Action in Response to the Africa Fertilizer Summit
by Redaktion (comments: 0)
The International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) would like to express its deep concern and unease about the upcoming Africa Fertilizer Summit that will take place from June 9-13 in Abuja, Nigeria (http://www.africafertilizersummit.org/What_Is_AFS/index.html). This high-level meeting is being organized by the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) with the goal of "rapidly increasing" chemical and synthetic fertilizer use in Africa and creating an action plan for doing so.
IFOAM by no means underestimates the current problems in agriculture on the African Continent. However the problems cannot be solved with the same kind of thinking that created them. Over-exploitation of land and the introduction of chemical fertilizers and pesticides have stimulated a production system that increasingly tries to be independent of natural regulating processes and local resources, and that is heavily dependent on nonrenewable resources. As natural cycles are broken this leads to increases in the severity of pests and disease outbreaks and greater problems with nutrient management. To solve these problems, even more pesticides and more chemical fertilizers have to be used and a vicious cycle is established.
On the contrary, organic agriculture - based on the Principles of Health, Ecology, Fairness and Care - can provide a contribution in solving Africans agricultural problems by creating food security and development. Organic Agriculture puts the farmers, instead of external inputs, at the center of the farming strategy, restoring a decision-making role to local communities, guaranteeing their right to control their own resources and engaging their active participation in a value added food chain. Organic agriculture is knowledge intensive, rather than capital and resource-intensive and builds on traditional knowledge.
As the goals of this summit are contrary to the Principles of Organic Agriculture, IFOAM has deemed it necessary to focus public attention on the inherent dangers of adopting chemically intensive agricultural approaches at this critical juncture of oil dependency and to highlight the ecological, social and economic benefits of organic agriculture.
IFOAM will issue a press release in conjunction with the Summit, and plans to organize an organic farm tour for journalists in Senegal during the last week of June.
IFOAM wants to inquire whether you or your organization is also planning activities around the Africa Fertilizer Summit. We would appreciate if you would inform us about your activities in this regard, and we are open to discuss strategies for cooperation. In addition, we would appreciate any suggestions you might have for creating a united voice, achieving a greater impact.
Please contact our Manager of Strategic Relations, Louise Luttikholt, at firstname.lastname@example.org with your ideas as soon as possible.