Despite the onslaught from industrial agriculture, ecological agriculture continues to come more and more to the fore. Traditional practices, new practices, and a combination of both are emerging to cover the spectrum of land use activities from intensive gardens to broad landscapes. In addition there is also more focus now on different parts of the value chain.
What’s missing is sufficient documentation and sharing of these agro-ecological practices and activities, showing the many benefits in terms of food security, nutrition, poverty reduction, climate change adaptation and mitigation, biodiversity conservation, cultural sensitivity, democracy and justice, along with direct cost benefit comparisons with industrial agriculture.
Also missing is the bringing together of the many experiences into a coherent voice as a strong alternative to industrial farming. Thus the goal of AFSA’s work in this area will be: to make an evidence-based, coherent case for ecological agriculture as the sustainable long-term solution for farming in Africa.
One area of focus within this will be to raise substantially the profile of ecological agriculture. In 2014 AFSA will work closely with those involved in the International Year of Family Farming to give prominence to the messages of this campaign. In 2016 the plan is that AFSA will facilitate a significant farmers’ event that creatively showcases farmers involved in ecological agriculture from around the continent.
As with the other themes AFSA helps to establish and strengthen a continent-wide platform that keeps making the case effectively for agro-ecological practices. This platform collects case studies from around the continent. The case studies, as well as being available to members and their members, feed directly into AFSA’s strategic interventions. The group has developed and launched an online hub to collate and present the case studies http://afsafrica.org/case-studies/.
AFSA will also publish an annual report that presents the ‘big picture’ case for ecological farming on the continent. This should become an eagerly-awaited publication.