The session discusses the potential of African regional markets. The session highlights successes from SMEs and Smallholders.
Innovations Session N°6
Growing scientific evidence and local experiences demonstrate how agroecology facilitates and contributes to the transition to food and agricultural systems that are environmentally sustainable, economically viable, and socially equitable. Around the world, farms, communities and regions are engaging in agroecological transitions, and delivering results. Approximately 30% of farms around the world are estimated to have redesigned their production systems around agroecological principles.
There is an increasing amount of evidence showing the positive impacts of agroecology on the environment, on biodiversity, on farmers’ incomes, on resilience, and on adaptation and mitigation to climate change. Building on traditional knowledge and wider management skills passed down through generations also contributes to increased resilience. Knowledge co-creation and dissemination via advisory services and farmer-to-farmer approaches, are key to support development, improvement and uptake of agroecological practices as highlighted by field cases.
Entrepreneurship development is expanding in the production and/or commercialisation of agroecological products, which contribute to sustainable rural development through preservation of their lands, the improvement of their quality of life, and the adoption of a natural and healthy food culture.
Environmental awareness, among both entrepreneurs and the general population, has a favorable influence on agroecological entrepreneurship. However, while agroecological systems draw on natural synergies and use locally-available resources, transitioning to this model entails costs for entrepreneurs who need support.
Various initiatives in support of agroecology benefit entrepreneurs and farmers in Africa. Youth in Agroecology and Business Learning Track Africa (YALTA) is an initiative with the goal to support young agripreneurs to apply agroecological principles and to co-create networks to contribute to increased sustainability of food systems and youth employment in Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, and Rwanda.
While agroecology promotes low use of external inputs, it is a very knowledge-intensive system. Transmission of this knowledge, adaptation to local contexts, and appropriation by farmers and government technicians, are essential steps for farmers and communities to reap the benefits of agroecology. The case studies demonstrate how the expansion of agroecological practices will generate a rapid, fair and inclusive development, that can be sustained for future generations. The Oakland 33 case studies highlight successes of agroecological agriculture across the African continent in the face of climate change, hunger, and poverty.
An increasing number of countries and stakeholders from different backgrounds see agroecology and related approaches as a promising means for reaching adaptation and mitigation targets and to achieve an effective transformational change.
However, there are still barriers to the scaling-up of agroecology. Access to knowledge and understanding of systemic agriculture approaches should be fostered across sectors, stakeholders and scales. Further comparative research on the multidimensional impacts of agroecology should be done. Science and policy interfaces are necessary and the Koronivia Joint Work on Agriculture (KJWA) should be continued to ensure this interface, turning the submissions and recommendations into action. Donors, decision-makers and other stakeholders should embrace complexity, adopt a more systemic understanding of challenges and solutions to hedge against climate change, grasp environmental issues in a holistic way and move towards more policy coherence, by breaking silos. There is a need for developing agroecological curricula at colleges and universities as well as a network of decentralised centres of excellence on agroecology in sub-Saharan Africa.
Agroecological transitions will require significant shifts in the enabling policy environment, with the need for strategies, policies, programs and other actions that are conducive to such transitions. At policy level, there is a global political recognition at the highest level and various initiatives, all key to support the farmers and private sector operators to upscale agroecological practices. Recently, this year at the One Planet Summit held on 11 January 2021, a new coalition, the International Agroecological Movement for Africa (IAM Africa) was launched.
The Special Session of the 48th Plenary of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) (CFS 48) took place virtually endorsed the CFS Policy Recommendations on Agroecological and Other Innovative Approaches. The endorsement of the Policy Recommendations was moved from CFS 47 (held in February 2021) as their negotiations and completion was delayed due to COVID-19. Policy Recommendations include: (i) Lay or strengthen, as appropriate, the policy foundations for agroecological and other innovative approaches to contribute to sustainable agriculture; (ii) Establish, improve and apply comprehensive performance measurement and monitoring frameworks to encourage the adoption of agroecological approaches; (iii) Foster the transition to resilient and diversified sustainable agriculture and food systems through agroecological and other innovative approaches; (iv) Strengthen research, innovation, training, and education and foster knowledge co-creation, knowledge sharing and co-learning, on agroecological and other innovative approaches; and (v) Strengthen institutions for stakeholder engagement, create an enabling environment for empowering people most at risk of food insecurity and malnutrition.
Key points for discussion on transitioning to agroecological practices
- How African MSMEs and farmers organisations can upscale more sustainable practices from farm to fork? What are the drivers of success?
