To increase agriculture production on the African continent, there is need for farmers to combine innovative solutions such as agro-ecology and the protection of the environment for effective soil and water management.
This was one of the resolutions arrived at by over 100 of Africa’s leading and emerging leaders in agriculture, who met in a two-day virtual forum recently to discuss issues related to environmental sustainability.
The forum was convened by the Centre for African Leaders in Agriculture (CALA), an AGRA-led initiative, and was the second installment of the ongoing CALA Leadership Forum series.
Participants and speakers, drawn from governments, private sector and civil society, engaged under the theme: “Collaborative Leadership for Environmental Sustainability and Agro ecology in African Agriculture”.
“We can feed our people, preserve our land, water and forest resources, and grow our economies in line with Africa’s 2063 Agenda,” said Dr Apollos Nwafor, AGRA’s vice president for policy and state capability in the forum’s opening plenary.
He cited the success of an agro-ecology pilot in Kenya’s western region, which has led to the restoration of over 6,000 hectares of damaged forest land.
Nwafor explained that CALA provides many opportunities for African leaders to learn from and adopt in their various countries to drive the agriculture transformation agenda.
Commenting on the development, Steven Smith, the Policy LINK Chief of Party, another CALA partner, said agriculture has a significant effect on and is significantly affected by environmental practices and sustainability.
“Everyone is a stakeholder, and, as such, the challenges faced will require the kind of leadership that brings us together to collectively address them,” Smith added.
The forum also discussed the linkage between policy, land, and water management with Ghana’s chief director in the ministry of environment, Cynthia Asare Bediako, highlighting the urgent need for policies that promote sustainable farming.
“We need policies that ensure that the system of farming enables the soil to remain in place. In Ghana, for instance, we recently completed a project that enabled us to teach farmers the right way of planting, along the contours, ensuring that we do not deplete the soil through rampant cropping and to avoid the loss of soil nutrients,” she said.