Monday, June 15, 2020

Agroecology for Africa

Africa has huge population that can potentially provide manpower, sufficient land, good soil, and the sun, but the only problem is that capitalism does not support what is the best for the continent.

Agroecology has the potential to build resilience and sustainability at all levels, by reducing vulnerability to future supply shocks and trade disruptions, reconnecting people with local food production, and making fresh, nutritious food accessible and affordable to all. This, according to the scientists, will reduce the diet-related health conditions that make people susceptible to diseases, and provide fair wages and secure conditions to food and farm workers, thereby reducing their vulnerability to economic shocks and their risks of contracting and spreading illnesses. However, the findings show that very little agricultural research funding in Africa is being used to transform such food and farming systems. The scientists found that only 3 percent of Gates Foundation projects in Africa support sustainable, regenerative approaches or agroecology.  Agroecology taps into traditional agricultural knowledge and practices, plays an important role in sustainable farming by harnessing local ecosystems. Tapping into local ecosystems, for example via using biomass and biodiversity, the traditional farming practices that make up agroecology can improve soil quality and achieve food yields that provide balanced nutrition

A new study by researchers from BiovisionInternational Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems (IPES-Food) and the United Kingdom-based Institute of Development Studies shows that such sustainable and regenerative farming techniques have either been neglected, ignored or disregarded by major donors…most governments, both in developing and developed countries, still favour “green revolution” approaches, with the belief that chemical-intensive, large-scale industrial agriculture is the only way to produce sufficient food.

“These approaches have failed,” said Herren, winner of the 1995 World Food Prize and 2013 Right Livelihood Award. “They have failed ecosystems, farming communities, and an entire continent,” he said.
Dr Lusike Wasilwa, a senior research scientist at the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation (KALRO), believes that donors are investing more money in industrial agriculture not because it is the magic bullet for Kenya and other African countries, but because they have an agenda.
“Kenya needs to wake up and find its position in production of crops such as avocado and macadamia nuts, which are largely grown using sustainable and largely environment-friendly methods,” Wasilwa, who is also the director of Crops Systems at KALRO, explained. “No donor is willing to support such crops that could easily make Africa rich,” she said. “We should not let donors set our research agenda because they are not going to fund research that will help Africa make money,” the scientist told IPS. 

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