In AFSA in the Media, News, Press Release

Investing in agroecology for expanding agroecological enterprises and supporting territorial markets is the most reliable option for achieving a fundamental food system transformation that supports healthy and thriving local food economies and ecologically resilient smallholder farming systems.

The participants agreed to

  • Increasing the recognition of African agroecological entrepreneurs and territorial markets by informing and supporting agroecology movements, donors/investors, service providers, and governments.
  • Building momentum for formulating policy recommendations and initiating new programs.
  • Creating and sustaining a community of support for an enabling business environment for African agroecological entrepreneurs and increase demand, i.e., through fostering territorial markets.

Munyonyo, Uganda, May 26, 2022 — The Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA) has collaborated with partners to organise the first trailblazing three-day continental convening on AFRICAN AGROECOLOGICAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP AND TERRITORIAL MARKETS in Munyonyo, Uganda, from May 24th to 26th, 2022. The gathering brought together actors from over 30 countries, with over 130 persons in attendance in person and 80 virtual participants.

The gathering was the first of its kind, with the goal of providing a platform for agroecological and like-minded stakeholders to discuss and define the future of agroecological entrepreneurship and territorial markets in Africa in order to enhance investment and policy changes.

At a time when the world faces major risks to food security, the global community is starting to reach an agreement on the need to make our food systems more sustainable. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the flaws and inability of global industrial food systems to meet local consumer needs. Simultaneously, the pandemic has revealed the enormous opportunity to amplify the importance and resilience of shorter supply chains and agroecological enterprises and markets to withstand global crises, as well as demonstrate how smallholder farmers producing agroecological food can meet the population’s food and nutrition needs.

AFSA General Coordinator Dr. Million Belay said, “Agroecology assures that food producers and communities, particularly rural communities and women farmers, have the ability and resources to continue feeding and nourishing their family in tough times. It is time for African governments and the donor and investor communities to place more attention in developing territorial markets and supporting agroecological businesses to make sure that communities will construct a resilient future despite the many crises that they are experiencing”

The Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa’s research has identified a vibrant emergence of agroecological entrepreneurs across Africa engaging in the marketing and distribution of agroecological products and inputs. This convening testifies to their numbers, dynamism, and importance. These products include: fresh fruits and vegetables, cereals and pulses as well as value-added food products in addition to biofertilizers and biopesticides.

“With Sylva food solutions, I work with small holder farmers to promote neglected and underused crops,” stated Ms. Sylvia Banda of Sylva Foods in Zambia. I own two factories in which we process their produce, package it to suitable standards, and sell it in huge stores. So far, we have trained over 25,000 smallholder farmers, 90 percent of them are women. There is an increasing chance for smallholder farmers to engage in agroecology, but we need help sensitising the public and obtaining financial assistance to go further.

Daniel Moss, Agroecology Fund Co-Director, said “Donors from across the world are supporting the African Agroecological Entrepreneurship and Territorial Markets Convening. Why? For too long, donors have invested in industrial agriculture with poor results for livelihoods, health, ecosystems and human rights. A radical shift is underway. Donors are joining agroecology movements and entrepreneurs in subscribing to agroecological principles and investing in truly equitable and sustainable food systems.”

The three-day gathering included a variety of activities such as field visits to agroecological enterprises and territorial markets, agroecological entrepreneurship exhibition from various countries on best practices and ongoing activities, as well as panel discussions and group discussions that delve deep into territorial markets, AEE support systems, enabling policies, and consumer and citizen participation.

Sunday Bob George, Senior Agricultural Officer for Food, Ministry of Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries,Uganda said “We have many policies that promote  agroecology. Our agricultural sector strategic plan addresses issues of sustainable agriculture of which agroecology is a component As a ministry of agriculture we are now in the process of developing national agroecology strategy that will provide a clear pathway on the direction upon which agroecology can strive in”

 

For further information or interviews, please contact:

Dr Million Belay: AFSA General Coordinator.

Email: million.belay@afsafrica.org

Charles Olweny: Advocacy and Campaign Coordinator

Email: charles.olweny@afsafrica.org

Learn more: https://aaeconvening.afsafrica.org/

 

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A brief overview about AFSA:

AFSA is the biggest continental voice for food sovereignty and agroecology in Africa. It is the largest network of networks in Africa, with more than 30 network members with a combined potential reach of 200 million Africans. Its membership embraces farmers, indigenous communities, pastoralists, hunters and gatherers, fisherfolk, consumer networks, women and youth networks, faith-based organizations, and civil society organizations (CSOs).

 

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