Comprehensive growth solutions for farmers

“Usione mimi askari udhani mimi taka shika wewe tu. Mimi mkulima wa hali ya juu.”

(Don’t think because I am in the army I want to arrest you, I am also a great farmer)

This was the greeting we received from one of the men in blue who came to our stand during the ASK Trade Fair last week. We met people from all walks of life; farmers from different regions. Lotich had come from the Kenya Defence Force’s stand a couple of meters from ours with a desire to know what he could do to ensure comprehensive growth at throughout the year.

He says all farmers want one thing, results. Results for the hard work and long hours they put into caring for their plants. It’s a business like any other that requires the motivation of good productivity (yields) for a good year. It’s therefore disheartening when the farmer prepares his land, spends a lot of money buying seeds, ‘enriching’ soil with fertilizers, spraying pesticides and frequently watering them only to get half the yield he was expecting. This escalates the need to find a solution that ensures comprehensive growth for high yields.

A few volunteers (Bill and Tony) explaining the importance of agroforestry

Agriculture in Kenya

A research done by Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI), showed that the agricultural sector in Kenya is the buttress of the economy. 45% of government revenue is derived from agriculture and more than 50% of the export earnings. Over 80% of the population, especially the small-scale farmers in the rural areas, derive their livelihoods from agricultural related activities. Additionally, 60% of the population relying on this sector for employment. Farming is, therefore, an important issue.

However, vision 2030 of attaining food security in Kenya will not be realized if farmers are not educated on the importance of ecological farming as an adaptive measure to climate change.

Unfortunately, most farmers like Lotich are unaware of the treacherous effects of industrial agriculture. This is because it’s the wave on which most farmers choose to ride on. Our responsibility as at the showground was to create awareness to the public on the benefits of ecological farming.

 

Comprehensive growth

Good yields don’t only depend on the well-fertilized land, access to water and other soil nutrients but the quality of the seed used to ensure comprehensive growth.

Commercialisation of agriculture has resulted to total dependence by the farmer on external sources for all his farming inputs, including seeds. Whereas earlier farmers used to save and share their seeds, today they depend wholly upon seed companies for supply. Indigenous seeds or traditional seeds are more suitable to a particular region or situation than any hybrid variety.

 

Indigenous seeds are climate adaptive. These seeds withstand unfavorable conditions, are pests resistant and require less water and nutritional inputs like fertilizers. They have special characteristics such as fragrance, nutrition, and color.

This information is vital to all farmers, to whom we made sure went home with what we believe is key to productivity for the farmer who farms for the future.

Originator: Phyllis Ng’ang’a

eco-farming workshop for resilience to climate change

Climate Change and Agriculture

What is the big crisis facing global agriculture? A complex question but the answer will almost definitely involve two core aspects. One, the role of the Green Revolution and industrial agriculture in vitiating water, soil and plant health across the world and the need to redress it. And the other, the need to adapt and mitigate the effects of climate change.

Now let’s look at the African context.

There is a massive push for adopting the Green Revolution practices in Africa at a time when climate change is rapidly taking place all over. Every agency (governmental and non- governmental) worth its salt these days is trying to convince governments and policy makers in Africa  to adopt their models for agricultural “development”.

This is especially true of places like Kenya and other parts of East Africa which are currently reeling from a massive drought caused by the La Nina phenomenon and exacerbated by climate change.  What makes it doubly important for a country like Kenya is the fact that almost 83% of the land area consists of arid and semi- arid land (ASAL).

So what happens when on one hand you have rapid promotion of chemical intensive, industrial agriculture and on the other hand are faced with a rapidly changing climate with extreme weather events like droughts, excessive rainfall etc? A disaster as it turns out.

Farmers are being pushed to adopt specific crops, use fertilizers and pesticides and the three main areas- soil, water and diversity which are essential to maintaining a healthy farm ecosystem are being lost out on. Traditional rain- fed agriculture, as practiced in most of Africa, is completely unsuited for chemical intensive agriculture- especially monocultures. This is a fact that’s being reinforced every time a major extreme weather event takes place.

A marked contrast witnessed between the fortunes of eco- ag farmers and farmers using chemicals

Greenpeace Africa recently visited farmers in Machakos county and there was a marked contrast witnessed between the fortunes of eco- ag farmers and farmers using chemicals. While the eco-ag farmers had been able to successfully withstand the drought and were looking forward to a good harvest, the chemical intensive farmers had sadly failed to cope and had had massive crop losses.

