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Producers and policy makers committed to an agenda for agroecology in Sub-Saharan Africa

Meeting in Dakar vows for advocacy for more climate-resilient production models through agroecology

Photo: ©FAO/Senegal

5 November 2015, Dakar – A Regional Meeting for Africa on Agroecology for food and nutrition security in Sub-Saharan Africa brought together for two days in Dakar over 300 participants, representing social movements and producers, the private sector, the academia and agronomic research institutes, as well as indigenous peoples and grassroots communities from across Sub-Saharan Africa and other continents.

This technical forum is organized by FAO in partnership with the Government of Senegal with support from France and several international foundations, such as the Global Alliance for the Future of Food, the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation and the New Field Foundation.

With the approach of the COP21 to be held in Paris, France, on climate change, agroecology remains of a particular importance for developing more resilient production models, able to better adapt to climate change.

During the official opening of the conference on behalf of the President of the Republic of Senegal, Macky Sall, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Equipment, Papa Abdoulaye Seck, has called on actors to seek together to strengthen the relevant mechanisms to support family farms, which represent nearly 70% agricultural production systems.

"Considering the enormous potential existing in our respective countries, initiatives and development of agricultural policies to address food challenges, environmental and energy, way out of food insecurity and malnutrition are all drawn," said the Senegalese minister, while highlighting the potential of Agroecology.

Towards a concrete commitment for agroecology

The Dakar meeting reiterated the strong commitment of FAO and its participating partners for an agenda for agroecology in Sub-Saharan Africa. Among the participants were the African Union Commission (AUC), the Government of Senegal and the Ministry of Agriculture of Benin.

In a video message delivered to the participants, the FAO Director-General, José Graziano da Silva, stressed the need to move quickly to sustainable food systems with more production and less impact on the environment, while recognizing the central role of millions of small-scale producers and family farmers.

“Working together, we can pave the way to a sustainable future that leaves no one behind, and become the zero hunger generation”, he stated. “FAO stands ready to assist you / in finding solutions to the challenges faced by the global food systems.”

More than 800 million people are hungry in the world while the problem of obesity and overweight exist worldwide; 30 to 50 percent of food waste yield gaps, aging farmers, greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture and social unrest are all issues which need to and can be addressed through Agroecology.

Even though the major challenges of high food insecurity and climate change are evident in Sub-Saharan Africa, those, less obvious, related to soil erosion and depletion of organic matter which is the very source of soil fertility and productivity should also be mentioned. The key question is, therefore, how to create more “virtuous” cycles and generate positive synergies.

A regional dialogue with an international objective

This technical meeting by FAO and its partners is, in effect, a follow-up of an International Symposium on Agroecology organized by FAO on 18-19 September 2014 in Rome. It has been recommended in that first meeting that any work on agroecology would have to be based on local realities and their economic, social and environmental conditions.

Three regional meetings were, then, scheduled: for Latin America and the Caribbean (Regional Meeting in Brasilia, Brazil, 24-26 June 2015); for the Sub-Saharan Africa (Regional Meeting in Dakar, Senegal, 5-6 November 2015); and for Asia and the Pacific (Regional Meeting in Bangkok, Thailand, 24-26 November 2015).

The approach of agroecology incorporates the traditional knowledge and skills of communities around the world while integrating ecological, agronomic, economic and social research. Many agroecological experiences exist in all regions of the world and policies on agroecology are in place in many countries in Latin America and Europe.

The Dakar meeting aims at promoting dialogue on science and implementation experience of agroecology. The objective is to assess the current state of agroecological practices in Africa through experience sharing among the stakeholders. The participants will also identify constraints and opportunities for agroecology in Sub-Saharan Africa as well as the expectations of stakeholders.

 

Links

 All documents and presentations: http://www.slideshare.net/FAOoftheUN/tag/agroecology.

 

Twitter: Follow #Agroecology @FAOAfrica

Flickr: Photos of the event will be posted on FAO’s Flickr account

 

Contacts: Communication

Guilaine Thébault Diagne, Senegal FAO Office | Email: Guilaine.Thebault@fao.org | Tel: +221 774309946 |

Penda Mbow, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Equipment, Senegal | Email: mbowpendarts@gmail.com  |

Tel: +221 776398656

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