World Food Day; Small Scale Farmers wants Better Governments Financing to Feed the Region
ESAFF PRESS RELEASE ON THE WORLD FOOD DAY, 16/10/2010
Africa spends about 20 billion dollars annually on food imports. Forty five percent of rice and eighty five percent of wheat consumed in Africa is imported. Worse still many people in Africa spend about 50 to 60 percent of their budget on food. Despite that the Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) region have millions small scale farmers, vast arable land and natural resources to be able to feed all our people and our factories. But many people go hungry or never reach their full potential due to stunting caused by inadequate nutrition. Hunger is not caused by nature, it’s a political imposition! This is the scandal of our planet, and at its core is bad policies, ruthless competition and disastrous mismanagement of Earth’s limited resources.
Hunger is about power! Its roots lie in unequal access and control over to resources like land and water, marginalization of small scale farmers in global policy processes, regional policy making as well as lack of participation in national policy processes. The situation is worsened by bad imposed policies by IMF and the World Bank that forced our governments not to support small scale producers. Other reasons for continued hunger and malnutrition in Eastern and Southern African region is the growing impact of global warming on small-scale producers, land grabbing and harmful genetic technologies (GMOs) aimed at enslaving small scale farmers by making us dependent on seeds from the multinational agrochemical industry. Women and the youths in Eastern and Southern Africa, who produce the majority of the world’s food, face the greatest challenges.
African countries officially declared “war” on hunger and rural underdevelopment in 2003. This was through the Maputo Declaration on Agriculture and Food Security in Africa in July 2003. The Declaration was translated by SADC countries through the Dar es salaam Declaration of 2004 on Agriculture and Food Security in the SADC Region. The Maputo Declaration was further adopted by COMESA members countries.
Under the Maputo Declaration that was adopted seven years ago, African Head of States resolved to implement as a matter of urgency, the Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) and flagship projects and evolving Action Plans for agricultural development, at the national, regional and continental levels. To that end leaders agreed to adopt sound policies for agricultural and rural development and commit to allocate 10% of national budgetary resources for their implementation within five years (by 2008/2009). Despite the five year deadline to the implement the Maputo Declaration, few countries in the Eastern and Southern Africa region had reached the 10% budget allocation to agriculture sector. Malawi exceeded the set target to allocate 11% of national budget to 12% in 2008/9. Malawi is a good testimony that if we invest in agriculture we can make hunger history and achieve the first goal of the Millennium Development Goal which aims at reducing poverty and hunger.
We small food producers in the region are already feeding a huge amount of people, using smaller plots of land and working in a sustainable way. More and more actors, such as stated in the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology (IAASTD) report, recognize that small-scale sustainable farming is the way to find sustainable solutions to this terrible violation of the human right to food. We pledges to our government to invest more on small scale food producers for food security and food sovereignty instead of embracing much efforts to the big investors. Small scale farmers are the best solution to hunger and poverty in Eastern and Southern Africa.
that end we small scale farmers in Eastern and Southern Africa, call for our local and central governments to look into the following;
- National Agriculture Budget and Agriculture Banks:
Our governments should adhere to the Maputo Declaration of 2003 that was affirmed in July 2009 in Sirte, Libya and increase the budget allocated to agriculture to at least 10% of the national budget. We call the increase of the budget to go hand in hand with proper management and control of funds at village, district and national levels. There should be deliberate effort to see that the large portion of the agriculture budget is utilized for developmental activities rather than being used for allowances and transport. We want transparency to enable stakeholders and small farmers in planning, implementation and evaluating the agriculture budget from village, ward and council levels. There should be deliberate effort to ensure that the Controller and Auditor General reports reach farmers in simple language so as to know how the officials are using our money.
We call for the establishment of Agriculture Banks that focuses on small scale farmers, pastoralists and fisher folks to enable us access favourable loans to improve production.
- Research and GMOs
Research in agriculture is paramount for improvement of crops, livestock and fishing industry in the ESA region. We call our governments to set aside substantial amount of funds for agriculture research and development. We also caution research institutions Not to be used as gateways for harmful technologies like Genetically Modified Organism (GMOs) that threatens our food sovereignty, our biodiversity, our health, and our environment.
- Land Grabbing
We caution the trend toward Land grabbing for production of biofuels to feed cars in rich countries, forests for carbon credit and production of food for people in rich countries, as they undermine our ability to feed ourselves. It is stripping our land, soil fertility and water for the benefit of others and little or no benefit to small producers. Land grabbing for those purposes must be stopped. Small scale farmers and pastoralists who want to produce should be assisted by our governments to get the land that is said to be unused or underused. We need to secure rights to land and other natural resources. Women to have full rights and access to land within the village land use plans and all discriminatory land rights practices should be ended.
African small scale farmers are the key to development. We need good and better budget to agriculture and rural development, and we need our voices to be heard in policy processes to reduce poverty and hanger in the Eastern and Southern Africa region.
Issued by members of the Eastern and Southern Africa Small Scale Farmers FORUM ESAFF:
1. ESAFF Burundi
Q Industriel, Avenue de 1’ Agriculture; Tel: +257 22 257647
2. Kenya Small Scale Farmers’ Forum (KESSFF), P.O Box 1134, Thika, Kenya. Tel: +254-67 31686, Fax +260-1-67 – 30055 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: +254-724281610
3. Lesotho - Small Scale Farmers of Lesotho,
4. Madagascar - Confédération des Agriculteurs Malagas- CPM) - Lot IV M 7 Ambodivona, BP 1291, 101 Antananarivo - Tél. +261 20 22 658 67 - Fax: 261 20 24 780 28
5. Malawi – National Smallholder Farmers’ Association of Malawi, NASFAM House, City Centre
P.O. Box 30716, Lilongwe . Tel. +2651772866
6. Seychelles - Seychelles Farmers Association (SeyFA)
1st floor, Secti Building, Roche Caiman Mahe, Seychelles; E-mail: email@example.com Tel. +248-344533
7. ESAFF South Africa
P.O Box 1834, Marble Hall (Limpopo), South Africa, E.mail: esaffRSA@esaff.org Cell +27780395589
8. National Network of Small Scale Farmers’ Group in Tanzania (MVIWATA) - P.O Box 3220, Morogoro, Tanzania. Telefax +255-23-2614184 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
9. Uganda - ESAFF –Uganda, P.O Box 3791, Plot 155 Kira Road Kamwoka, Kampala. E-Mail: email@example.com Cell: +256-782370810
10. Zambia - ESAFF-Zambia
11. Zimbabwe ESAFF-Zimbabwe,
Zimbabwe Movement of Small Organic Farmer’s Forum (ZIMSOFF)- C/O PELUM Zimbabwe, No. 9, Lanark Road, Belvedere- Harare, Tel. +26342916499, E -mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: +263-91443716
Elizabeth Mpofu, ESAFF Chairperson,
Masvingo - Zimbabwe