There’s also the recent report by the UN special rapporteur on the right to food, Hilal Elver, which says that agrochemical companies have been fear mongering  and lying to us repeatedly to get us to believe that pesticides are necessary to feed a growing population.

And what is the solution if these models aren’t working? Does it mean adoption of other expensive models, with heavy input costs, and techno- fixes? Not necessarily says the CGIAR Programme on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS). The CGIAR programme which works with more than 10,000 scientists around the world believes it is low-tech adaptation and mitigation strategies for farmers that are essential in the face of changing weather patterns and climate. And believe it or not- most adaptation options can build on existing ecological agriculture practices rather than being entirely new technologies. This also helps tackle the problems posed by agrochemical usage in totality.

resilience to climate change: eco-farmers teach their methods

But does this mean traditional agricultural practices are sufficient to feed Africa and make it resilient to climate change?

Not really. Many parts of Africa including in East Africa rely on subsistence agriculture and have limited knowledge in terms of cropping, soil health and water conservation techniques. This means that the latest innovations in ecological farming practices need to reach the farmers, so that they are able to improve soil health, adequately manage water resources, adopt the best cropping practices and ensure sufficient production levels and incomes. But it also means that valuable traditional knowledge and practices need to be conserved and then disseminated among communities.

Greenpeace Africa for the past couple of years has been working in East Africa to promote climate resilient ecological agriculture and has encouraged donors and governments to invest in ecological agriculture as a means for building resilience alongside ensuring farm security.

Our latest initiative, and which could prove to be invaluable to farmers in worst- hit Machakos county, is providing training across the county, alongside our local partner Institute for Culture and Ecology and local ecological farmers, on knowledge and techniques to build resilience at the farm level. Farmers, who have dealt well through the drought because of ecological farming techniques, are teaching other farmers how to mitigate effects of drought for the coming season. This form of support  is especially important as it is imparting soft technologies that will help farmers in the long run and can be passed on from generation to generation. Safe to say, after the impact of the drought, there is much hunger and appetite among farmers for this kind of intervention.

So the bottom line is ecological agriculture is here to stay, and is the only viable solution- and the faster the adoption rates the better it would be at mitigating climate change and improving agrarian lives in Africa.

Ecological farmers teach methods to face drought to conventional farmers

Starting from Tuesday, the 11th and till today the 13th of April, the Institute for Culture and Ecology (ICE) with Greenpeace Africa are supporting the Farmer 2 Farmer Drought Resilience work in Machakos county.

ecological farmers distributing resilient seeds

With Kenyan farmers being hit hard by the drought in recent months, the government’s main actions have been reactive on a large scale. And there’s little proactive work being done to mitigate the effects of drought or to ensure that farmers build resilience against future weather shocks.

In Machakos county, the farmers, seeing the governments inaction, have decided to take the future into their own hands.
Farmers using ecological farming methods, have triumphantly dealt with drought. They have seen their fellow farmers, who used chemical fertilisers, struggle with failed crops and depleted land. Today, these ecological farmers have decided they want to help!

Together with ICE, these ecological farmers are connecting with fellow farmers to teach them which tips, tricks and techniques which are key in facing extreme weather conditions. They will also be distributing agro-forestry seedings to help farmers as the new planting season starts.
ICE will work with farmers in the hard hit county of Machakos in Matungulu, Masinga and Yatta Sub-counties reaching out to 180 small-holder farmers as direct beneficiaries.

The President’s recent nation address pushes forward an agenda that fails farmers but secures profit for big agriculture companies. These local farmers, along with ICE and Greenpeace Africa, will highlight the short and longterm benefits of a shift to ecological farming.

They will thereby call on our leaders to focus and fund ecological farming, for it is the way forward for Kenya’s future.

Triumphs and failures as farmers tackle drought

Peter Mutiso mango farm thrives despite drought in Kivaa Ward, Machakos county.
Photo: Peter Mutiso shows mangoes at his green farm in Kivaa Ward, Machakos county. Photo/WANGUI GITHUGO

Machakos peasants suffer poor harvest during drought after using fertilisers while those using natural manure thrive

Parts of Machakos county are known for being semi-arid landscapes. Today, the region is struggling with the effects of the ravaging drought, just like many regions of the country.
The hardest hit residents of Machakos are small-scale farmers. However, while many farmers are struggling, others have adopted modern methods to cope with the situation, and even thrive in these rough conditions.

Many farmers remain unaware of these, but groups such as the Institute for Culture and Ecology (ICE) and Greenpeace Africa have actively taught and advocated for ecological farming methods.
Ecological farming discourages the use of industrial inputs such as chemical fertilisers. Instead, it works with natural systems for the best results. ICE and Greenpeace Africa believe in a continuous process of knowledge building in ecological farming.

It is a bid to help farmers determine the best cropping systems, soil and water management practices, as well as the best pest and disease control measures within the region’s agro-climatic conditions. Agribiz recently toured farms in the county to learn how they are coping with the drought.

James' farm is still green thanks to ecological farming methods

Two farmers boasted how ecological farming had resulted in successful harvests

While two farmers boasted how ecological farming had resulted in successful harvests, another two had sad tales of failure after using fertilisers. Both James Mwoki from Matungulu constituency and Peter Mutiso from Kivaa Ward have adopted ecological farming.

And despite a biting drought, their two farms have maintained a green look, with modest productivity. Mutiso does not regret that he stopped using pesticides and fertilisers.
This season, I have harvested more than 15 bags of maize on my two-and-a-half acres, compared to last dry season when I got five bags,” he says. Mutiso uses “zai pits”, a water harvesting technique suitable for areas with unpredictable rains and risk of crop failures.

Farmers dig circular or square holes a foot deep that can accommodate about nine maize plants. In this method, the topsoil is mixed with farmyard manure which is then topped with maize and bean stalks as a soil cover (mulch).
This prevents water from evaporating and is thus retained in the soil. On Mwoki’s farm, everything is put to use to enhance the natural ecology. He cuts the vegetative parts of maize stalks for his animals and uses the rest for soil cover.
Cow dung is used as manure but since he doesn’t have enough, only puts the cowpats in holes ready for planting. He does not plough the earth, which means the soil can develop the fertile organic matter and retains water.
Whether it rains or not, I’ll still harvest a good crop,” Mwoki explained.

Grace land is arid, and harvest suffers from the drought

On the contrary, after using chemicals, Jand and Grace’s lands are now arid and dry, resulting in failed crops.

In contrast, Jane Nduko (Nyekundu village) and Grace Kasina decided to use chemical fertilisers this season. Their land is now arid and dry, resulting in failed crops.
The drought is hitting them hard, and the little food they harvested was only for subsistence. After using chemical fertilisers, the soils became acidic, which reduced fertility. Soon, organic matter was not as prominent in the soil and as a result it no longer retained water.
Neighbours know Kasina as “matunda” for her passion for planting fruits. But this season, all her crops dried up and the wind has been busy blowing away the sandy soils all around her homestead.

I admire the farms where ecological agriculture is being practiced and I think I will now adapt to it.

I admire the farms where ecological agriculture is being practiced and I think I will now adapt to it. I have already started early preparations for the rainy season to make the switch,” said the 75-year-old. Nduko, a widow and a mother of eight, has had to do manual jobs after her chemically fertilised plants failed to sprout despite heavy usage of water.
She says she is counting losses from the last rainy season. Scientific evidence demonstrates that ecological farming protects the soil, water and climate and plays a fundamental role in promoting biodiversity.
Ecological farming methods often outperform the use of chemical fertilisers in boosting food production, especially in unfavourable environmental conditions and climate shocks.

Story By: WANGUI GITHUGO

 

Take action >> Take the pledge to support ecological farming, and support a better food system. 

Sabela Kiregia's Farm in Kenya

Rising food prices hurt the poor, not big agricultural companies

The drought in Kenya has hit home for most people. The impact on pastoralists and farming communities has been documented and cited in light of the government declaring a national drought. However, the impacts are already being felt beyond the farm. The drought has also meant rising food prices for basic commodities in Kenya. Food inflation in January 2017 stood at 12.4% with highest price increases recorded for cabbages, spinach, sukuma wiki, maize flour, and maize grain.

“Our families take only one meal a day and the worst part is that the available food might not be balanced as it should be. We all know that for effective growth and development of our children, they must take in a balanced diet that includes carbohydrates, proteins and vitamins…All these are not sufficiently obtained because of rising of food prices.” – Zubeda Kamene

National average retail prices of selected commodities
Source: KNBS – CPI and Inflation Rates for January 2017 

Food prices

Rising food prices squeeze the incomes of mainly the poor who do not have much disposable income. The poorest families spend most of their income on food – in some cases, up to 80% of income. Meanwhile, average household incomes for the poorest have been decreasing for a number of years.

Droughts are becoming more common in the face of climate change. Yet, it seems the policy makers and gate-keepers are still oblivious. Kenyan consumers felt the pinch of the drought from 2011, and it is tragic that the government has not changed course since then. Government still warmly opens its doors to agriculture multinationals, whose agenda is not the welfare of the farmer; feeding the population; or the mitigation of drought, but rather filling their own pockets. Industrial agriculture is what they preach: soil depleting agro-chemicals, monoculture and cash crops.

Essentially, Kenyans are paying the price. Big agriculture pushes a model that requires more money from farmers at startup to buy specialized seeds and agro-chemicals. The overwhelming majority of the crops are monoculture and cash crops which bring in modest revenue to the population. The real money is made by foreign interests. Meanwhile these monocultures and cash crops deplete the soil, making the land less resilient at a time of drought.

Sabela Kiregia's Farm in Kenya
Sabela Kiregia sorting vegetables in her farm – Greenpeace visits farmers that have successfully adopted practices (diversification, agroforestry, water harvesting) that help them cope and mitigate the effects of weather extremes and climate change in the areas where they do their farming. Some of these practices fall within the definition of ecological farming.

An urgent shift is needed

Failed crops due to droughts mean less food which means the government must find means to feed a starving nation. At this point, international imports are being considered for Kenya. It’s rather ironic that these imports may be handled by the very players who are at the root of the problem: Big agricultural giants who are happy to supply maize (in other countries even opening the door to the import of GMO maize) and other staples at a hefty price to the taxpayers of our nation.

Greenpeace Africa calls on the government of Kenya to take the right steps this time around. Make a shift towards an agricultural system that enhances resilience rather than increases risks. Ecological agriculture benefits the farmer, the environment and the health of the consumer.

For more information you can read the full blog on the current drought here and check out our reports Building Resilience in East African Agriculture in Response to Climate Change and the Financial benefits of Ecological Farming in East Africa.

Media contacts:

Nokuthula Mhene, Senior Food for Life Campaign Manager, +277 951 293 63

Iris Maertens, Interim Communications Officer, Food For Life campaign, +254 77491 84 78

Drought: The alarm bell for the future Kenya needs

Since October, a severe drought, influenced by the effects of climate change and La Niña, has ravaged East and Horn of Africa. Over 11million people have been affected while pasture livestock are dying off by the thousands. It is clear that urgent, life-saving measures need to be taken. The UN, the Red Cross and regional governments, have taken steps to alleviate the situation. When we look toward the future, longer-term agricultural investments and initiatives in the region seem encouraging. The questions is, are these initiatives actually creating resilience to climate shocks such as droughts?

Man fetching water in drums

Funding is failing farmers

Many of these initiatives, with funding from government and/or international donors pushes farmers toward industrial agricultural. Often paired with this is the destruction of wetlands, forests and grasslands in order to clear land for monocultures. But due to clearing these ecosystems, groundwater is no longer retained, and the risk increases for erosion and desertification. Agro-chemicals, which pollute groundwater for local communities and surrounding ecosystems, are extensively used. Over time these agro-chemicals (fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides) deplete the soil of nutrients and organic matter, which are essential for holding water in the ground.

It’s clear that when it comes to building resilience against future droughts, industrial agriculture is a step backward not forward.

Farming for a resilient future

To mitigate climate shocks and build drought resilience, a number of organizations and an abundance of research point toward ecological farming as being key. Ecological farming is less water intensive than industrial farming. It does not require the use of agro-chemicals and thus does not pollute the water. Ecological farming embraces the use of water-efficient seed varieties and an abundance of different crops. Such practices have shown to increase organic matter in soils and improve its quality. In turn, this delivers higher yields while locking moisture into the ground.

A shift is needed

As the government prepares reactive interventions, worries arise about what the future will hold for the region.  Wouldn’t it be more beneficial from a financial, humanitarian and ecological perspective, to invest in solutions, rather than systems which contribute to the problem? Ecological farming is the future! We call on governments and financial investors to make a switch in order to mitigate future droughts. Stand with us by sending an urgent call for change!

Greenpeace Africa has published a report titled: Building Resilience in East African Agriculture in Response to Climate Change and the Financial benefits of Ecological Farming in East Africa, and is currently working with to empower farmers to be more resilient in the face of climate change.

Seeing is believing: Growing food for people, with people and with nature in Cuba

Ojos hacen fe.” Those are the words of Lucy Martín, an inspiring Cuban researcher with Oxfam in Havana. She has lived through decades of change in Cuba, while remaining grounded in the reality of farmers there. She uses those words – “seeing is believing” in English – to explain the importance of tangible examples that show how transforming our food system is possible. In Cuba, despite scarcity and a system where many challenges still remain, the country has been successfully innovating in ecological farming since the early ‘90s.

Cuba’s agricultural transformation

Cuba is a small country of about 11 million people. In the 1990s, the end of Soviet support brought, among other things, a massive exodus from the countryside into cities. Nowadays, almost 80% of the Cuban population lives in cities. Only 20% remains in rural farming settings.

During the years that followed the end of Soviet support in the ‘90s – a time called the “Special Period” in Cuba – agriculture changed abruptly. It went from an industrialised model heavily backed by agro-inputs and imports of food, to a void. No exports of commodities, no imports of inputs, no cash… and much less food. This time of great shock and desperation for all Cubans was also a time of empty soils, empty farms and empty plates in the countryside.

Farmers everywhere, not just in Cuba, are very innovative and resilient people. They are familiar with crises (droughts, floods, pests), but they also have an amazing drive for not giving up and trying new things. And the Cuban Special Period brought to the country a unique change in agriculture and farming – a new ‘agroecological crisis response.’

Growing food for people, not just commodities for exports, became one big priority for the country. This also meant growing food for people and without the overuse of agrotoxics and water, using knowledge of nature, soils, seeds and pests to substitute chemicals with local-sourced solutions, and applying ecological intelligence.

Cuba has 2% of the Latin American population, but 11% of its scientists. Back in the ‘90s, they used this vast resource in capacity to start transferring research and development to where it was most needed: agroecology, or how to grow food for people, with people and with nature.

Farming and food in Cuba today

In the two decades since the Special Period the country has made significant progress.

According the UN World Food Program, in the last 50 years Cuba has largely eradicated poverty and hunger, thanks to comprehensive social protection programmes. It also ranked 67th out of 188 countries in Human Development and is among the most successful in achieving UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Today, Cuba has more than 30 research and development centers dedicated to finding solutions for smallholding farmers, and a battery of policy incentives to promote ecological farming, family farming, farming cooperatives and urban farming based on agroecology.

Currently Cuban farmers, both in cities and rural areas, produce close to 80% of the vegetables and fruits the country consumes. In addition, the number of farmer cooperatives increased from 15% of the cultivated land in 1989 to more than 70% today, and they produce about 70% of the food grown nationally (86% of the maize and beans grown, and 90% of the vegetables).“[1] The country also reduced its consumption of agrochemicals by 75% in the last 20 years.[2]

In cities, urban farmers supply about 50% of the vegetables and fruits consumed locally, a share that continues to increase in recent years. The program of Urban Farming is one of the seven most important programs prioritised by the Minister of Agriculture. It has created about 300,000 jobs in cities, with 50% of those going to women and the urban youth.

A way forward

In spite of all these signs of progress, many problems remain for agriculture and beyond. Cuba still imports close to 70% of the food the country needs, mostly grains and livestock products, representing 14% of total imports into the country and close to two billion US dollars per year. However, it has also been estimated that by avoiding the imports seeds and agrochemicals, the country is savings an estimated amount of US$ 50 million a year.[3]

Fernando Funes Aguilar, an internationally-known Cuban researcher in agroecology, has estimated that Cuba could be food self-sufficient in three years by transforming half of the cultivated land in the country (three million hectares) to intensive, smallholder agroecological systems. This optimistic projection is based on the fact that in 2006, smallholding farmers produced 65% of the food produced in Cuba by cultivating only 25% of its agriculture land.

Cuban experience in agroecological farming is not a perfect situation, nor is it a perfect system, but it shows a way forward in times of crisis, and a better, more resilient way of feeding people for the future. Seeing the case of Cuban agroecology is believing a better system is not only possible, but happening already.


