Agroecology as peopleâ€™s real solution to climate crisis Ndabezinhle Nyoni
What’s agroecology: application of ecologically concepts and principles to the design and management of sustainable agro-ecosystems
• Scientific discipline: study of agro-ecosystem component interactions • Set of practises: sustainable farming systems optimising and stabilising yields • Social movement: pursues food sovereignty & multifunctional roles for agriculture (nature/agric/society relationships)
Agroecology Why now? • Industrial agriculture failure • Growing concerns for more healthy foods • Changing climate: search climate resilience in agric • Alarming global inequality levels (a few 1% super rich vs. billions =poverty, (malnutrition-stunting, maternal mortality, landless, shaky dwellers, dumpsite scavangers etc
• We are calling for: Food sovereignty: Focuses on food for people; Values food providers; Localizes food systems; Put control locally; Build knowledge and skills & Works with nature
False solutions: Increase GHG
•Climate-(un)smart agriculture; Monocropping; Geoengineering & transgenics; food fortification (ICN, SUN, Nutrition for Growth) •Agrofuels [Land grabs] and (damming water); Carbon trading, REDD etc • Concentration and centralisation of the food system (Cargill, ADM, Bayer, Monsanto, Syngenta, Bunge, Heinz, McDonald, etc) •Green “revolution”: Agro-chemicals and fertilisers etc (AGRA, AATF, Grow Africa, G8 New Alliance, WEF New Vision for Africa, Bill and Melinda Foundation, many others)
Real solutions: resilience & sustainability – Reduce GHG •Diversity of agroecological farming methods (crop rotation and fallowing; cover crops and mulching; intercropping; agro-forestry; use of local resources and renewable energy sources, composting, kraal manure; efficient water harvesting, biological management of pests, diseases & weeds etc)- not homogeneous: varies with local context. Shared through farmer-to farmer horizontal learning (la via Campesina established over 40 agroecology schools •Peasant seeds/farmer/local saved seeds and livestock-genetic diversity & adaptation •Sustainable management of natural resources by the people (forests [food, medicines, cultural, identity] land, water, etc) •Comprehensive Popular Agrarian Reform
Is there any hope for agroecology- 21st century?
Is there any hope for agroecology- 21 st century? • Social movements are calling for a shift from industrial agric production model to Agroecology (Food sovereignty) supported by: – Consumer consciousness on the rise: healthy diets & food system change to participatory approach ( where food was produced, who produced it, or how they produced it) Food Democracy – Climate change effects: global warming- droughts & floods – Increased knowledge on benefits (not only on yields but economic, environmental and social): through use of multi-dimensional analysis tools – Horizontal learning (Agroecology schools) Methodology: based on farmer-to-farmer experiences, direct exchanges, horizontal learning, organised by farmer's organisations themselves, based on the needs and knowledge of farmers. It is not a top-down approach. Documentation
– FAO symposium on Agroecology opened a window for debate and acceptance (UNCTAD, IAASTD, UNEP, etc) – Acceptance of food sovereignty and agroecology by some politicians and policy makers as a solution to food and climate crises – UN Declaration on Peasants’ Rights process (more support) – Attempts at UN to control and prosecute TNCs
Limitations to scaling up agroecology • Lack of supportive policies and institutions – Inadequate research and extension support – Lack of incentives – Insecure land tenure (widespread land grabbing etc) – Biased agricultural and trade policies favouring agro-food industry
• Lack of understanding of what drives farmers’ choices – Short term profits vs. long term sustainability and resilience – Agric. Mechanisation and technological improvements vs. (Large amounts of soft inputs labour, management skills and knowledge- Cultural heritage) – Massive marketing by food industry vs. (Lack of social/human relations (collective trust and cohesion)
Conclusions • Agroecology is the only way to “cool” the planet in a way that is cost free, that builds resilience and enhances sustainability in agriculture – Path of harmony with nature and a respect for life (encouraging reduction & recycling of food waste and the relocalisation of food production and consumption) – We should push for policies that support the real solution: food sovereignty.