A 14-member ''network of African networks'', tagged the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA), was launched in Durban, South Africa on Sunday, 4 December, to help promote agro-ecology as a solution to climate change, feeding people, biodiversity, livelihoods and healing the soils.
According to its sponsors, AFSA began amid joyful singing from African women farmers; sobering facts about the multiple threats from climate change and false solutions such as the Bill Gates-funded Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), GMOs, biofuel land grabbing and carbon trading; and inspiring discussions about agroecological solutions for food, farmers and biodiversity.
AFSA immediately released a report emphasising that Food Sovereignty can cool the planet, while feeding the world and regenerating ecosystems.
“There are so many challenges facing our continent,” Anne Maina of the African Biodiversity Network (ABN), one of AFSA’s member networks, was quoted as saying.
“As 14 Pan African networks, representing a huge constituency in Anglophone, Francophone and Lusophone Africa, we are in agreement that Food Sovereignty must be way forward to ensure resilient food systems and ecosystems in the face of climate change and destructive development,” Maina said.
Also speaking, Million Belay of Melca Mahiber, an Ethiopian member of ABN, said Food Sovereignty is an approach to agriculture that is radical, but it is self-evident too.
''It holds the interests of small-scale food producers, their communities and ecosystems, as critical to strengthening resilient food systems. For too long, food policy has focused on yield at any cost – and undermined the very systems and people on which food production depends. Food Sovereignty is a powerful concept and framework that is clear about embracing solutions, and challenging the threats,” Belay explained.
Agnes Yawe of Participatory Ecological Land Use Management (PELUM), a network with members in 10, said AFSA is about using and conserving the resources that are freely available to communities .
''These are appropriate for our economies, and our small scale farmers, who don’t need the expensive chemical inputs that are being pushed on us,” Yawe said.
Meanwhile, AFSA is observing Monday (5Dec) as “Food Sovereignty Day”. As part of the Day, farmers will march through Durban, venue of the ongoing UN Climate Change conference.