Agriculture, Food Security and Ecological Farming
According to USAID, over almost 1billion people go hungry every night and about 200 million of them are children in developing countries in Africa. Agriculture is one effective way of reducing poverty. Most of these people who go hungry are small holder farmers (majority are women) who make a living from Agriculture. More than 75% of poor people live in rural areas. In 2008, there was an extreme increase in food prices in the World which consequently prompted G-8 Leaders in 2009 in L' Aquilla, Italy to assume new position by investing more in Agriculture hence strengthening efforts to reduce under nutrition ,hunger and poverty.
Therefore, as Engineers in Green Actions -Africa (EGAA), our approach to Agriculture, Food Security and Ecological farming must be implemented so as to address environmental concerns and climate change in the following ways:
- Introduce Farmer Field Schools/Extension. In this way, the farmers will learn from agricultural experts and practioners hence accessing the best techniques for a better yield of crops and storage. Farmers will also learn from each other by sharing experiences in their groups. This will shape their ideas for the new planting season.
- Carry out research in Agriculture. Our Idea is to get the real truth about a plant so that its duration, yield, resistance to disease, nutritional value, market value is known and health effects if any. This will make the farmers make informed decisions before picking up a particular crop hence ability to benefit the most from the choice. We will de-campaign genetically engineered (GE) crops and animals and instead opt for organic crops.
- Sustainability in Agriculture. In carrying out Agriculture, we will make sure communities do not mess up the resources like land by using too much fertilizer, which incidentally will leak into the water aquifer zones to pollute the water for drinking. When washed down the valley in rivers and lakes, fish or aquatic life will also be in danger. Avoid soil degradation and erosion, salinization by improving soil quality and protect biodiversity for sustainability.
- Commercialisation of Agriculture. So many Farmers in Africa only grow what they like to feed on, yet they would increase productivity to sell and improve household income hence reducing poverty. We will look for markets for these organic products locally and across international borders. We also propose to help farmers secure equipments like tractors, ox-ploughs, hoes and hybrid seeds (got through cross breeding by organic means).
- Food for Disasters/crisis: Sometimes climate change impacts like extreme droughts, dry away crops in the gardens, floods wash away crops from gardens. Communities and vulnerable people, like child headed families, malnourished children ( to improve cognitive response) and the elderly people will be provided with emergency food aid where the situation warrants it. This program will also monitor possible food insecurity.
- The promise against GE crops/organisms. For all the above interventions against poverty and hunger, we as Engineers in Green Actions Africa will ONLY promote ecological farming against genetically engineered (GE) or GM(genetically modified) crops. Ecological farming is farming in harmony with nature and is considered the high- end objective among proponents of sustainable agriculture. GE/GM crops or organisms are risky to human health and the environment. We should be very careful since there is also risk of contamination of organic crops from GE/GM crops via cross pollination. How can we be safe? Simple, REJECT it forever!