Filed by Prossy Nandudu & Agencies
Civil society organizations (CSOs) from Uganda have joined their counterparts across Africa to call for the adaptation measures, starting with small-scale farmers and producers as these have been hard hit by effects of climate change.
In a letter addressed to world leaders, CSOs explained that the surge in hunger over the last year has exposed the fragility of the global food system.
Its high vulnerability to shocks – whether from Covid-19, conflict, or the climate change – and then extreme heat, drought, and floods are the new normal, even if global heating was limited to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
That is why the 27th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP27) currently going on in Egypt must focus on building a food system as a priority that can feed the world on a hot planet.
CSOs add that small-scale farmers are critical for global food security, producing as much as 80% of the food consumed in regions such as Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa.
However, decades of underinvestment and an unfair global food system run by and for powerful agri-businesses, leads to lack the infrastructure, technology, resources, and democratic space to cope with ever more extreme and erratic weather conditions, added CSOs through an Open letter to world leaders.
They also want COP27 to support the shift to sustainable food production, including agro ecological practices, shifting away from industrial agriculture will also help reduce emissions, because the current food system is responsible for 34% of greenhouse gases.
And that beyond COP27, small-scale producers and the shift to sustainable food production must be a political priority.
Which means involving us in decisions which affect small holder farmer livelihoods. It means re-focusing the $611b spent subsidising food production every year, much of it in support of industrial farming that is harmful to people and the environment.
It also means addressing the historical injustices and inequalities that plague our food system: the concentration of land ownership that is squeezing farmers onto ever smaller parcels of land or forcing them off their land altogether, and the discrimination which means women, who make up more than half of all farmers, own less than 20% of all land, adds the letter.
CSOs from Uganda represented at COP27 include PELUM Uganda, Slow Food International, ESAF and the Eastern Africa Farmers Federation, among others.