Greater adoption of organic farming by African small-holders is key to tackling the continent’s perennial food insecurity amid climatic shocks and rapid population growth, experts said at a forum in Nairobi on Tuesday.
The experts said that organic farming if practiced on a bigger scale across the Sub-Saharan African region could offer solution to declining soil health, habitat loss and water scarcity that have undermined food production.
Mwangi Kiunjuri, cabinet secretary for Kenya’s Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Irrigation opened the first International Conference on Agroecology attended by policymakers, experts, farmers and green campaigners.
“Policy and regulatory frameworks should be put in place to promote organic farming, make our households food secure and boost incomes of small-holders,” said Kiunjuri.
He urged African governments to leverage on organic farming in their bid to promote soil health, habitat’s restoration and climate resilience.
Kenya is hosting the three-day international conference on transforming food systems in Africa through scaling up organic farming at the small-holder level.
David Amudavi, executive director of Nairobi-based Biovision Trust Africa, said the conference that runs from June 18 to 20 offers a platform to explore new strategies required to revitalize organic farming in the world’s second largest continent.
“Harnessing nature based assets as opposed to use of pesticides and synthetic fertilizers could be the answer to hunger and malnutrition facing millions of African rural households,” said Amudavi.
He said that friendly policies combined with training of small-holder farmers is key to promoting adoption of eco-friendly food production systems in a continent grappling with recurrent droughts as well as crop pests and diseases.
Zachary Makanya, Kenya country coordinator of Participatory Ecological Land Use Management, said that political goodwill, capacity development, research and public awareness is key to boosting adoption of organic farming in Africa.