- What obstacles do they face? What support do they need?
- What incentives can be provided to MSMEs and smallholders to transition and accelerate the adoption and implementation of agroecological practices?
Join our Agrinnovators community forum to discuss and explore how to encourage innovations across agricultural value chains to transform food systems in Africa, promote sustainable agriculture, and leverage investment. Share insights, ask questions, and collaborate on innovative solutions for a greener future
Co-founder, Maungo Craft, Bostwana
Olayemi Aganga is a Nigerian-born citizen of Botswana, having moved to Botswana at the age of six. He has a Master’s degree in Intellectual Property Law and practiced law for over seven years both at private practice and also as a government attorney at Botswana’s Attorney General’s Chambers. He currently advises legislation for indigenous foods and serves as the Secretary of the Natural Producers Association of Botswana (NPAB) which promotes the growth of a young industry based on natural and indigenous products that has the potential to change lives, create climate conscious jobs and diversify the economy of Botswana.
Olayemi is the co-founder of Maungo Craft, a company which upcycles indigenous fruits that would otherwise be wasted to produce jams, sauces and syrups and also works with cosmetic oil processors. Maungo Craft creates new value chains between communities, cosmetic processors and farmers to develop a climate change adaptive circular economy. The company started in 2017 and won 13 local, regional and international awards including the Pan African Agripreneurship Competition “Gogettaz” in 2019.
Fatma BEN REJEB
CEO, Pan-African Farmers Organization (PAFO)
Fatma has been working with farmers’ organisations for more than 20 years. She began her involvement in land and legal affairs with farmers and their grassroots organisations. Subsequently, she held the administrative and financial management, and later the international cooperation and the partnership management at the Tunisian National Farmers Organization. She has been Director of the North African Farmers’ Network (UMNAGRI). Fatma holds a Diploma of Advanced Studies in Political Science, a Masters in Juridical Sciences and a Certificate of Specialised Studies in Political and International Studies. She is fluent in Arabic, French, English, Italian and basic knowledge in Spanish.
Head of Networks and Alliances, COLEAD
Isolina is the Head of Networks and Alliances at COLEAD, a non-profit Association of private sector operators in the agrifood sector active in the EU, Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific (ACP) regions. Isolina has more than 25 years of experience in agricultural development. She started her career with the European Commission and has also worked with various ACP embassies and NGOs in areas related to food security, rural development and trade. Before joining COLEAD, she was the Manager of the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation ACP-EU (CTA) Brussels Office (2004-2020) implementing policy initiatives related to the ACP-EU cooperation in the field of agricultural and rural development. She has led agribusiness projects in support of capacity development of SMEs, entrepreneurs and farmers organisations across Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific.
Gustav DESSOGOM BAKOUNDAH
Director, Label d’Or and Jus Délices, Togo
After his high school graduation and having studied banking and finance, Gustav started working with organic pineapple producers. He provided them support to meet the production requirements and looked for export opportunities. Since 2008, he has been developing the export of Togolese tropical fruits with his partners in France. In 2012, he created Label d’Or, a pioneer Togolese company supporting agricultural sectors along the entire value chain (production, processing, export). Label d’Or supports (small) producers in organising themselves into cooperatives and unions, as well as offering training and certification in organic farming. Today, Label d’Or has more than 10,000 producers in 14 organic productions.
Gustav is also Chairman of the Board of Jus Délice, Togo’s first modern organic juice processing plant for export, as well as the country’s largest organic pineapple juice processing plant.
Gustav is President of the National Association of Soybean Exporters (Association Nationale des Commerçants Exportateurs de Soja) and the first President of the Interprofessional Council of the Soybean Sector of Togo (Conseil Interprofessionnel de la Filière du Soja du Togo). He has been made an Officer of the Order of Mono and the National Order of Agricultural Merit in Togo, as well as a Knight of the Order of Agricultural Merit of the French Republic.
Member of the International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems (IPES), co-lead of UNFSS solution cluster Agroecology
Emile Frison is a member of the International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems (IPES). A Belgian national, he spent his entire career in international agricultural research for development, including six years in Africa in Nigeria and Mauritania. In 2003, he became Director General of Bioversity International and developed a strategy entitled “Diversity for Well-being” focusing on the contribution of agricultural biodiversity to the nutritional quality of diets and to the sustainability, resilience and productivity of smallholder agriculture.
