The estimated number of undernourished people in the world has increased from 777 million in 2015 to an estimated 815 million in 2016 (FAO, 2017). With these daunting figures, and high population growth rates in developing countries, and increasing cases of hunger and malnutrition around the globe, food and agricultural systems have evolved to become more complex and market driven. Citizens are feeling the pinch as [MB1] especially with the liberalisation of agriculture in most of these countries which has all but destroyed the once diverse agriculture sector and created a pathway for biotech companies to infiltrate the food industry with their much publicised but less nutritious varieties.
Promotion of healthier living based on eating nutritious food is still peripheral to the mainstream policies and developments. While the need to promote the importance of eating of nutritious food is picking up as part of Civil Society advocacy, and also being adopted by some international agencies, there’s still no strong link between nutritious foods, health and the food production systems. What is on the rise today is the consumption of processed and fast foods. These are mainly imported and with high sugar and low nutrient levels. With urbanisation and economic growth especially in developing countries in Africa, two things have happened: one the occurrence of super markets where imported and processed foods are more popularly sold and two the emergence of the so called middle class and urban citizens who are key in sustaining the demand for processed and fast foods. Fast food chains are also slowly being embraced in Africa and along with it new consumption habits.
Whereas many civil society organizations such as AFSA are strongly campaigning for safe foods- and the need to for governments to promote consumption of nutritious foods, many governments are seemingly still looking the other way and rather supporting the infiltration of GMOs and highly processed foods into the food system. The systematic promotion of monocultures is ensuring the loss of biodiversity and hence diversity in nutrition. Small scale producers practicing agroecology are losing land and water sources to large scale companies.
All of this has undermined fundamental rights of citizens to satisfaction of basic needs, to choice and to a healthy and sustainable environment.
The narrative that large-scale industrial agriculture will feed the growing population is going largely uncontested due to the mostly silent voice from the citizens. While the majority are largely aware of aware and desire to consume nutritious and healthy foods, they are not actively demanding for the production and protection of these foods through policies that promote and protect agroecology.
This therefore presents the need to create the link between the larger citizenry and producers by strengthening the consumer voice to demand for nutritious and healthy food.
For the above to happen, citizen movements have to be strengthened to appreciate the concept of agroecology and to demand for food and agricultural systems and practices that are healthy, equitable, efficient, resilient, and culturally diverse.
A vibrant movement of African citizens engaging in advocacy for a transition to sustainable food systems for nutrition and health.
To generate and disseminate knowledge on agroecology and the link to nutrition and health
To mobilise and scale up consumer support for small-scale producers and food systems in Africa based on agro ecological principles, values and practices for health and well-being
To influence African agriculture and health policies to integrate the agroecology agenda as a path to good nutrition and health.
African citizens at the forefront of advocacy for and popularising the narrative which recognizes the benefits of agroecology in African food systems.
It is not so much about access to nutrition because locally we have nutritious and healthy food, it is much more about the Biotech Companies trying to contaminate our food with their tainted varieties. Again if you live close to a market and you do not have money to buy food, you will be hungry, that does not mean there is no food.
Keep up to date with all our latest news and events by entering your details below and signing up to our newsletter.