Year in Review 2021:
Agroecology Stories Worth Spreading
AFSA started the year 2021 by launching a new book entitled “AFRICA CORONAVIRUS STORIES: Perspectives on COVID-19 Challenges on Livelihood and Food Systems.” The book is the result of the collaboration we forged with 21 freelance journalists and writers from 18 African countries. Although the stories were collected in the early months of COVID in Africa, the actual and rare stories from the ground are still relevant and speak volumes about the adverse impacts of COVID-19 on smallholder farmers and marginalized communities.
The Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa announced the inaugural AFSA Africa Agroecology Awards, launching a call for submissions from AFSA member networks and affiliates. AFSA hopes to broaden the award and make it more accessible to the African public and establish it as the premier location for honouring African movements fighting for food sovereignty and agroecology in Africa. The AFSA Africa Agroecology Award celebrates great African individuals, organizations, and governments who inspire, guide and develop an African narrative on the urgent need for food systems transformation and the transition to agroecology. We celebrated the Award recipients the way AFSA knows how—weaving together speakers from across the continent from across Africa who are part of the AFSA network, bringing in song and mystica of traditional African culture.
AFSA Africa Agroecology Award
AFSA published a compilation of seed stories from 14 African countries entitled “Stories of Seed Activism: Journalists from 14 Countries Reporting Peoples Solution to Corporate Control of Africa’s Life.” AFSA collaborated with journalists and writers from 14 African countries to showcase the struggle, the challenge, the hope and aspirations of seed savers, and seed activism in Africa from the perspectives of farmers’ rights, food security and resilience. They recorded fascinating stories about the enormous agricultural biodiversity that supports humanity in the face of a constantly changing need to adapt to climate change.
STORIES OF SEED ACTIVISM: JOURNALISTS FROM 14 COUNTRIES REPORTING PEOPLES SOLUTIONS TO CORPORATE CONTROL OF AFRICA’S LIFE
GRAIN and AFSA have also released a new map in 2021 entitled “Big Food In Africa: Endangering People’s Health.” The briefing depicts food safety scandals in many African countries due to uncontrolled industrial food chains and chemical-intensive agriculture. The publication has collected examples from across the African continent that highlight the dangers of the industrial food system and demonstrate the pushback.
Big Food in Africa: Endangering People’s Health
Following the COP 26 Climate negotiations in Glasgow, Ireland, AFSA also released a new book, “Stories of Agroecology and the Climate Crisis: Reports of Grassroots Innovations by Journalists from 14 African Countries.” The book collects grassroots stories of agroecology in achieving food security and a climate-resilient future in Africa. AFSA hopes that the book will spark discussions about food and agriculture and highlight the role of agroecological food systems as a solution to the climate crisis instead of industrial agriculture, which is the driving force behind Africa’s multiple shocks, including the climate crisis.
STORIES OF AGROECOLOGY AND THE CLIMAT CRISIS IN AFRICA
In conjunction with the AFSA Meeting 2021, the AFSA land working group members used the occasion to officially launch a new publication titled “AGROECOLOGY: OUR LAND IS OUR LIFE.” This new paper compiles ten case studies from six African countries that highlight the benefits of Agroecology: reviving the soil, protecting biodiversity, and leaving no one behind. The book explains why land is so important to Africans. Land in Africa has a myriad of dimensions, including the cultural and the religious.
AGROECOLOGY- OUR LAND IS OUR LIFE
The Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA) sent a letter to Dr. Agnes Kalibata, the Special Envoy of the UN Secretary-General for the 2021 UN Food Systems Summit (UNFSS), outlining six preconditions required for AFSA’s 36 members to participate. The letter strongly urges transitioning to agroecology and food sovereignty to be at the center of the outcomes of the UNFSS. Other conditions that must be met include benchmarks like incorporating traditional knowledge and practices of Indigenous peoples in processes and establishing an additional track to focus on the transformation of corporate food systems to food sovereignty.
AFSA’s Letter to Agnes Kalibata
African CSO boycott UN food conference
TheAlliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA), representing some 200 million small-scale food producers, alongside 160 international organizations from 40 countries, release an open letter calling on donors to stop funding the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). Our Alliance in June wrote to AGRA’s donors asking them to provide evidence to refute research showing that the 15-year-old industrial agriculture initiative has failed to improve incomes and food security for the millions of small-scale food producers it targeted. We received few responses and no credible evidence.
Press Release: 200 Organisations Urge Donors To Scrap AGRA
STOP FUNDING INDUSTRIAL AGRICULTURE IN AFRICA
An African faiths environmental institute is calling on the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to stop funding green revolution technologies and genetically modified seeds for the continent but instead support natural methods to help Africa achieve food sufficiency and protect its environments. In an open online letter that is also asking for signatures, Southern Africa Faith Communities’ Environment Institute said the foundation is fueling hunger and poverty by funding farming methods that fail to protect small-scale farmers and the environment.
