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Indigenous knowledge, food security and sovereignty of the African farmer

Photo credit: Ghana Crusader

Substantial grain yields have been recorded by small holder farmers who have adopted the Zai Technology Farming in the Upper East Region.

‘Indigenous Knowledge of African farmers be enhanced’

Source: GNA

Dr Ahmed Yakubu Alhassan, the Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture in charge of Crops, on Wednesday reiterated the need for indigenous knowledge of the African farmer to be enhanced, to achieve food security and sovereignty.

He said Africa had the needed trained human resources in scientific research to contribute to that knowledge or technology development.

Dr Alhassan, who was speaking at the opening of the Fourth Planning and General Meeting of Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA) in Accra, said “the era of despair, timidity and sometimes outright cynicism of African agriculture must give way to confidence, mutual trust and co-operation among stakeholders.”

AFSA is a Pan-African platform of 21 networks and farmer organisations championing small African Family Farming/Production Systems based on agro-ecological and indigenous approaches that sustain food sovereignty and the livelihoods of communities.

The three-day meeting is on the theme: “Building on International Year of Soils, Strengthening Family Farming,” and it is being attended by over 30 participants from the continent.

Dr Alhassan said: “African family farms need technology generated by African scientists in Africa to increase productivity. This is paramount in the light of eroding natural resources and therefore dwindling potential for exploitation,” he said.

He said only Science and Technology could sustain the twin challenges of increasing productivity with less water and soil resources, and that explained why African governments were seeking the best technology either from conventional or biotechnology sources, to address the growing problems of climate change and its impact on food security.

That, he said, governments do by creating a level playing field for safe engagement of all technologies in agriculture and “we cannot achieve these objectives by pulling apart, but by pooling our collective strengths as public and private non-governmental sectors for the benefit of enhanced family farm productivity and African food and nutrition security”.

He said evidence suggested that family farmers in Africa were highly vulnerable to poverty, especially considering their limited capacity to absorb shocks, such as climate change and market forces, which had implications for food and nutrition security.

He, therefore, called for a holistic action to effectively put in place appropriate policy environment to help resource poor family farmers, to deploy their productivity potential, and sustainably manage the natural resources to enable them to feed the world and care for the environment.

Read the full article: Ghana Web

See also: Ghana Crusader

Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.