AFSA brings small-scale food producers, farmers, pastoralists, fisherfolk, indigenous peoples, faith groups, consumers, women, youth and activists from across the continent of Africa to create a united and louder voice for food sovereignty.
AFSA is an alliance of around 40 member networks active in 50 countries. We estimate that our members outreach to over 200 million people.
AFSA is a continental voice for food sovereignty. Its key message: to advocate for a transition to agroecology in Africa. This transition requires policy change, but also a change of mindset, replacing the underlying narrative of the industrial food system with a holistic view of a better world.
Industrial agriculture is a dead end. It claims to have raised yields but it has done so at great cost, with extensive soil damage, huge biodiversity loss and negative impacts on nutrition, food sovereignty and natural resources.
In many ways, agroecology is the antithesis of industrial, corporate-driven, monoculture-based agricultural systems. Where industrial agriculture seeks to simplify, agroecology embraces complexity. Where industrial agriculture aims to eliminate biodiversity, agroecology depends on it. Where industrial agriculture is based on one-size-fits-all technofix, agroecology provides local solutions to local problems. Where industrial agriculture pollutes and degrades, agroecology regenerates and restores, working with nature – not against nature.
The strongest resistance to agroecology comes from the vested interests of the industrial food system, who have used their huge economic power to convince African governments that industrial agriculture is the way to go.
Can African policy makers be bold enough to embrace the sustainable solution? Or are they going to wait until it’s too late, until the soils are exhausted, biodiversity devastated, nutritional and health problems mounting, and farmers dependent on outside inputs and knowledge?
We need a complete transformation of our food systems. Agroecology is a people-centered system of sustainable agriculture, combining indigenous knowledge with cutting edge science, making the best use of nature to create healthy communities, and empowering a social movement that resists the corporatization of agriculture.
It’s time to let go of tired narratives and failed solutions. It’s time to support small-scale food producers to build a sustainable, resilient, diverse, healthy, productive, and culturally appropriate food system for Africa.
AFSA: Agroecology offers numerous benefits in both policy and practice.
Here are some of the key advantages:
Ethical Sustainability: Agroecology promotes sustainable agricultural practices by integrating ecological principles into farming systems. It emphasizes the use of organic and natural farming methods, minimizing the reliance on synthetic inputs such as pesticides and chemical fertilizers. By maintaining soil health, conserving water resources, and preserving biodiversity, agroecology contributes to long-term sustainability.
Resilience: Agroecological practices enhance the resilience of agricultural systems to climate change impacts. By adopting diverse cropping systems, agroforestry, and integrated pest management, farmers can better adapt to changing climatic conditions. Agroecology encourages the use of traditional and locally adapted crop varieties, which often possess greater resistance to pests, diseases, and extreme weather events.
Increased food security: Agroecological approaches prioritize local and regional food production, reducing dependency on long-distance food transportation. By promoting diversified farming systems, agroecology provides a wider range of crops and agricultural products, improving food availability and access. Additionally, agroecology supports small-scale farmers and local communities, empowering them to produce nutritious food for themselves and their communities.
Conservation of biodiversity: Agroecology recognizes the importance of biodiversity in agricultural ecosystems. By avoiding the use of synthetic chemicals, maintaining diverse landscapes, and integrating natural habitats, agroecology safeguards biodiversity. This leads to the preservation of beneficial insects, pollinators, soil microorganisms, and other vital components of ecosystems, contributing to overall ecological balance.
Economic viability: Agroecology can enhance the economic viability of farming systems. By reducing input costs, such as expensive synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, farmers practicing agroecology can improve their profitability. Additionally, agroecological practices often lead to higher yields over the long term due to improved soil fertility, efficient resource management, and reduced pest pressures. This can provide economic stability and resilience for farmers, especially in the face of volatile market conditions.
Social equity and rural development: Agroecology focuses on empowering small-scale farmers and local communities, especially in rural areas. By promoting knowledge sharing, farmer-led innovation, and participatory approaches, it strengthens local capacities and decision-making processes. Agroecology also emphasizes fair trade practices, reducing inequalities in the agricultural value chain and improving the livelihoods of smallholder farmers.
Health benefits: Agroecology prioritizes the production of nutritious and healthy food. By avoiding the use of harmful chemicals, it minimizes the risks associated with pesticide residues in food and water sources. Agroecological systems also tend to have higher nutrient content in crops due to improved soil fertility. Moreover, the promotion of agroforestry systems enhances access to diverse fruits, nuts, and medicinal plants, leading to improved dietary diversity and health outcomes.
In conclusion, agroecology offers a holistic approach to agriculture that integrates ecological principles with farming practices. Its benefits include sustainability, climate resilience, food security, biodiversity conservation, economic viability, social equity, and improved health outcomes. By adopting agro ecological principles in policy and practice, we can create more resilient, environmentally friendly, and socially just food systems.
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.