Ahead of the Fifth AU-EU Agriculture Ministerial Conference on June 30th, 2023, Africa’s largest social movements and civil society organizations will hold a virtual press conference demanding a transition of African food systems away from corporate-control and towards agroecology.
Leaders are calling for a redesign of EU investment policies and public development finance to shift funding towards the agroecological transition, reducing Africa’s dependency on food and chemical imports. This transformation aims to establish sustainable and resilient food systems, promote bio-fertilizer production, farmer-managed seed systems, territorial markets, and family farming. On the other hand, industrial agriculture is a major driver of climate change, accumulating debt for small farmers, and promoting monocultures and toxic chemicals. Since 2020, following multiple crises, African countries are struggling with bloated food and fertilizer prices. During the same period, the world’s nine largest fertilizer companies have more than tripled their profits.
African civil society organizations have actively participated in previous AU-EU initiatives but are frustrated with the ongoing corporate control of their food systems. Although small-scale farming provides up to 80% of the food consumed in sub-Saharan Africa, these producers receive minimal support. Instead, almost 90% of the billions in global subsidies distributed to farmers each year contribute to harming people’s health, exacerbating the climate crisis, destroying nature, and driving gender inequality. African Peoples’ movement and civil society organizations believe that by addressing the real needs and concerns of the African people, Africa can lead the transition to sustainable food systems through agroecology.
“As we celebrate the rising common vision among the people of our two continents, amidst the increasing global food crisis, we urge African and European governments to champion the food sovereignty of the continent and work towards a more equitable, prosperous, and sustainable future for all.”
– Hakim Baliraine, Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa
At the press conference, civil society leaders will outline the key demands set out in an African civil society statement endorsed by 120 organisations destined to be shared at the 5th AU-EU Agriculture Ministerial Conference on June 30th in Rome. The Hon Minister of Agriculture of Burkina Faso will respond to the statement and take questions from journalists.
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The online press conference on 27 June at 11am GMT will feature African civil society leaders and a Government Minister:
- Anne Maina, Director, Biodiversity and Biosafety Kenya (BIBA-Kenya) – Moderator
- Hon. Dr Dénis Ouedraogo, Minister of Agriculture, Burkina Faso
- Sister Regina Ignatia Aflah, Coordinator (Human Rights & Justice), Caritas Africa
- Hakim Baliraine, Chair, Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA)
- Massa Kone, Spokesperson, Global Convergence of Struggles for Land and Water in West Africa (CGLTE)
Note on agroecology
Agroecology is a people-centric system of sustainable agriculture and a social justice movement driven by local farmers and other food producers to maintain power over their local food systems, protect their livelihoods and communities, and defend every African’s right to nutritious and diverse food.
Uniting generations of indigenous knowledge, farmer-driven and science-based innovation, and an ecosystem’s natural processes, agroecological food systems can adapt to and solve the climate crisis and resist the corporate control of African lands.
In Africa, farmers, pastoralists, fisherfolk, and communities use agroecology to steward their land sustainably, produce nourishing food that celebrates cultural heritage, and strengthen local markets and economies.