24 February 2024

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How small-scale farmers can respond to the hunger crisis in the region

In agroecology, we can produce food to end food crisis and hunger that is threatening our country - minister. Mururi
Hunger

Job Mururi displaying some of the organic products. Photo by Marko Talbot/TND News

Last Updated on: 24th March 2023, 01:42 pm

The increasing food crisis in the East African region and Sub-saharan Africa exacerbated by climate change and the use of synthetic chemicals is causing doubt on the small-scale farmers and their capacity to feed the growing population in Africa using organic food produced through agroecological practices.

During the first Agroecology conference which is ongoing in Nairobi, it was revealed that 21 countries are nearing catastrophic levels of both debt distress and food insecurity.

Dr. Hans R. Herren the president and CEO, of Millennium Institute and co-founder and president of Bio Vision Foundation, explained that food prices are down from the 2022 peak, but still historically high, and global hunger levels are rising.

“Global public debt is at its highest levels in almost sixty years for Low Developed Countries have debt services exceeds social spending by 125%, and 60% of low-income countries are now considered at high risk of already in debts distress,” Herren said.

He revealed that some of the countries nearing catastrophic levels are Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, and Sudan.

Mr. Hakim Baliraine the national board chairperson of the Eastern and Southern African Farmers Forum (ESAFF) in Uganda who doubles as the chairperson of Alliance food sovereignty in Africa said the increasing global hunger poses a lot of threat to the growing population.

Baliraine notes that the failure of conventional agriculture calls for shifting from conventional farming to agroecology which is cognitive of the ecosystems and biodiversity.

“Agroecology is the only solution to produce food, employ a lot of the population by giving back the power to the small scale holder farmers” 

Baliraine said, “If all funding, and policy support is invested in conventional agriculture is shifted and put on agroecology, it would have produced enough food to feed Africa.” 

Mr. Job Mururi western Kenya in Kakamega county is engaged in making organic fertilizer and organic manure using local materials said if supported, the farmers will have the capacity to produce more food using locally made fertilizers.

Mururi said he produces up to 2 tons of organic fertilizers and organic manure each season which according to him can be more if supported financially.

“In Agroecology, we can produce food to end the food crisis that is threatening our country, we only need more support from the government and other partners,” Mururi said.

Mr. Rakoto Rakotondramanana from  Madagascar indicate that a review of best practices and Lessons learned in Madagascar show that Madagascar is a major consumer of rice and 283 kg per person per Year is required yet the country is also faced with acute climate change challenges, especially drought, and floods.

“He said the Paddy fields in the lowlands of Madagascar are saturated because of population growth for this, the productions, including that of rice, will be done more on steep hills”

In the context of smallholders and general poverty, the production systems can no longer be made using fossil inputs and must then move towards Best practices and biopesticides

Rakoto said the review concerns not only Best practices on rice but also those of other crops in the Malagasy food system adding that most of the results reported are Best practices tending towards organic farming.

Dr. Emma Siliprandi, Agricultural Officer-Plant Production and Protection Division (NSP), FAO notes that the only way to increase the capacity of smallholder farmers is by injecting more resources into and developing strategic policies. 

“Scaling up Agroecology Initiative requires Cooperation among UN all sectors, Synergies among global initiatives, mobilize resources and investments” Siliprandi stated

Concerns of the international community

In 2022,  a report that was jointly published by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the UN World Food Programme (WFP) and the World Health Organization (WHO) indicates that the number of people affected by hunger globally rose to as many as 828 million in 2021, an increase of about 46 million since 2020 and 150 million since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hunger
Job and some of the farmers. Photo by Marko Taibot/TND News in Nairobi, Kenya.

According to a United Nations report that provides fresh evidence that the world is moving further away from its goal of ending hunger, food insecurity, and malnutrition in all its forms by 2030.

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