General

African countries convene in Addis to find solutions for continent’s food problems

ADDIS ABABA— At the very height of Climate Change induced hazards, 32 African countries converged Monday in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to set a roadmap for better understanding and inclusion of Agroecology as a means of forging the next best solution for Africa’s food problems.

The three-day conference is one of many endeavours by the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA) to offset the climate catastrophe through a major agroecology policy solution and curb the negative effects it has on Africans’ social, economic, and ecological well-being.

The conference (AFSA) was organized in conjunction with Consortium on Climate Change Ethiopia and Environment Protection Authority to foster the prioritization of agroecology as a means of transforming the agri-food system, building resilience, and enabling small-scale farmers, pastoralists and fishers to adapt to climate change.

Participants including farmers, Women Groups, Faith Based Organisations, Fisher folks and the media were drawn from 32 African countries including Nigeria, Uganda, Ethiopia, South Africa, Ghana, Kenya and Mozambique among others.

AFSA General Coordinator, Million Belay said the purpose of the high-level engagement was to bring consensus among African Actors on climate, such as governments, civil society organizations, Academia, religious leaders and media among others.

He said it was important to bring this issue to COP 27 because that is a place where agriculture and adaptation are going to be discussed as it is high on the agenda.

“In our engagement with African group of negotiators, we could see that they do not have a believe or trust on Agroecology, so we just want to create a consensus amongst the civil society organisations to be transmitted to our various governments” explained Belay.

He mentioned that there is a need to meaningfully engage small-scale food producers and indigenous communities, including women and youth, in the COP27 negotiations and beyond as they are the ones who manage landscapes across Africa. 

He urged them to reject false solutions that threaten land, seeds and breeds and increase reliance on global agrochemical corporations. 

He cited refocusing climate financing on sustainable food systems.

“Direct climate finance to agroecology is a far-reaching and very practical solution. The time is now for an appropriate and deliberate increase in financing for small-scale farmers, fishers, pastoralists, and indigenous communities to deliver sustainable food systems through agroecology,” he added.

Dr. Balley said the consensus was not only aimed at COP 27 but on the way and beyond that. 

“What shall we do before COP 27, what shall we do at COP 27 and what shall we do post COP 27, so it is to refine our agenda at COP 27. To collaborate and unite our agenda for Africa. So, by bringing all these actors together, we are creating a broad base for advocacy to issues related to the subject matter to discuss, deliberate and advocate”.

He maintained that there was so much confusion about what kind of agriculture Africa should have, towards adapting to the climate crisis that is coming.

“Some of us advocate for agroecology, some say it is climate-smart agriculture while others say it is nature-based solution, so there is a lot of confusion, lots of agendas which emanate from outsiders”.

He noted that as a continent the agenda was not clear, “Africa traditionally has diverse food but increasingly we are losing our diversity mainly because of the kinds of policies that we are promoting”.

“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.”

In November 2022, Egypt will host the 27th Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC (COP27) in Sharm El-Sheikh, with a view to building on previous successes and paving the way for future ambition.

According to www.cop27.eg/, the event is “a golden opportunity for all stakeholders to rise to the occasion and tackle effectively the global challenge of climate change facilitated by Egypt on the African continent”.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK