5 November 2018

Tanzania: Afsa - Stop Stereotypes, Africa Has Potentials to Tap

AS a result of changing times Africa has been presented with the poster image of a continent teeming with hungry, malnourished and poverty stricken people and the same temperate is being used by the industrial agricultural companies and their collaborating partners to take over lands, food system, introduce their propriety seeds, pesticides, herbicides and Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) in the continent.

That was unveiled by the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA) President, Mariann Bassey- Oruvweje at African Food System and the Strategic Development Goals (SDGs) conference, yesterday, while addressing participants from across the Africa continent adding that it was high time Africa should be viewed with a different eye.

"We live in a complex and a changing times, the negative poster image of a continent should now be stopped, because as a continent, we have a lot of good things to showcase and that's why the recent events and developments in the continent have shown that these corporations are quite desperate, and are devising techniques of forcing their agricultural 'solutions' on Africans," she stated.

"They are driving copy and paste policies and laws from other countries that cannot work for us in Africa, because of contextual divergences," added the President.

She further said, "we are still grappling with GMOs and now we are faced with another 'solution' a deliberately invasive technology known as 'gene drive', all these are done intentionally to suffocate our food system and culture," she hinted out.

As things stand, Africa's food system and culture are threatened and it was vital that we work together soberly to examine the negative impact of these imported technologies, such as synthetic pesticides, fertilisers, proprietary seeds, GMOs and gene drives that the industrial agricultural companies and their hired helpers/local partners are seeking to dump on us and to treat us as guinea pigs, the President further pointed out.

We should not overlook the great challenges that the continent will face in the future if food sovereignty is lost and farmers are tied to the commercial noose of cooperate agribusinesses, cautioned Mariann.

What will it take to focus on building strategic partnerships in the form of alliances and networks between organisations and platforms across the diverse thematic areas of our struggles so that we join forces to press for needed change? she posed.

Certainly we can focus on knowledge and information sharing, identification and joint pursuit of issues of common interest that are cross-cutting and eventually undertaking joint actions.

AFSA president further warned her fellow Africans saying Agrochemical companies and corporates are now merging and forming big alliances, adding that she sees no reasons why small scale farmers, pastoralists, fisher-folks, hunter gathers, consumers, climate defenders, CSOs and academia should not work together.

"Our work is connected we should not be working in the soil, when we work together it will lead to the amplification of our efforts and strengthen our voices," she insisted.

She added that we should not diminish our abilities to make a more lasting impact by isolating ourselves and groups, by ourselves we can restore sanity to food and family system, in this regard the global solidarity is needed for joint work to stop corporate take-over and control in Africa and the rest of the world.

The Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA) is a Pan African platform, a network of over 30 African Network Organisation operating in 52 out of 54 countries in Africa.

A three day conference is meant to interrogate and conceptualise the issues around our soil, seeds, climate change and African cultural food systems.

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