Farmers For The Future
Our climate is changing and all over the world farmers are feeling climate change more intensively than everyone else. Farmers For the Future is a campaign designed at promoting farmers’ climate change resilience. 30 smallholder farmers from Kiambu, Meru, Machakos and Makueni counties set off from Thika on a 4-day resilience journey that will see them engage county leaders and Kenyans on the ideal agricultural system that they envision for Kenya and the continent. They will exhibit produce, share knowledge and share seeds to their counterparts. Their message ahead of World Food Day highlights the benefits of ecological farming, and demonstrate it is a healthier, cheaper and more sustainable way of producing food. We aim to use these positive examples to support their demands to the Kenyan government and donor agencies for a change of policy.
Farmers For the Future is part of the Greenpeace Africa’s Food For Life campaign to influence governments to change policies in favour of ecological farming and tackle the growing corporate control of the food chain. Last year, our project in Kenya aimed to identify which practices are being used successfully to build climate change resilience, and alternatively which practices increase vulnerability.
Governments are currently pushing for industrial agriculture, which is costly for the environment and the economy. We are campaigning for ecological farming in East Africa because it will ensure a better future; raising farm productivity and profits and building climate change resilience for small-scale farmers. Food production using ecological farming ensures healthy farming and healthy food for today and tomorrow, by protecting soil, water and climate. It promotes biodiversity, and does not contaminate the environment with chemical inputs or genetic engineering. Kenyan farmers are effectively applying a number of context-specific practices that are increasing their ability to cope with changes in climate. We grouped these according to four keys: soil, water, diversity and communities. Examples of these practices are: agroforestry, water harvesting, diversifying crops, livestock and investing in community initiatives
Investing in agroecological approaches can be highly effective in boosting food security, production, incomes and climate change resilience and empowering communities.
On the other hand, industrial farming presents one of the most urgent threats to the environment and food security. Inputs from fossil-fuel intensive synthetic fertilisers, pesticides and genetically engineered (GE) seeds are expensive and reliance on them results in debt and economic insecurity for farmers, especially smallholders. Industrial farming contributes 14% of all human-caused greenhouse-gas emissions. Industrial agriculture relies on monocultures that destroy biodiversity, making crops less resilient.
“We all are affected as the quality, taste and nutritional values of the food decrease. Also our health and the future of the next generation are at risk. “
Unknown, East African community member and consumer, February 2015
Africa has emerged as a new frontier for the expansion of industrial agriculture. It is THE battleground for future agricultural models, exemplified by the frightening pace of land-grabbing taking place across sub-Saharan Africa to feed global commodity markets.
To address this issue and propose alternative solutions, Greenpeace released a report “Building Environmental Resilience – A snapshot of farmers adapting to climate change in Kenya”. We also attended the UNEP Ecosystems Based Adaptation for Food Security Conference. We created an exhibition at the National Museum in Nairobi about climate change resilience. We featured how Prisca Mayende living on her 3.8 acre shamba (farm) with her husband adopted ecological farming practices. The following are testimonies of farmers who are building resilience to deal with the challenges created by a changing climate, by making the switch to ecological farming.