Agroecology as a cornerstone of sustainable food systems – global issues


The most important goal of a diet or agricultural production is to increase food production for our growing population, but nutrition is essential.  Production booth in Harlem, New York.  Credit: Alison Kentish/IPS
The most important goal of a diet or agricultural production is to increase food production for our growing population, but nutrition is essential. Production booth in Harlem, New York. Credit: Alison Kentish/IPS
  • by Alison Kentish (United nations)
  • Interpress service

Described as a “people’s summit,” the Italian government will host the July 26-28 event and will adopt a hybrid model, with some delegates on site in Rome and others online.

Organizers say scientists will present the latest research into transforming global food systems, while policy makers are expected to discuss funding and action to address issues such as land degradation, conflict and climate change, which are exacerbating global hunger and food insecurity.

Earlier this year, the Global Network Against Food Crises reported that Acute hunger has risen to its highest level in five years. With the COVID-19 pandemic, conflict, biodiversity loss and Half of the Earth’s land is classified as degradedThe gathering warned of the need for funding and urgent action to reverse the rising trend of food insecurity.

The General Coordinator of the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA) Million Belay believes that agroecology plays a special role in ending hunger.

Pillay, a member of the International Expert Panel on Sustainable Food Systems (IPES-Food) and the Barilla Foundation, researches the transformation of food systems in Ethiopia.

While the AFSA will not participate in United Nations Food Systems Summit, the largest civil society group in Africa that organizes its own events, based on sustainability, indigenous knowledge and knowledge.

Pillay spoke to IPS about the importance of agroecology and how systems like the Barilla Foundation’s Food Pyramid can help target hunger at its root.

Here are excerpts from the interview:

IPS: Can we start with a brief introduction to the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa?

Million Belay (MB): The Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa is a movement. It is broad-based – we have farmers, fishermen, pastoralists, indigenous peoples, women’s and youth networks, civil society networks, consumer networks, religious institutions.

Among the 55 African countries, our members work in at least 50 countries and we work with two hands. On the one hand, we are fighting the corporateization of Africa. We fight for our lands, our seeds, our waters, our lives. On the other hand, we propose a solution. Our solution is ecological agriculture.

IPS: In the face of climate change, growing food insecurity and hunger, there has been a push towards agroecology. How important is agroecology to address some of these critical issues of our time?

Megabyte: Agroecology is a response to many issues on many fronts.

The most important goal of a diet or agricultural production is to increase food production for our growing population, but nutrition is essential. We must eat healthy food and this is an area that is severely affected by climate change.

Also, when we produce food, the diet should not affect the biosphere, which includes our climate, our diversity, our waters and our land. Food production should also be respectful of our culture. We have a rich culture, which is the result of thousands of years of practices and traditions by our societies.

These are some of the important factors in the diet process.

The right food is also very important. Everyone has the right to food.

The question, then, is what kind of system ensures this? Right now, unfortunately, the system is based on productivity, it’s based on chemicals, seed ownership and our land ownership. Agroecology comes with a completely different paradigm. It ticks all the correct boxes. It is mainly based on people’s knowledge and people’s practices, but it also contains the latest science.

Agroecology is also a social movement. This is why we use it because at the heart of agroecology is the right to food and human rights issues are closely linked to climate change, for example. Climate affects our food. Climate affects our water, our land, and our lives. Many things happen because of the problem we didn’t create.

Agroecology deals with the soil, it deals with biodiversity that is important for resilience, because it depends on the diversity of crops and the diversity of practices.

I think what climate change also brings us is the unpredictability of the future. What type of farming is important for an unpredictable environment? You have no idea what’s coming tomorrow. Agroecology helps answer these kinds of concerns.

IPS: The international community is preparing for the United Nations Food Systems Summit (UNFSS). As a food systems researcher, what are your hopes for the summit?

Megabyte: We (AFSA) have already decided to organize a meeting Abroad From that top food.

We do not agree with the summit path. How it is handled or controlled or how the agenda is organized. We are not happy The Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa wrote a letter to Food Systems Summit Special Envoy Dr. Agnes Kalibata with a set of demands that were not met.

However, we have begun the process of developing our own food policy which includes dialogue at country level in 24 countries. These are diet conversations that we started even before the UNFSS.

Also, at the level of the African Union, we are trying to develop a food policy framework for Africa that is based on sustainability.

IPS: What is your role on the Barilla Foundation’s advisory board and how does the Foundation contribute to transforming the food system?

Megabyte: The majority of the board members are from Italy, but the issues they raise have a global impact. In addition to scientific studies, they organize annual global gatherings where critical issues about the global food system are discussed.

The outcomes of those global talks are very important for any part of the continent. My role is to present the African perspective, an African point of view, in my writing and discussions.

It is important to note that it is not only the African perspective, but also civil society input that is not reflected in many other places.

IPS: The Barilla Foundation continues to invest time and resources in developing sustainable food systems. What are some diets that you think have worked?

Megabyte: The Foundation is reorienting a food pyramid. It is a very interesting concept under development. Previously, he was based on the Mediterranean diet.

The indications of the diet they develop are also noteworthy. In terms of the framework for the future, this pyramid and those indicators are important for other areas. Other parts of the world can use these models to assess their diets.

After participating in one of the Foundation’s events, we organized our own event in Africa. We had the African Diet Summit last year. It was a very big activity and it served as an example of what is happening in other parts of the world.

What is really interesting is the composition of the board. There are people in touch with how politics is going in Europe. There are already high-ranking scientists working on the effects of a bad diet there are university researchers who offer a different perspective and I’m on the side of civil society and social movement.

© Inter Press Service (2021) – All rights reservedOriginal source: Inter Press Service


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