A new book on sustainable family farming in Africa sheds light on attempts by hundreds of civil society groups who have joined forces to oppose efforts to drive mechanisation in agriculture.
The book entitled My food is African: Healthy soil, safe foods and diverse diets can now be downloaded for free. It is published by the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA).
AFSA’s members include farmers’ organisations, non-profits, consumer movements and smallholder farmers, amongst others.
“Sustainable and innovative family farming is the only way for people in Africa to ensure food security, nutritious diets, economic autonomy and improved standards of living,” says Dr Chris Macoloo, chairperson of the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa and regional director for East Africa at World Neighbors.
“This new book provides concrete examples of farmers who have raised output and productivity and built thriving businesses that meet the needs of their families and communities.”
In a release about the book, AFSA says even before Russia’s war on Ukraine unsettled commodity markets and drove up food prices, many countries in Africa faced shortages and food insecurity.
One suggested solution is to accelerate the adoption of the “green revolution” industrial agriculture techniques used in Europe, North America and other areas. According to AFSA, these techniques have been put into practice throughout the continent through funding from foundations and other international organisations.
Protecting soil, water
This year’s food price increases have, according to AFSA, provided a reason for some of these organisations to intensify efforts to consolidate land holdings and introduce mechanisation and increased chemical inputs. These changes would necessarily impact family farmers, and is vehemently opposed by AFSA.
“But far more than opposition, AFSA offers a positive vision of sustainable family farming that provides adequate food, increased incomes and environmental protection,” says Macoloo.
Much of this vision can be found in in My food is African: Healthy soil, safe foods and diverse diets.
The book, written by development experts and practitioners, provides a comprehensive overview of sustainable farming practices in numerous countries. All of the innovations are rooted in community priorities and build on known, as well as new, methodologies to enhance output while protecting soil and water for future generations.
Earlier, the International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth estimated that Sub-Saharan Africa had up to 100 million family farms. The late Professor Sam Moyo, a founding member of the African Institute of Agrarian Studies and a giant of agrarian studies, said family farmers were central to “a sustainable future for agriculture, eradicating hunger and poverty, achieving social cohesion, employment and sustainable use of natural resources.”