We Are the Solution: Celebrating African Family Farming
Since 2006, African producers' associations, NGOs, foundations and our partners in the North have been engaged in a dialogue about food sovereignty in Africa. This process brought to light some of the following realities:
- 80% of our populations are fed by small, peasant producers
- Despite its wealth of natural resources and the wealth of knowledge of millions of women peasant producers living and working on family farms, the region remains strongly dependent on foreign sources for its food.
- This contradiction is the product of inadequate national agricultural policies that lack the participation of peasants and small farmers and lack spaces for dialogue between different national actors
- This has made our countries and our peoples more vulnerable to climate uncertainties (drought, late rains, early rains)
- This has also deepened and worsened poverty among peasants and farmers, making them the first victims of food insecurity
The poverty and food insecurity that plague West Africa can be addressed with policies based on food sovereignty, defined as "the right of each country or group of countries to define its agricultural policy in the interest of its population, to develop and protect its domestic production and markets in order to satisfy the need for healthy, sufficient, culturally and religiously acceptable food, and that they also be fairly compensated for the value of their agricultural labor."
Conscious of our roles and responsibilities with regard to the populations we represent, the organizations of rural African women charged with leading the campaign "We are the solution: celebrating African family farming" have adopted the present document entitled the DAKAR DECLARATION:
o We believe that the agricultural sector in Africa is the basis for the well-being of the majority of the population, the region's wealth, the preservation of natural resources, and the future of youth, societies and social peace
o We believe that the region's rural development must be based on family farming with a strong focus on agroecology, traditional knowledge and indigenous practices
o We are concerned by the lack of consideration of gender in agricultural policies
o We are convinced that our agriculture is the basis for industrial and economic development through its various sectors including crop production, livestock, fisheries, forestry and processing of agricultural products
o We are convinced that agribusiness, GMOs, and agricultural policies designed by foreigners only increase poverty and social tensions by making us dependent and turning self-sufficient peasants into wage workers
o We are convinced that traditional agricultural practices and local knowledge are a solution to the agricultural and economic crises in the countryside
o We are convinced that women play a crucial role throughout the entire process of agricultural production, processing and marketing
o We are convinced that food sovereignty can only be achieved with the strong involvement of rural women
The leaders of the rural African women's associations and networks are determined and committed to working to prove that "We Are the Solution." We, leaders of rural African women' associations from Burkina Faso, Ghana, Guinea, Mali, Senegal, and Cameroon are determined and committed to:
o Work alongside ROPPA1, IRPAD2, AFSA3, COPAGEN4 and other African producers platforms in order to:
- Promote sound agricultural practices and knowledge known and passed down for generations in Africa and that have preserved food sovereignty on the continent
- Influence decision-makers and promote better governance, especially with regards to agriculture and
- Value family-based agricultural production
o Work to create a dialogue and to build rural African women's networks, in order to implement agro-ecological alternatives to the Green Revolution
o Work to thwart all farm policies/initiatives seeking to take our governments hostage, annihilate small producers or transform peasants into agricultural wage workers.
We say no to GMOs; no to the patenting of life; and no to agribusiness.
Long live rural women! Long live African family farming!
English translation by Food First
1 Network of West African Peasants and Farmers
2 Institute for Research and Promotion of Development Alternatives (Bamako, Mali)
3 Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa
4 The Coalition for the Protection of African Genetic Heritage
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