References:

[1] Martin, Lucy. 2015. Cuba crece. La Agricultura campesina sostenible. El caso cubano. Oxfam. La Habana Cuba, Julio 2015.
[2] Funes Aguilar and Vázquez Moreno. 2016. Avances de la Agroecología en Cuba. Estación Experimental de Pastos y Forrajes India Hatuey (Ed), La Habana, Cuba.
[3] Íbidem.

Africa needs an alternative agricultural system – lessons from India

The Green Revolution will fail again

It’s often stated that the development and adoption of high yielding varieties and the accompanying use of agrochemicals- the so called “Green Revolution”- was the biggest progress in agriculture in the 20th century. To ascertain if this widely held view is accurate, one needs to answer key questions which measure any successful agricultural system in order to arrive at a solid and comprehensive conclusion of what the green revolution truly meant for farmers who were at the center of it all.

So, how do you evaluate the success of an agricultural system? Is the success measured by yields and production levels which are essential for addressing the food security needs of a nation? Are farmers in Africa and elsewhere involved in the industrial approach presented by the green revolution better off financially? Does it generate sufficient employment in the hinterlands? Do consumers get safe, nutritious food? Is the environment safe? Are the chosen farming methods sustainable and climate resilient?

The answers to these and many more pressing questions are a consistent and resounding NO!

A primary reasons for the negation in my response is that the context under which the green revolution was pioneered has been extremely western centric. In the west the patterns of land holding, cropping cycles and local food consumption are vastly different from the African continent. For instance, in Europe only 2.5% of the total agricultural land comprise of small farms (less than 2 hectares) whilst the bulk of the agricultural land in Africa are operated by small farmers. In East Africa small holder farmers contribute to more than 75% of the total food production.

Moreover, one of the most talked about example of the success of the Green Revolution has been India. In the 60s and 70s, Western and Southern India were at the forefront of the Green Revolution. The successes in improved yields and increased farmer incomes were short-lived because the past 25 years have seen a reversal of this trend. Farms are witnessing declining yields; soil health has deteriorated to the extent of being classified “dead”, farming communities in states like Punjab- once the grain bowl of India- are seeing some of the highest prevalence rates for cancer in the country, many high yielding crop varieties are failing due to the impacts of climate change and farmer incomes have declined considerably.

To compound the issue, India is today witness to the largest spate of farmer suicides in human history mainly attributed to impoverishment and indebtedness. It is also significant to note that the Green Revolution in India hinged on changing consumption patterns with wheat production prioritized over millet/ coarse cereals and pulses- so much so that today India is a net importer of pulses and has even inked massive state sponsored contract farming deals in African countries like Mozambique to supplement domestic production.

Also contrary to the idea of the Green Revolution being the only way to feed a burgeoning population, Rural India still has a disproportionately high number of the malnourished and food insecure in the world. This is in spite of record agricultural production indicating agricultural productivity, population levels and food availability cannot be compared directly but need to be seen through a prism which factors in aspects like prices, incomes generated and consumption patterns based on the capability approach articulated by Nobel Laureate and Economist Amartya Sen.

Everything that could go wrong is going wrong and the Eastern Indian states, which like most of Africa luckily missed the boat on the first Green Revolution of the 60s and 70s, have flatly said no to the replication of a similar agricultural model. The state of the Indian Green Revolution has been well documented by the Indian Parliamentary Standing Committee on Agriculture in its latest report released in 2016 with most major problems being highlighted, although I must add that the criticism is still muted since the agri- corporations are still quite deeply entrenched in the establishment.

The push for chemicals in agriculture and the promotion of monocultures including large scale industrial agriculture on the African continent are perfect grounds for a ticking time bomb. If adopted, we are likely to witness an increase in farmer impoverishment, extensive environmental degradation and compound the problems for an already fragile health care system much worse than the situation in India.

So contrary to popular perception, the green revolution has ironically turned out to be one of the most unfortunate developments in the agricultural industry when one assesses it gains and pains. We shouldn’t do the same things and expect different results. It is time Africa stopped sacrificing its people and interests before the altar of corporate and donor interests and adopted agricultural policies and a framework based on agro- ecology which truly empowers and enriches its farmers and citizens. Trying to turn the clock back twenty years down the line just isn’t an option when human lives are at stake.