Advocating for agroecology in policy and practice

AFSA is a continental voice for food sovereignty. Its key message: to advocate for a transition to agroecology in Africa. This transition requires policy change, but also a change of mindset, replacing the underlying narrative of the industrial food system with a holistic view of a better world.

Industrial agriculture is a dead end. It claims to have raised yields but it has done so at great cost, with extensive soil damage, huge biodiversity loss and negative impacts on nutrition, food sovereignty and natural resources.

In many ways, agroecology is the antithesis of industrial, corporate-driven, monoculture-based agricultural systems. Where industrial agriculture seeks to simplify, agroecology embraces complexity. Where industrial agriculture aims to eliminate biodiversity, agroecology depends on it. Where industrial agriculture is based on one-size-fits-all technofix, agroecology provides local solutions to local problems. Where industrial agriculture pollutes and degrades, agroecology regenerates and restores, working with nature – not against nature.

The strongest resistance to agroecology comes from the vested interests of the industrial food system, who have used their huge economic power to convince African governments that industrial agriculture is the way to go.

Can African policy makers be bold enough to embrace the sustainable solution? Or are they going to wait until it’s too late, until the soils are exhausted, biodiversity devastated, nutritional and health problems mounting, and farmers dependent on outside inputs and knowledge?

We need a complete transformation of our food systems. Agroecology is a people-centred system of sustainable agriculture, combining indigenous knowledge with cutting edge science, making the best use of nature to create healthy communities, and empowering a social movement that resists the corporatization of agriculture.

It’s time to let go of tired narratives and failed solutions. It’s time to support small-scale food producers to build a sustainable, resilient, diverse, healthy, productive, and culturally appropriate food system for Africa.

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