Faiths Institute asks Gates Foundation to change tactics in Africa
On December 8, as part of the three-day AFSA Meetings in Nairobi, Kenya, AFSA members issued a statement titled “The Food We Want” and held a news conference urging that the African Union endorse the notion of developing an Africa Food Policy. The statement calls on the African Union to support the proposal to build an Africa Food Policy that ensures Africa’s urgent and pressing need to feed itself in the current environment of global instability, multi-layered crises, and catastrophic climate change with disastrous consequences.
Statement Of African Civil Society Networks On The Need For An Africa Food Policy
Slow Food in collaboration with its local networks in Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Congo launched three interesting case studies from the “Building Local Economies in East Africa through Agroecology” project, funded by the Agroecology Fund. The case studies established a strong case on the positive impact of agroecological practices and their environmental, socio-cultural, health and economic benefits. The studies provide evidence that agroecology works and convey the message that agroecology could be the agriculture of the future.
Agroecology is key for the future: building local economies in East Africa
This review paper examines recent evidence (1998–2019) for whether agroecological practices can improve human food security and nutrition. A total of 11,771 articles were screened by abstract and title, 275 articles included for full review, with 56 articles (55 cases) selected. A majority of studies (78%) found evidence of positive outcomes in the use of agroecological practices on food security and nutrition of households in low and middle-income countries. This is a fantastic body of work for evidence-based advocacy towards the transition to agroecology in Africa.
Can agroecology improve food security and nutrition? A review
This is a must-read informative paper on how diversified farming systems are key to more sustainable food production. Here we present a global dataset documenting outcomes of diversified farming practices for biodiversity and yields. The dataset includes 4076 comparisons of biodiversity outcomes and 1214 of yield in diversified farming systems. It contains evidence from 48 countries. The dataset presented provides evidence that diversified farming systems have positive impacts on biodiversity and a multitude of ecosystem services and does not necessarily come at the cost of yields or farm profitability. Diversifying can have economic benefits by reducing input requirements and increasing or stabilising yields.
A global database of diversified farming effects on biodiversity and yield
The International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems (IPES-Food) has released a new report in collaboration with the ETC Group: ‘A Long Food Movement: Transforming Food Systems by 2045’. What will the world’s food systems look like in 2045? That is the question at the heart of a new report that examines two very different futures for food systems, people and the Planet. The report analyzed the scenario of the business as usual and provided hope for a better alternative
A Long Food Movement: Transforming Food System by 2045
Nine of the anticipated 20 published publications on the issue of attaining food system resilience and equality in the context of global environmental change are now available online. The others will be published when the peer review process is completed. Given the ongoing discussion on food system transformation and the critical need to transition to agroecology and food sovereignty in times of biodiversity, climate, and health crises, the papers are all extremely pertinent.
Achieving Food System Resilience & Equity in the Era of Global Environmental Change
The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) said that 60% of its projects use practices from a holistic approach to sustainable agricultural production, which is what IFAD does. The group says it’s a good way to change food systems to deal with rising hunger, malnutrition, climate change, and ecosystem fragility. The Stocktake Report on Agroecology in IFAD Operations, an Integrated Approach to Sustainable Food Systems, looked at a wide range of projects to see how agroecological farming practices can be used in different climates and landscapes and can be adapted to different soil types and natural resource availability.
The Stoketake Report on Agroecology in IFAD Operation: An Integrated Approach to Sustainable Food Systems
In June 2021, on the margins of World Environment Day, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and partners launched the Transformative Partnership Platform on agroecology – a farming approach that’s inspired by natural ecosystems combines local and scientific knowledge and focuses on the interactions between plants, animals, humans and the environment. According to the UN Document, “Over the past 100 years, more than 90 per cent of crop varieties have disappeared and today, just nine plant species account for 66 per cent of total crop production – contributing to ubiquitous health risks like diabetes, obesity and malnutrition.”
Rethinking Food Systems
Christian Aid has published a report highlighting the damage that conventional farming is doing to the climate and soil systems humanity relies on. The report highlights how an increasingly intensive food system based on the use of synthetic chemical inputs such as fertilisers and pesticides has driven up emissions, degraded soils and is the main driver of biodiversity loss. The report shows how agroecological approaches such as organic farming and agroforestry ensures higher yields and food security.
New report shows urgent need for agroecology reveolution to cut emissions and boost productivity
Conservationists, farmers, and policymakers called for a “paradigm shift” in global food production at the IUCN World Conservation Congress in the face of climate change, biodiversity loss, and growing global food insecurity. The congress urged the expansion of agroecology as a way to build a food system that can help protect and restore the environment while feeding the world.
IUCN Congress dispatch: A paradigm shift for the food system
Agroecology Fund launched a powerful new video featuring penetrating voices from across the global agroecology movement. The short documentary film “Agroecology: Grassroots Solutions to Global Crises” captures inspiring stories and thoughts on what makes agroecology a true grassroots solution to solve the multiple crises that humanity faced today.
Agroecology Grassroots Solutions to Global Crises
ETC Group, with Freehand Studios in Nairobi, produced an animation about digital farming. Titled “Big Brother is Coming to the Farm: the digital takeover of food,” the animation is about the battle for the future of food and shows how giant corporations are driving significant and far-reaching changes in agriculture, food processing and retail all over the world. It challenges the dominant industrial techno-fix narrative being promoted by the Food Systems Summit process and holds up food sovereignty and agroecology as an alternative.
