Rural Livelihoods in Africa

As a member of the UK food group we were recently sent a report on a Conference on Ecological Agriculture: ‘Mitigating Climate Change, Providing Food Security and Self-Reliance For Rural Livlihoods in Africa.’

The Conference, which included over 80 participants from 15 African countries and representatives from the AU, FAO, UNCTAD, UNEP, WFP and IAASTD, reflects Find Your Feet’s agroecological approach to agriculture.

Highlighting the Tigray project, in which 20,000 farming families in Ethiopia benefited from almost double their normal crop yields as a result of using ecological agricultural practices, the Conference participants emphasised the fact that, for poor farmers, ecological agriculture offers a real and affordable means to break out of poverty and achieve food security. In addition to this it helps foster agrobiodiversity and other essential environmental services, has high climate change mitigation potential and increases agrosystem resilience to stress.

The Conference participants made a number of recommendations – two of which particularly stood out for me. They suggested that:

– In locations where Green Revolution projects are being launched or implemented, agriculture pilot projects should be given the same financial and other kinds of support in order to allow comparative assessment of the two management systems’ performance.

– The donor community should provide the resources required for ecological agriculture interventions to meaningfully support food security and rural livelihoods.

As debates around the most appropriate response to the current world food crisis rage, I think it’s really important that the conclusions and recommendations of this highly representative group of people are heard.

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