Dr Frison is the lead author of the IPES-Food report “From Uniformity to Diversity: a paradigm shift from industrial agriculture to diversified agroecological systems”. He is the Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors of Ecoagriculture Partners, a member of the Mission Board on Soil Health and Food of the European Commission.
General Delegate, COLEAD
Jeremy holds a Master’s degree in Business Engineering from the Solvay Brussels School of Economics and Management (SBS-EM). Prior to joining COLEAD in 2009, he was involved in Guatemala with the daily operations of a farmers’ cooperative exporting loquats to the EU and the US. He started to work for COLEAD as an expert in charge of matters related to private standards and certification for ACP producers and exporters of fruit and vegetables. Jeremy is an accredited coach for leadership and professional development. He has been appointed as General Delegate of COLEAD in June 2019.
Head of Sector, Sustainable Agri-Food systems and Fisheries, DG INTPA, European Commission
Christophe Larose holds a Master degree in Development Economics from Auvergne University, France. He has been a consultant and works for the European Commission as an administrator since 2003. He has been posted in several EU Delegations: Mauritius (with responsibilities over Seychelles, Comoros and Indian Ocean), Madagascar and South Africa. He came back to the Directorate-General for Development and International Cooperation (EuropeAid) of the European Commission in Brussels, Belgium, in September 2016. He is heading the sector in charge of sustainable agriculture which includes innovation, research and digitalisation in agriculture.
Founder and Director, Ferme-École Agroécologique de Kaydara, Senegal
Gora Ndiaye is the President of the Senegalese association “Jardins d’Afrique” and founder of the “Kaydara” agro-ecological farm school. He studied agroecology after a teaching career in Dakar and having worked in several NGOs where he led development projects with a social and environmental dimension. Gora then set up a coconut plantation in the village of Keur Samba Dia and created the farm school to offer alternatives to the rural exodus and to set up agroecological training for young Senegalese.
Since 2007, the association has trained dozens of young farmers at the farm school and has become a reference for local institutions, NGOs and French local authorities working on co-development. The involvement of local elected officials is fundamental in the project to support access to land for young rural entrepreneurs. The “Kaydara” concept is a model based on social inclusion and its vision lies on the symbolism of the initiation tale “Kaydara” (Amadou Hampaté Bâ), where the values of knowledge take precedence over having and power.
Today, Gora actively contributes to the dissemination of this approach in Senegal and in other African countries. He also participates in numerous seminars on this subject in Africa and in Europe.
Co-founder and Chief Technical Officer, LONO, Côte d’Ivoire
Noël N’guessan is a Bioprocess engineer with experience in energy and nutrient recovery from organic waste. He founded with Louise Antonia Bijleveld LONO, an engineering SME based in Côte d’Ivoire, that makes carbon and nutrient recycling accessible to farmers. Since launching in 2017, the company has developed two products under the brand name Kubeko that smallholder farmers can use to directly recycle the nutrients and organic matter back into their soils.
The company works directly with cooperatives and larger value chain organisations to integrate their sustainability strategies such as the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) for palm oil and ECOCERT for cacao and fruit production. The company is also developing larger industrial composting projects that create local bioeconomy for organic waste.
President, Pan-African Farmers Organization (PAFO)
Elizabeth is a Ugandan young agripreneur, President of the Pan Africa Farmers Organization (PAFO) and the Eastern Africa Farmers Federation (EAFF). She is a member of the United Nations Advisory Committee for The Secretary General’s Food Systems Summit 2021, a task force member for AU- EU Cooperation in Agriculture, sits on the Global steering committee for Forest Farm Facility (FFF), serves on the board of Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA), is a Governing Council member for Africa Fertilizer Financing Mechanism (AFFM), member of the steering committee of Pan Africa Agribusiness Chamber (PAAAC) and a board member for ACTESA/COMESA. She also serves on a number of National and local farmers’ and cooperative platforms. Elizabeth is a passionate co-operator and farmer who has been at the fore front of championing digitalization of the agriculture sector through the EAFF farmers’ owned E-granary mobile initiative that virtually aggregates farmers for input, services and output markets. As a result of her efforts and support to Farmers Organizations, she was globally recognized by the World Farmers Organization as one of the women contributing to sustainable development.
Charles Mulozi OLWENY
Advocacy and Campaign Coordinator, Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA)
Charles is a development practitioner working with the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA) as an Advocacy and Campaign Coordinator. He has expertise in public policy analysis and effective organising for social change. He is interested in working with others to ensure that civil society becomes the vanguard for promoting active citizenship and proactive citizen agency as a basis for justice, equity and human dignity.
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