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Fossil Fuel Free Farming in Africa

September 2019

Fossil fuels: are they needed for farming? Even though industrial farming is a major source of emissions driving climate change, it doesn’t have to be that way. Farmers and activists in Africa are showing the way forward, away from fossil fuel farming.

Training the trainers

Recently, our partner We Are the Solution (WAS) joined others in Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA) to train leaders among small farmers. After getting training, these leaders will then train others.

This sort of training is common in the food sovereignty movement. As for us, Grassroots International is often there to fund these trainings too. Ultimately, we know how important the movement for food sovereignty is. We also know grassroots movements need to be built from the grassroots themselves.

No fossil fuels needed to grow food

The “Green Revolution” brought fossil-fuel-based fertilizers to Africa. For decades, business spokespeople have claimed these are necessary to feed the world. Yet these costly inputs burden small farmers. They also threaten the climate.

But there’s an alternative. In the video below, Mariama Sonko of WAS shows off a natural fertilizer made from simple, local ingredients. This bio fertilizer Bokashi is cheap, powerful, and good for the environment.

Eco-Science + local Farming

As Mariama says, this is agroecology. It combines modern science with small farming to grow crops naturally. It can feed the world. And it’s both farmer and eco-friendly.

“Today, we believe agroecology… can feed the world healthily.” — Mariama Sonko, We Are the Solution

Groups in the AFSA are decrying the “corporate capture” of African food systems. As they write in a recent statement to the European Union:

“We agree that a sustainable transformation of African agriculture is our shared goal,” they write. But the biggest danger is the corporate control of food, “and the damage this is doing to our environment, our soils and lands, our biodiversity, our nutrition and health, and our food sovereignty. Closely linked is climate change, already a living reality for many millions of African farmers… and fishers, as droughts, rangeland degradation and ocean temperature rises threaten livelihoods and weaken food security. We affirm that agroecology is a solution to both.”

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