The Green Revolution advocates should stop pushing failing policies

Imported fertiliser being loaded onto a lorry in Mombasa. PHOTO | POOL

The 13th African Green Revolution Forum recently wrapped up in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania. Some may have expected needed changes to approaches that have failed to deliver productivity or food security.

But the summit offered little more than the same old gruel of monoculture crops and agricultural chemicals.

The final communique from the Food Systems Forum calls for “cultivating resilient, sustainable, and nourishing food systems prioritising human well-being and the planet’s health… shaping food systems that feed populations and safeguard the environment for present and future generations.”

Nice words, but how do AGRA and its summit hope to “shape food systems that feed populations and safeguard the environment” when they continue to promote the same failing Green Revolution approach dependent on fossil-fuel-based fertiliser?

And when they continue to lend a deaf ear to farmers calling for agroecology and other effective approaches?

The solution to hunger, climate change and failing nutrition lies with the farmers and in the kinds of sustainable agricultural practices offered by agroecology, an approach that rebuilds soils and crop diversity.

The agroecology movement has gained momentum as farmers struggle with the increasing costs of synthetic fertilisers and toxic pesticides.

Agroecology is not about going back to the hoe. Agroecology is a science. The transition to agroecology promotes the use of bio fertilisers and biopesticides that support the building of soil fertility and carbon content.

Farmers work closely with research scientists to test soils and identify effective, low-cost improvements to enhance the production of nutritious foods.

Yet even as we promote agroecology, seed and chemical companies are co-opting sustainable agriculture language without abandoning their harmful practices.

A huge chunk of our hard-earned GDP in Kenya goes to subsidising synthetic fertiliser, destroying soil fertility and our environment.

At the Africa Climate Summit, we saw corporate leaders hijack proposals for meaningful steps to mitigate and adapt to climate change, by offering business-friendly plans for carbon markets.

As we now know carbon credit only serves to catalyse land grab and buy polluters the licence to carry on with their dirty businesses.

Anne Maina is the National Coordinator of the Biodiversity and Biosafety Association of Kenya (BIBA-Kenya).

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