Uganda Joins Global Eco-Farming Debate in Rome

1348 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
It is believed that agro-ecology also known as eco-farming could deliver nutritious, environmentally friendly food for a growing world, increase farmers earnings and make farms more resilient to climate change.

A number of delegates from Africa including Uganda are meeting in Rome, Italy to push policies for promotion of Argo-ecology farming practices. 

Agro-ecology is the practice of using ancient farming techniques such as natural pesticides, crop rotation, and terracing in farming among others to defend small-scale farmers' needs.

It also promotes the use of some known indigenous knowledge practices in food production instead of relying on costly agro-chemicals normally out of reach for those in rural areas.

It is believed that agro-ecology also known as eco-farming could deliver nutritious, environmentally friendly food for a growing world, increase farmers' earnings and make farms more resilient to climate change.

The participants from Uganda and other African countries are represented under the Alliance For Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA). They join around 500 other experts in agro-ecology - from academics and non-government organisation leaders to food activists and farmers - from around the world.

A statement from AFSA regional office in Kampala calls on governments to recognise the value and potential of agro-ecology in promoting good nutrition and health.

AFSA believes that industrial agriculture has locked farmers into a path where external inputs are a must and undermined their resilience.

Dr. Million Belay, AFSA Coordinator, says Argo-ecology is taking off worldwide. "There is an avalanche of evidence coming from almost everywhere in the world that ago-ecology works," said Belay in a statement.

AFSA has used the occasion in Rome to launch a new policy report titled "A study of Policies, Frameworks and Mechanisms related to Agro-ecology and sustainable food systems in Africa." It says many agriculture polices in Africa were driven by donor influence and multinational corporations pushing for intensive use of chemical fertilisers, hybrid seeds and pesticides.  
 
Meanwhile the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) Director-General Jose Graziano da Silva, told the conference on Tuesday that there is need to create sustainable food systems that offer healthy and nutritious alternatives and also preserve the environment.

Countries like Ecuador, South Korea, China, France, Italy, and Denmark have begun putting in place laws and policies to promote agro-ecological practices. But participants say those laws still need to be more heavily enforced and governments need to move away from large-scale agriculture in order to better feed the world.

The meeting is being held at a time when some have expressed doubt whether the ancient practices being promoted by agro-ecology supporters can be able to support farming given the the abundant plant and animal diseases as well as viruses. 

The conference closing on Thursday is expected to move the topic of agro-ecology in FAO from dialogue to activities at the regional and country level by complementing on-going initiatives to integrate biodiversity and ecosystem services in agriculture.