1ST Eastern Africa Agroecology Conference Kicks Off In Nairobi

The conference under the theme Transforming Food Systems for Responsible Production, Consumption and Social Wellbeing

Speaking during the first Eastern Africa agroecology conference in Nairobi, Executive Director of the Biovision Africa Trust Dr David Amudavi decried the dire cases of starvation facing millions of Kenyans against the backdrop of large untapped agricultural resources. ‘It’s a crushing disappointment that we have people sleeping hungry in Kenya and only less than a quarter of our land being put under productive use,’ said Dr Amudavi

He noted that adoption of safe farming methods and use of farmer-owned seeds that were traditionally used in the country is the only way to ensure that we can have continuous supply of food for the population. ‘We have witnessed even our rivers drying in areas like Baringo yet they would be flowing with fresh water!’ said Dr Amudavi during the launch of the Agroecology Conference.

This conference aims to invoke consciousness and motivate regional and continental communities to dialogue how to invest in interventions which can ameliorate the negative impacts of the current unsustainable food systems by transitioning towards more environmentally friendly solutions with long-term vision and planning.

Speaking during the launch, Ms Grace Mugo representing the Ministry of Agriculture noted that there is an urgent need to scale up and ensure sustainability of farming systems based on environmentally friendly technologies and methodologies. Ms Mugo noted that the ministry was very much involved in the drive towards ensuring food security in the country and urged all players in the private and public sector to consolidate efforts to ensure interventions towards food sustainability and adopted and put into practice.

Representatives from the African Union led Ecological Organic Agriculture Initiative led by Alex Mutungi noted that the continental body was keen with working with regional and national organisations like the Ecological Organic Agriculture entities to ensure the return to sustainable agricultural methods.

‘We are advocating for safe farming systems that are in sync with the need to slow down the pace of climate change and guarantee a food secure continent,’ noted Mr Mutungi. Ecological Organic Agriculture EOA -I) Initiative Senior Project Manager Ms Venancia Wambua noted that the conference was timely to address a raft of issues that had plagued the food production chain. She expressed the need to have concerted efforts to address emerging issues in technologies that have proven unfriendly to the environment and unsustainable to ensure continuous food production.

Her sentiments were echoed by Dr Sarah Olembo – Chairperson of African Union arm of Farmer Managed Seed Systems (FMSS) who called for the inclusion of women and youth in the drive towards ensuring food security in the country and the continent at large. She noted that women and youth are the keeps of the seeds and they should be at the forefront in the campaign towards having sustainable food systems. Dr Olembo averred that the current famine ravaging many parts of the country is as a result of the exclusion of women from the production chains in agriculture, yet they are the key players in ensuring the adoption of farmer managed seed systems. The launch marked the beginning of a month long period that will be marked by discussions and plenary sessions by experts across the world in Nairobi to review food systems in the region.

Agroecological farming is a call to embrace sustainable food production mechanisms and optimization of local inputs like farmer managed seeds – traditional – in agriculture with the aim to boost the drive towards food security in Africa and the world.

The conference which has attracted wide participation across the African Continent will bring together Players in the sustainable farming systems under the umbrella of the Ecological Organic Agriculture (EOA) both in public and private spheres whom have consistently voiced the negative effects of artificial farming inputs that have continued to increase the pace of climate change and hindered the regeneration of soils for agricultural purposes


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