Leading world agricultural experts, scientists, value chain actors, farmers and policymakers will be coming to Nairobi next week to chart a way forward on how to substantially and sustainably reduce the use of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers in the African continent. The Conference will also discuss the dangers of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and define strategies for increasing the uptake of agroecological programmes and initiatives. The 1st International Conference on Agroecology Transforming Agriculture & Food Systems in Africa, will also provide a platform for discussions on how to enhance ecological trade in the region.
The overall aim of the event, which is hosted by the World Food Preservation Centre (WFPC), IFOAM Organics International (IFOAM) and Biovision Africa Trust (BvAT) and their local and international partners, is to facilitate the establishment of truly sustainable food and agriculture systems in the continent. The three-day Conference, will take place at the Safari Park Hotel from 18 – 21 June, 2019. The official opening ceremony will take place on June 18th, 2019 from 8.30am – 1.00pm. The theme is “Reducing Synthetic Fertilizers and Pesticides by Scaling up Agroecology and Promoting Ecological Organic Trade,” is to facilitate the establishment of truly sustainable food and agriculture systems in Africa and sharing of the FAO Scaling up Agroecology Initiative for introduction in Eastern Africa. The conference will also showcase opportunities to scale up Ecological Organic domestic and regional trade in East Africa. From a Kenya country perspective, this conference will provide an opportunity for learning and sharing of experiences amongst various actors in the sector with a view to stimulating, promoting and advocating for increased systematic achievements of the Big Four Agenda, especially agenda 4 on food security.
The Conference will bring together over 500 participants and 30 exhibitors from various countries who have a strong interest in the growth and development of the agroecological sector. These include policy makers, representatives from various Ministries and counties, leaders of civil society organisations, practitioners, development partners and the academia. Key value chain actors including local producers & smallholder farmers have also confirmed participation. Further, the Conference has confirmed attendance of internationally renowned high-profile speakers including; Dr. Josefa Sacko (AU Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture), Prof. Gilles Eric Seralini from France, Prof. Hans Herren from USA, Prof. Tyrone Hayes from USA, Dr. Judith Carmen from Australia, Prof. Ratemo Michieka from Kenya, Dr. Million Belay from Ethiopia and Dr. Darcy Ogada from Kenya.
“We are humbled and honoured to host this important event which is coming at a time when there is a growing interest in agroecological initiatives because they are increasingly seen as part of an innovative and sustainable response to the challenges facing our food and agriculture systems,” said Dr. David Amudavi, Executive Director, Biovision Africa Trust (BvAT).
He added: “For Africa to achieve food security, we need to shift to a sustainable food systems approach and adopt agricultural practice that significantly increase resilience, reduce loss of biodiversity and soil degradation and destruction. As a leading non-governmental organization that advances the need for agriculture to be pegged on agroecology principles and practices, supporting the processing, dissemination and systematic application of scientifically and practically validated information and knowledge on sustainable agriculture, we are walking the path of developing sustainable food systems that assure healthy food, better human health and improved income generation while conserving our natural resources”.
“IFOAM is delighted to be partner in this conference. As global change agent for true sustainability in agriculture we aim for a board adoption of agroecological practices in line with the principles of organic agriculture. This conference sets out the important landmarks for transformation of agriculture so that it serves people and planet, instead of the chemical input industry, said Louise Luttikholt, Executive Director, IFOAM Organics International.
“This Conference will seek to provide robust scientific evidence to demonstrate that synthetic pesticides pose a major risk with regard to human, animal, and plant health, said Dr. Charles Wilson, Founder/CEO, World Food Preservation Center LLC. “The speakers will provide concrete evidence that we need to protect and promote soil health as a critical first step to achieving human health.”
For general information about the Conference, please visit: www.agroecologyconference.eoaiafrica.org