A decade later Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) led food policies have resulted in more hunger! Radical and transformative policy shifts towards sustainable agroecological organic approaches is the solution…
January 2020 is manifesting and with it a time to reflect on lessons learned and way forward as a new year and a new decade unfolds. As we celebrate the birth of a new decade we are acutely cognizant that the current food policies have resulted in more hunger rather than less hunger: http://www.fao.org/3/ca5162en/ca5162en.pdf The question that begs and should be in every policymakers mind is: “where did we go wrong and how can we correct this policy mistake”?
- What policies should be put in place to address some of the most pressing issues of our time? These issues include the worrying increase in noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), soil degradation/loss of biodiversity and climate change (climate emergency!)
- Here is evidence that the current food system has failed to achieve food and nutrition security and instead has increased hunger: http://www.fao.org/3/ca5162en/ca5162en.pdf ,
- Finally, physicians, public health and nutrition thought leaders have made the “discovery” that unsafe and poor diets is the major risk factor for NCDs and recommend radical policy shifts to mainstream a safer alternative food system, a regenerative soil healing food system, without synthetic agrochemicals aka an agroecological organic food system as the solution to the life threatening global epidemics of obesity, cancer, diabetes and other NCDs. Here is the evidence as outlined in a recent article in the BMJ (2019) https://www.bmj.com/content/364/bmj.l296
- While the public health and nutrition researchers and policymakers, in their “silos thinking” space are just making this “connection”, agricultural researchers and stakeholders, in their “silos” space, made this observation and recommended corrective policy action, more than a decade ago, in the IAASTD Report, an evidence based report, that the industry shunned.:https://www.globalagriculture.org/fileadmin/files/weltagrarbericht/IAASTDBerichte/IAASTDExecutiveSummarySynthesisReport.pdf
- The failed food system, represented by AGRA, unfortunately, promotes the narrative of “business as usual”…with its obsession with “forced productivity and increased yield/acre” which views agricultural production as a “commodity for sale” and proceeds to celebrate this misguided “silos mentality of success” in African capitals https://www.agri-pulse.com/articles/12579-opinion-africa-leapfrogging-into-the-future.. they have failed to appreciate the monumental detrimental “cost” of this food system to the ecosystem; the harm the synthetic fertilizers, the modified seeds and toxic agrochemicals are causing to the health of humans, the soil and the ecosystem.
- To unpack this misguided and deliberate falsehood of AGRA and allies, Tim Wise and other agroecology experts have conducted a detailed analysis of the ‘achievements” of the 10 years of AGRA’s approach to increasing food production in several African countries, purportedly to reduce hunger. The report card is dismal...it portrays a failure to achieve set targets! Here are the factual statistics and related findings: https://afsafrica.org/agra-at-ten-years-searching-for-evidence-of-a-green-revolution-in-africa/
- For those who don’t mind reading, here is the six page summary document: https://afsafrica.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/agrawiseprelimfindings2017.pdf
- The above evidence, in addition to other literature shared in various articles (refer to previous blog articles, dating as far as 2015, on this blog series), provides ample justification for the need for a policy shift from the current fossil fuel, petrochemical and synthetic fertilizers/agrochemicals based foods system: The evidence points to failure!
- The solution and way forward is simple: Mainstreaming agroecological policies and practices within UN food policy frameworks, national and local governments farming food production policies and practices. Here is evidence it works in Africa: https://afsafrica.org/case-studies-agroecology/. More evidence: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4553536/... over 139 referenced articles!
- Agroecology, additionally, provides the “double solution” to climate change challenges and improved small scale farmer incomes and livelihoods: Here is the evidence: https://cdn.gca.org/assets/2019-09/TheContributionsOfAgroecologicalApproaches.pdf
- What are the next pragmatic steps in promoting agroecology? These include increasing farmer and consumer knowledge and awareness of AE while building capacity along the agroecology(AE) value chains, starting with making certified (and wild produce) organic foods available, accessible, acceptable and affordable to consumers, taking into account their cultural food preferences.
- The Rodale Institute, in the USA, has been leading the way, for over 60 years, in researching organic certification standards and producing organically certified foods: https://rodaleinstitute.org/ and more recently, among others, Dr. Zack Bush, a triple Board Certified Physician, has gone full circle from developing chemotherapy drugs, for cancer, to realizing that the real solution to cancers and other non-communicable diseases is not chemotherapy but rather healing the soil and getting rid of toxic agrochemicals, with the glyphosate aka Roundup, as lead offender :https://www.salon.com/2019/10/14/why-dr-zach-bush-believes-herbicides-could-end-life-on-earth/ and https://www.acresusa.com/pages/tractor-time-podcast
- What is organic certification and what does it entail? Currently the IFOAM Standards, which are FAO accredited, provide the gold standard: https://www.ifoam.bio/en/ifoam-standard
- Finally, locally, at Organic Consumers Alliance(OCA), we practice what we preach: We have an Organic Certification Program which certifies small scale farmers ranging from Participatory Guaranteed Systems(PGS) to 3rd Party Organic Certification: You can reach us here: https://www.organicconsumers.co.ke/organic-guarantee/certification.html
- Thank you for walking with us, at OCA, over the last decade…the future is here…it is organic…we continue in the evidence based believe that.. “Your health is your first wealth”…