The issue of food sovereignty in Africa
Colonialism and capitalism have promoted the false narratives of food dependency questioning Africa’s capability of growing and distributing its own food. The disruption of Africa’s value chains by such prevailing models has led to less healthy, sustainable, and affordable diets that result from import-based supply models.
In contrast, food sovereignty has risen as a system to approach complex realities of producing, buying, selling, and eating food. It recognizes that control over the food system needs to remain in the hands of farmers, for whom farming is both a way of life and a means of producing food. Food sovereignty promotes the recognition of the knowledge of people and their role in food systems.
Debunking myths about food systems in Africa
Million Belay, coordinator of the Alliance for Food Sovereignty for Africa, and young champions for zero-hunger and green revolution in Africa leader, Amanda Namayi, discuss the pathway back to the continent’s power over its food.
According to Belay, Africa is facing negative narratives (stereotypes) regarding foods systems such as:
- African farmers do not have knowledge of farming techniques
- Land in the hands of Africans is not productive so it has been given to foreigners
- Agriculture in Africa has to be practiced with chemical fertilizers
- African farmers do not understand the farming business
Agroecology is an integrated approach that simultaneously applies ecological and social concepts and principles to the design and management of sustainable agriculture and food systems. “This is why agroecology is a necessary social movement to fight these narratives,” Million Belay points out.
Amand Nayami emphasizes the role youth agri-preneurs play in transforming the food systems in the region, “We’re changing the narrative by being the narrative we want to see.” Parallelly, both leaders agree that policies have to serve the ecology and the agriculture of Africans and for which funding and collaboration are crucial to achieving food sovereignty.
What actions do you think Africans can do to reclaim food sovereignty?
To learn more about agroecology, don’t miss this must-see speaker plenary on How agroecology can feed the world 🌽