The statement ‘Agroecology: the bold future for Africa’ was produced by African Civil Societies under the leadership of AFSA and it has been greatly celebrated and circulated. Here, we reverberate the punch lines from that statement while recollecting the undertakings that accompanied the statement and the progress as of yet.
‘Agroecology: the bold future for Africa’ was released targeting the ‘Regional Symposium on Agroecology for Food Security and Nutrition in Sub-Saharan Africa’, which was organized by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and hosted by the government of Senegal from 5 to 6, November 2015. The Symposium was aimed at ‘promoting dialogue on science and implementation experience of agroecology’. It highlighted existing best practices in the region as well as challenges to the adoption of agroecology and identified strategies to overcome them.
The symposium was a milestone for Africans who have been working hard to promote agroecology and food sovereignty. In his opening speech His Excellency Monsieur Papa Abdoulaye Seck, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development of Senegal. said ‘more and better food production means feeding the world without destroying it. Producing more and better means caring for the next generation. That’s why Agroecology (AE) must be supported’. Similarly, the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries of Benin emphasized that it is not possible to achieve sustainable development without embracing Agroecology.
Jose Graziano da Silva, Director General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations also addressed the gathering in a video message. According to him, to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) it is important to build sustainable food systems which preserves the environment and agroecology is the best way to do that. He noted that FAO will be working to strengthen knowledge sharing platforms.
AFSA’s Role in the Symposium
Food producers and civil society, academia, research institutes, government representatives, FAO officials, representatives of indigenous people and local communities and the private sector attended the symposium which provided multidimensional yet commonly shared viewpoints about the nature and future of agroecology in Africa’s agriculture and food systems.
The Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA) was one of the key participants with notable contribution on the discussions. Represented by its Secretariat, the Agroecology Working Group and representatives of its member networks AFSA was able to demonstrate its commitment to promote agroecology as the bold future for Africa’s agricultural and food systems.
AFSA also played a critical role in creating synergy among civil societies that attended the event. Just a day before the symposium commenced AFSA chaired the Civil Society Organizations (CSO) deliberations toward FAO’s Symposium on Agroecology. Images from the deliberations can be viewed here.
A few hundred copies of the statement were distributed to all participants in the venue. It was an important part of the event where African civil societies called upon African governments and policy makers, ‘to recognize the huge potential of agroecology to sustainably increase food security and food sovereignty, reducing poverty and hunger while conserving biodiversity and respecting indigenous knowledge and innovation’. The statement was widely shared on social media and websites of highly regarded organizations. Apart from AFSA member networks the statement was shared by renowned food sovereignty activist organizations such as Food First, Agricultures Network, Third World Network and the Global Alliance for the Future of Food, to name but a few.
Launch of Agroecology Case Studies – November 6, 2015
One of the most notable part of the symposium was the agroecology case studies launch ceremony organized by AFSA and held at the same venue where the symposium was taking place. Many of the participants of the symposium were able to attend the launching ceremony. The Chair of AFSA Agroecology Working Group, Mr. Michael Farrelly delivered an introductory speech about the process and progress of developing the case studies. AFSA’s website was also displayed with a projector to demonstrate the organization of the case studies on the website. Mr. Ibrahim Coulibaly, President of National Coordination of Peasants’ Organizations (CNOP-Mali) and Dr. Million Belay, Coordinator of AFSA, also made remarks about the good work by AFSA to promote agroecology in the context of the food sovereignty movement in Africa.
The launching event was properly captured by FAO’s professional photographers. You may view the images HERE. Read the statement HERE. Read summary of the outcomes of the regional meeting on agroecology HERE (English) and HERE (French). Download recommendations from the symposium HERE.