology for Food Security and Nutrition in Sub-Saharan Africa. During the event in Dakar, Senegal, over 300 people, including various African leaders and civil society organizations, gathered to explore and promote agroecology as the future of farming in Africa.
Groundswell International was actively engaged in the discussions in Senegal. Peter Gubbels, Groundswell’s Director of Action Learning and Advocacy for West Africa, was called upon by the FAO to serve as moderator for a panel discussion regarding public policies and institutions’ role in supporting agroecology. Peter also took part in the group representing Groundswell’s partner organization, the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA), throughout the symposium. AFSA is actively working with over twenty-five African civil society organizations and networks, collectively representing hundreds of millions of small-scale farmers, to urge African governments to adopt agroecology as the future of farming in Africa.
Dr. Million Belay Ali, coordinator of AFSA, says: “Africa has a solution. With policy support and research engagement, it is possible to enhance the productivity of our seeds without destroying our environment. We have a responsibility to our children. We do not need to adopt a mode of agriculture which is destroying the European and North American soils and peoples.”
AFSA has launched a new series of African case studies to show the benefits of agroecology, making an evidence-based, coherent case for ecological farming as the sustainable long-term solution for farming in Africa. The case studies in this collection show how agroecology benefits Africa in terms of food security and food sovereignty, nutrition, poverty reduction, climate change adaptation and mitigation, biodiversity conservation, cultural and gender sensitivity, democracy, and economic performance. Highlighted studies include:
- Improving Traditional Systems of Soil Fertility: Increasing quality agricultural production in the Savannah region of Togo,
- Bees Bring a New Buzz to Family Farming in Zimbabwe: Promoting beekeeping to help farmers break out of poverty, and
- Promoting Indigenous Maize in Bugiri District, Uganda, among others.
With agroecology, African farmers produce abundant healthy food sustainably. As Elizabeth Mpofu, International General Coordinator of La Via Campesina, commented during the seminar: “We need our governments to protect us and ensure our children a future in which they can feed themselves with nutritious food supported by a healthy environment!”
To learn more about Groundswell’s work in Africa, visit http://www.groundswellinternational.org/where-we-work/west-africa/.
Photo: FAO, Sandy Haessner