ALLIANCE for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA) in collaboration with the Consortium on Climate Change Ethiopia and Environment Protection Authority has organized a three-day continental conference to discuss and create a road map for embracing agroecology.
The conference will be held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia as a workable and sustainable adaptation and mitigation response to climate change challenges ahead of COP27 to be held in November this year.
The key conference will bring on board more than 100 participants from 32 African countries such as South Africa, Uganda, Kenya, Zimbambwe, Zambia, Ghana, Senegal, Gambia, Tanzania, Sudan, Rwanda, Mozambique, Nigeria, and Congo.
The conference brought together farmers, women groups, faith-based organizations (FBOs), fisher folks, Government officials, media, African actors on climate, civil society organizations (CSOs), cattle breeders, and agroecological practitioners.
Others were service providers, donors and development partners, financial institutions, academic researchers, and diplomatic missions.
Speaking during the conference, AFSA General Coordinator, Million Belay said that the aim of the conference was to bring together various agroecology and climate change stakeholders to discuss the way forward and have collective agendas for the coming COP27 to be held at the end of the year in Egypt.
Belay said that it was important to bring the agenda of agroecology as a possible solution for climate change to be taken to COP27 because it is one of the right places where agriculture will be discussed as one of the high-level agendas.
Still, agroecology seems not to be believed to be one of the best workable solutions for climate change by some of the African group negotiators, therefore during these three days we are going to create a consensus among civil society organizations which will be transmitted to our various Governments” said Belay.
Dr. Balley said the consensus was not only aimed at COP27 but also currently and beyond COP27.
“To improve our agenda at COP27, we need to work together and unite towards our agenda as Africans. Therefore, we hope that by bringing together all these actors we are creating a wider base for advocacy to issues related to agroecology and climate change to be discussed now, at the COP27, and after COP27,”, said Belay.
Belay added that there have been various misunderstandings about the kind of agriculture Africans should embrace in consideration of adapting to the coming climate change crisis.
“We hope that who are attending this continental conference will come up with one solution to the climate crises ahead of us because some advocate for agroecology, some see climate smart agriculture while others say it is nature-based solution, so there is a lot of confusion, lots of agendas which come from outsiders,” he added.
He noted that as a continent the agenda was not clear, “Africa traditionally has diverse food but increasingly and Africa is losing its diversity mainly because of the kinds of policies that are being promoted.
“So, we are trying to propose a policy both at the country and continent level which will be coherent amongst us all as often we have lots of policies negating against each other while also bringing food access from all over the world.”
He however said that there have been some impressive responses from various African Governments when it comes to agroecology and food sovereignty giving examples of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), North African Countries, and others which have started studies on how to explore and implement agroecology.
AFSA Programme Coordinator, Bridget Mugambe said that the AFSA membership in 2018 decided to start a campaign to make agroecology a major policy solution to the climate disasters that is badly affecting African’s social, economic, and ecological well-being.
Mugambe said that the climate change crisis in the African continent is very extreme, especially in the farming, food system and production and women are the ones affected most because they are the food producers.
She added that some African countries are pushing for policies and putting pressure on small farmers to go for industrial agriculture initiatives like usage of GMO seeds as well as a chemical input which are coming from fossil fuels.
“Clearly, the goal of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5 above pre-industrial levels is not going to be achieved by more industrialization. AFSA is driving the African transition to the agroecology-the antithesis of industrial farming.” Added Mugabe.