Thursday, May 23, 2013

African Experiences in Resilience and Sustainability

I have had the pleasure of being one of the co-editors of the book, Organic Agriculture: African Experiences in Resilience and Sustainability, which is now published by the FAO.
The book is available for download at:

The publication stems from the conference on Mainstreaming Organic Agriculture in the African Development Agenda, held in Lusaka, Zambia, from 2 to 4 May 2012. All papers and presentations from the conference is available here.

Ten of the papers of that conference has been reworked into this beautiful book.The different chapters in the book document sustainability experiences, including: mainstreaming organic agriculture into African development approaches; community-based livestock systems combining holistic range management; indigenous ethno-veterinary practices and customary systems of resource management; ecofunctional intensification through management of legumes, systems of rice intensification and integrated farming; and smallholders’ knowledge harnessed through family farmers learning groups and customized information and communication technologies.
Included in the book is the Lusaka Declaration on Mainstreaming Organic Agriculture into the African Development Agenda, which was an outcome of the Conference. Among others it said:

We agree that organic agriculture  plays a key role in sustainable development, food security, poverty reduction, environmental security, climate change adaptation, human health, preservation of indigenous knowledge, plant varieties and animal breeds as well as socio-cultural development. We shared international research results confirming that the adoption of organic agriculture practices significantly increases yields and improves livelihoods and food security in Africa.  Based on locally available renewable resources instead of purchased chemical inputs (over 90 percent of which are imported in sub-Saharan Africa), organic producers are less vulnerable to international input price volatility. Moreover organic agriculture is climate smart agriculture, as it produces lower emissions and also provides much greater resilience in times of climate extremes such as drought and heavy rains.  

The Lusaka Declaration also urges all African Governments to include organic agriculture in their policies and agricultural development agenda, including their Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) Country Compacts and Investment Plans, in consultation with the organic agriculture stakeholders in their countries.

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