AFSA celebrated the launch of a new book: “Agroecology – Our land is our life” at AFSA members’ gathering in Nairobi in December 2021.
The book brings together ten case studies from six countries that demonstrate the benefits of agroecology: bringing the soil back to life, conserving biodiversity, and leaving no one behind.
The book explains why land is so important to Africans. Land in Africa has a myriad of dimensions, including the cultural and the religious. On land, we build houses to protect us from the natural elements; we grow crops to feed our families; we graze our animals as a source of livelihood. On land, water flows and is stored for current and future use; wild plants grow, and their fruits are gathered for food; wildlife and micro-organisms thrive as part of the complex global ecosystem.
The climate crisis and destructive farming practices are challenging African farmers’ ability to produce enough healthy food. The seasonal rains on which farmers depend now fail to materialise or fall in heavy storms that wash away soils and seeds.
This collection of stories from the ground demonstrates the benefits of agroecology, a more thoughtful, more holistic, more natural way of farming, working with nature – not fighting against it. Communities are reviving infertile land, conserving indigenous plants and wildlife, and recreating a balanced, thriving ecosystem.
Sustainability is a recurring theme. Agriculture that tears through resources and destroys the very land it harvests from is neither sustainable nor responsible. Nor is the “one size fits all” technology approach. The most successful agroecology models adapt to the local context, terrain, and indigenous traditions.
Tanzania’s hillside farmers show how digging terraces to create beds and building trenches to harvest rainwater prevents run-off and soil erosion. Likewise, farmers in Zimbabwe who previously struggled to find a sustainable water source now have water in such abundance that they can grow rice.
Projects in Kenya and Togo have been turning to agroecology to restore soil fertility, making sustainable, organic inputs such as bokashi. Farmers learn to produce them quickly and efficiently on-site using low-cost, locally available materials. Consequently, these bio-fertilisers are cost-effective, rich in nutrients and naturally free from toxic chemicals dangerous to soil and human health.
Agroecology is a social movement that strives to make sustainable farming accessible to all. Inspiring work with more vulnerable social groups restores dignity and independence to those who have struggled to provide for their families. By securing land rights, teaching sustainable land management or agroforestry skills, initiatives across Uganda, Kenya and Senegal show that access to the right education and support means that no one is left behind.
These ten stories show how agroecology nurtures soil health, conserves biodiversity, and restores dignity to Africa’s small-scale food producers.