Mr Ernest Aubee, Head, Agriculture Division, ECOWAS Commission has said global food production system has broken as the very base of agriculture is being destroyed with unsustainable practices.
Aubee made the assertion during an online presentation on the `Importance of Ecological Organic Agriculture Policies in the Transformation of West African Agriculture’, organized by Journalists Go Organic Initiative.
He said that the current challenges to agriculture posed by food insecurity and climate change are serious and that conventional agriculture has contributed significantly to the crisis, made worse by climate change.
Aubee, who is also the Chairman of the Regional Ecological Organic Agriculture (EOA) Initiative for West Africa noted that food producers have resorted to cutting corners by using harmful pesticides on produce/products due to food insecurity.
“Limitation of food production area is also pushing for engagement of all possible alternatives for addressing global food security.
“While some of the approaches to food security are good, some could be very inimical to managing our shared environment’’.
He said that although there is a need to step up the drive for increasing global food production, consideration should be given to building solid ecosystems.
“Because sustainable food production and food security can only be achieved through adequate ecosystem management, producers of healthy foods should also be patronised in order for them to sustain their production’’.
He said some of the global challenges of food production include reduction of available land for farming, due to urbanization and industrialization.
He also cited shortage of safe inputs for mass food production, ageing manpower incapable of producing enough food, and storage and post-harvest losses in developing countries.
Aubee equally named the lack of eco-friendly technologies for easing the drudgery of manual farming, low return on investment on small and medium scale farming enterprises, and unregulated farming practices in most developing countries, posing a danger to producers, consumers and the environment.
He said that agricultural policies and programmes in Africa have undergone a lot of changes, especially in the millennial era, but that however, these changes have been a mere reflection of changes in government or administration.
“We need conducive policies that promote agro-ecological practices and food security’’, he said.
Aubee called for involvement of all stakeholders across the value chain of agroecology practitioners in planning and execution of policies.
“These policies must be open, transparent and framed within a context that are based on a consensus broad enough to guarantee continuity and freedom of expression of stakeholders’ opinions on decisions taken.
“Ensuring a safe and secure food supply system that protects and improves public health’’.
He said Africans should be concerned about sustainable food production that will not only feed them but also take care of the health of the people and their environment.