Le rôle des femmes rurales et des petits exploitants dans la société africaine a été fortement sous-évalué. Il en est ainsi en dépit du fait que près de 80 % de la population de l’Afrique est tributaire de l’agriculture à petite échelle ; elle est l’épine dorsale de l’économie rurale et les femmes fournissent 70 % de la main-d’œuvre agricole. Il est évident que l’agroécologie est cruciale pour les femmes agricultrices. Maintenant, nous sommes confrontés au défi de découvrir comment promouvoir au mieux ses principes dans un contexte défavorable et comment la pratique peut éclairer les politiques au niveau local et national.
Knowledge held by citizens provides insights about new food cultures and practices. While acknowledging the usefulness of top-down tools, Oliver De Schutter argues that the state should also embrace the need to learn, observe and be surprised by citizen-led initiatives.
In an attempt to solve problems, people collectively ask questions and discuss and implement solutions. Elizabeth Mpofu describes how knowledge co-creation is commonplace in the lives of people and in agroecology. From these processes, social, political, and practical innovations emerge.
All over the world women play a unique and vital role in fixing our broken food system. There is a strong need in Europe to strengthen women farmers in their work, through education and training, argues Hanny van Geel.
In most cultures, the home gardens are women’s territory. Pablo Tittonell describes how female farmers safeguard the most important inheritance we may receive, one that is essential for agroecology, for future food and for nutritional security: cultural and biological diversity.
Pablo Tittonell makes the case that we can learn from nature about how to restore the soil’s capacity to capture and store water. Moreover, he argues, this agroecological solution brings many additional benefits for society.
Nnimmo Bassey argues that the right to water is today’s most violated of human rights. He makes a plea to reject privatisation of water in any form and to value agroecological knowledge on water management.
Pablo Tittonell argues that it is high time we rethought the role of farms that straddle the rural–urban continuum. Peri-urban farming contributes to food security, buffers shocks and maintains agrobiodiversity.
Biraj Patnaik argues that the WTO must allow developing countries to address their people’s food security needs. He outlines the fundamental changes needed to reverse this injustice.
Historically, scientists learnt from farmers to unravel the interplay between nature and farming. Pablo Tittonell believes that this year, the International Year of Soils, presents an opportunity to foster a true dialogue of wisdoms, bringing farmer knowledge and scientific knowledge closer together again.
Marcela Villareal says that healthy soils are essential for healthy lives. And, there is an urgent need to ensure the sustainable management of soils to ensure sustainability and food and nutrition security for all.
We are told that high input agriculture will boost food production in Africa. A persistent worry for Million Belay is the loss of knowledge related to our nutritious, traditional crops if they succeed.
We need to introduce the genes of multiple species to our own genes to help our bodies adapt and evolve within our changing world. We need dietary diversity, says Zayaan Khan.
Million Belay tells the story of how Aman Mame reads his landscape, and uses it to explain how social memory provides the context for responding to ecosystem change.
We need more farmers, not less, says John D. Liu. But as farmers can help limit climate change and increase biodiversity, so shouldn’t they be paid for more than simply the food that they produce?
Why is poverty deepening in Africa even when millions of dollars continue to be poured in to alleviate it?, asks Million Belay. He answers by highlighting how we need to promote agroecology, treat agriculture as a system, and move away from green revolution approaches.
Navina Khanna introduces the food justice movement in the USA, and how from the corner shop to Capitol Hill, communities are making waves, and fighting for fairer policies in both corporate and governmental sectors.
Governments and intergovernmental agreements on agrobiodiversity do not improve farmer and indigenous rights, the team of GRAIN argues. The peasants who are keeping agrobiodiversity alive are under threat from the rapid expansion of industrial farming. We need to fight for food sovereignty to preserve local agrobiodiversity.
We see an erosion of knowledge about our agrobiodiversity all over Africa, Million Belay says. Culture is at the centre of agrobiodiversity protection, he argues, and Africa’s agriculture policies should support this. There is a better way to feed Africa while maintaining our cultural practices in harmony with nature.
The International Year of Family Farming comes at a time when the majority of agricultural policies do not meet the needs of family farmers, particularly of women. Yet, family farmers deserve to be supported for many different reasons. Fatou Batta, in her last column of 2013, gives some suggestions for appropriate measures for supporting family farmers.