Investing in agroecology is the most reliable way to achieve a fundamental food system transformation that ensures social justice and secures a healthy livelihood for millions of African smallholder food producers
Kampala, Uganda, February 20, 2022 —The Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA) is pleased to join the rest of the world in commemorating World Social Justice Day under the theme “Achieving Social Justice Through Formal Employment.” As part of the commemoration, AFSA will launch a two-day social media campaign promoting Agroecology as a viable option for ensuring social justice for African smallholder food producers. The campaign will take place on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram between February 20 and 21, 2022, with the official hashtag #Agroecology4SocialJustice.
Agriculture is by far Africa’s most significant economic activity providing a livelihood for an estimated 33 million smallholder farmers who contribute more than 70 percent of the food supply in Africa. It employs almost two-thirds of the continent’s working population and contributes over 30 percent of the Gross Domestic Product for most nations.
Notwithstanding the contribution to African economies, the agriculture sector still faces several social injustices. We are witnessing an increase in farmland grabs under the guise of promoting investments, destruction, and erosion of indigenous seeds, unequal access to production resources between women and men in favor of the latter, and worse still for the young people.
Africa is not on pace to eradicate hunger and ensure access to secure, nutritious and adequate food for everyone year-round. According to a recent United Nations report, 281.6 million Africans, or over one-fifth of the population, suffer from hunger and malnutrition. The COVID-19 Pandemic also wreaked havoc on the fragile economy, exacerbating acute poverty and structural inequality.
AFSA General Coordinator Dr. Million Belay said, “The cycle of African smallholder farmers feeding Africa while staying hungry must come to a stop. It is time for Africa to envisage a food system that is sensitive to the environment, supports social justice, and provides people with healthy, nutritious, and culturally acceptable food. Agroecology is the most diverse and inclusive agricultural system that tackles social justice and inequity issues.”
Agroecology is a people-centric system of sustainable agriculture and a social justice movement driven by local farmers and other food producers to maintain power over their local food systems, protect their livelihoods and communities, and defend every African’s right to nutritious and diverse food.
In contrast to industrial agriculture, agroecology addresses the root causes of rural poverty and malnutrition across the continent by empowering farmers, pastoralists, and fisherfolk to manage and steward their seeds, land, environment, and culture rather than trapping them in an endless and vicious cycle of debt and overdependence.
Bridget Mugambe, the AFSA Program Coordinator, said, “Agroecology employs young people and allows women, family farmers, and food producers to remain on their property and secure their livelihoods from climate-related catastrophes and social and political upheaval. Agroecology guarantees that food producers and communities, especially rural communities and women farmers, have the strength and resources to continue feeding and sustaining their family in difficult times.”
The online campaign will join the digital community on World Social Justice Day and amplify the voices of smallholder food producers and social movements across the globe in their fight for food sovereignty, social justice, and systemic change. Investing in and defending agroecology will build sustainable livelihood, strengthen community resilience and uphold the dignity of smallholder farmers at the frontlines.
We cordially invite you to join our campaign on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram and champion agroecology as a solution to a just and resilient future!
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 up to 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).