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Experts on why Africa needs indigenous seeds

As climate change is becoming a global threat to agriculture, African countries have been urged to formulate policies, strategies, conduct research and studies to come up with the best indigenous seeds that will enable improved agroecology and increase value on the continent, a meeting heard yesterday.

A senior agriculture officer for food from Uganda’s Ministry of Agriculture, Mr Bob George, said there was a need to change the rule of game and embrace agroecology to ensure no one dies of hunger.

Agroecology is a sustainable farming that works with nature or a better alternative than large-scale agriculture, both for the climate and for small farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa. It is a holistic and integrated approach that simultaneously applies ecological and social concepts and principles to the design and management of sustainable agriculture and food systems.

“Statistics indicate that by 2030 the population will increase to 50 percent, therefore, we must consider alternative models for developing agriculture, particularly in countries that have not already transitioned to large-scale rationalization,” he said. Mr George made the remarks yesterday at the first African agroecology entrepreneurship territorial markets convening themed “advancing agroecology enterprises for healthy local food economies.” He said: “As Ugandans we are not too far, we have a national agriculture policy which was developed in 2019 and we are currently developing an agriculture bill thus all these are legal frameworks to support agroecology.

He explained that agroecology cannot be successful if Africa will not work as a continent and that food is never food until it is safe, therefore, he called upon Africans to work as a team to save the planet.

Tanzania Organic Agriculture Movement (TOAM) chair Dr Mwatima Juma said, “this is a very powerful big movement and it is important for the continent and Tanzania in general to engage in it because we know that united we stand, agroecology movement will have multiple participation in it and despite support from donors, my caution is that Africa needs to be very careful of not being swayed away from its intended goal.” She said: “Agroecology as our core business, what I’m emphasising is to avoid being used by some conventional agriculture industry in this system.”

Talking about Tanzania, she said the meeting has come at the right time because the country is one step ahead, especially that it is currently developing a national agroecology organic strategy which for them will be a very comprehensive strategy to boost agroecology .

The Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA) board chair, Dr Chris Macoloo, said in 2013 research on agroecology was conducted and its findings showed that agroecology works in Africa to increase food production.

German Federal ministry for economic cooperation and development policy officer Mr Alexander Lingenthal said agroecology is increasing interest in international policy debate and among partner countries therefore responsible Civil Societies Organization (CSOs) and public private partnership should be encouraged to support agroecology.

“Our government is committed to supporting agroecology and PPP in Africa,” he said.

The meeting brought more than 160 participants from 30 African countries, some include Senegal, Ghana, Kenya, Congo DRC, Zambia, Malawi, Tanzania, Rwanda, South Africa and Nigeria.

Original article: The Citizen

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