Big Brother is Coming to the Farm: the digital takeover of food
This video series, developed by AGRA Watch and the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa, explains why exporting the US agribusiness model to Africa is a grave mistake. At a time when global hunger is on the rise and the pandemic has dramatically impacted global food systems, corporations are gaining even more control over agriculture than ever. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), the largest private charitable foundation in the world, is leading the way in pushing global agricultural development priorities toward industrial and chemical-intensive models–including in Africa, through their investments in the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA).
RICH APPETITES: A SHORT FILM SERIES ON HOW BIG PHILANTHROPY IS SHAPING THE FUTURE OF FOOD IN AFRICA
GRAIN published a new and sobering report yesterday entitled “How the Gates Foundation is driving the food system, in the wrong direction” According to the report, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has spent nearly US$6 billion over the past 17 years in the name of improving agriculture in Africa. According to the report, while the Foundation’s grants focus on African farmers, the vast majority of its funding goes to groups in North America and Europe. The grants are also heavily skewed to technologies developed by research centers and corporations in the North for poor farmers in the South, completely ignoring the knowledge, technologies and biodiversity that these farmers already possess. It is a must-read report!
How the Gate Foundation is driving the food system, in the wrong direction
A coalition of 16 African and German organizations has released the background paper “A Sting in the AGRA Tale.” The findings of the new research are based on a review of internal AGRA evaluations that the US group was obligated to publish earlier this year. The outcomes are undeniable. AGRA was a complete failure. As a result, there is no empirical basis for AGRA representatives at the United Nations to play a substantial role.
A sting In The AGRA Tale: Independent Expert Evaluations Confirm The Alliance For A Green Revolution Has Failed
Dr. Million Belay and Bridget Mugambe co-wrote an excellent op-ed in Scientific American calling with Gates to allow the continent’s food producers and consumers to design their own paths toward sustainable and healthy farming practices and diets. It was an engrossing piece that revealed the strategy behind Gates’ vigorous push for IA in Africa. “We welcome investment in agriculture on our continent. But we seek it in a democratic and responsive manner to the people at the heart of agriculture, not as a top-down force that ends up concentrating power and profit in the hands of a small number of multinational companies.”
Bill Gate Should Stop Telling Africans What Kind of Agriculture Africans Need
Agroecology Now published a new policy brief entitled “Making Money Move for Agroecology: Transforming Development Aid to Support Agrocecology” The policy brief is the synthesis of the research that makes a case for reforming the way agricultural and food systems development is financed so we can achieve the transformations that we desperately need. The report identified twelve different areas through which donors can focus their methods and approach to financing to support more just and sustainable food systems.
New Policy Brief: Transforming Developmrnt Aid to Support Agroecology
This must-read study aims to assist food producers and social movements in the complicated discussion around digitization. The goal of this working paper is to provide an analytical tool to food producers and advocates regarding dangerous trends that are currently occurring in this field, which are frequently supported by a general pro-data narrative that overlooks the negative impacts on diverse and territorial food systems. It emphasizes four key concerns when contemplating digitization in agriculture from the standpoint of food sovereignty.
Food systems and digitalization from a food sovereignty approach -new working paper!
Third World Network issued a critical report titled “Rethinking Global Economic Policy: Proposals on Resilience, Rights, and Equity for the Global South.” In the aftermath of the COVID-19 health and economic catastrophe, the book addresses global economic governance and policy decisions that will decide the fate of economies and people. The book echoed voices that cautioned that the solution to the current compounded public health and economic crises should not be a repeat of previous failures, but should instead place countries on a path toward progressive reforms in economic, social, and ecological governance.
Rethinking Global Economic Policy: Proposals on Resilience, Rights , and Equity for the Global South
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has issued a new report that compiles information from a wide variety of current and historical climate observations. It represents the most recent knowledge of climate change, bringing together the most recent discoveries in climate research. This article investigates the report’s implications for Africa. The situation is frightening, according to the paper. The pace of temperature rise throughout the continent is faster than the world average. Furthermore, as the planet warms, the frequency and severity of heavy rainfall events are expected to rise virtually everywhere in Africa.
Insights for African countries from the latest climate change projections
The UN released The 2021 State of Food Security and Nutrition Report on Monday. The report noted there was a dramatic worsening of world hunger in 2020 – much of it likely related to the fallout of COVID-19. This year’s SOFI is the first global assessment of its kind in the pandemic era. According to the report, up to 811 million people – were undernourished last year. More than half of all undernourished people (418 million) live in Asia; more than a third (282 million) in Africa; and a smaller proportion (60 million) in Latin America and the Caribbean. But the sharpest rise in hunger was in Africa, where the estimated prevalence of undernourishment – at 21 percent of the population – is more than double that of any other region. Below is the digital report to skim through the key outcomes and messages.
THE STATE OF FOOD SECURITY AND NUTRITION IN THE WORLD 2021