At the US Food Sovereignty Alliance Assembly earlier this month, CAGJ activists were inspired by stories of how agroecology is essential for a community to achieve food sovereignty. Jesus Vázquez of Organisation Boricua said, “Food Sovereignty without agroecology is just a slogan, agroecology without food sovereignty is just a science,” speaking of the interconnected nature of the two concepts, and the necessity of simultaneously working towards a food system that embodies both. CAGJ’s belief in agroecology was reinforced a few weeks ago when the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA), in which many of our close partners are active, released a powerful new statement on agroecology.
AFSA views agroecology as the antithesis of industrial agriculture systems. It recognizes the holistic nature of agroecological farming practices: i.e. where farming works with nature, builds soil, strengthens knowledge of traditional practices by small-scale family farmers, and increases food sovereignty. ASFA’s statement recognizes the gradual nature of shifting African agriculture away from conventional farming practices towards agroecology. The statement notes that agroecology “is about starting with what’s there now; it’s about building the soil as a living organism and taking advantage of the incredible work of trillions of micro-organisms; it’s about managing pests through natural practices starting with increased biodiversity; and it’s about focusing knowledge developing at the local level.”
AFSA boldly calls on African governments and policy makers to take a number of actions that will ultimately embrace agroecology in both regional and national policy. It asks a crucial question: “Does Africa want to take its farmers down the industrial agriculture route just because there is money on the table?” Or will policy makers take action towards a sustainable solution?
AGRA Watch supports AFSA’s statement on agroecology in Africa, and views agroecology as the viable, and critically important, alternative to a second Green Revolution on the continent.