AFSA urges leaders to resist massive land grabs

From left to right: Gathuru Mburu (ABN) Jennifer Koinante (IPACC), Bern Guri (COMPAS), Anne Maina (ABN) Million Belay (MELCA) Simom Mwamba (ESAFF), Mariam Mayet (ACB)

Daily Monitor | 29 November 2009

Fikremariam Tesfaye

Addis Abeba — The Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA) urged African leaders to resist the Corporate Industrialization of African agriculture which will result in massive land grabs, and for the issue to be raised at the upcoming climate negotiations in Copenhagen, at the Pan African Network workshop held from November 23rd -25th, 2009 at Wasamara Hotel here.

The AFSA represents small holder farmers, pastoralists, hunter/gatherers, indigenous people, citizens and environmentalists from Africa. It is calling for measures against the displacement of indigenous people especially pastoral communities and hunter and gatherers and the destruction of their livelihoods and cultures.

AFSA salutes the strong and unified approach that African leaders have taken in the run up to the UNFCC Climate Negotiations in December, said Milion Belay, Director of MELCA Mahiber, and member of ASFA at the end of the workshop.

The developed countries' positions are calculated to distract Africa from pursuing genuine solutions towards empowering communities to attain Food Sovereignty, conserving and sustainably using biodiversity and increasing the resilience of Africans to cope with the challenges posed by Climate Change, AFSA stressed.

They said that, "We demand that African Leaders to Champion Small African Family Farming Systems based on agro ecological and indigenous approaches that sustain food sovereignty and the livelihoods of communities while not neglecting other appropriate farming models; to protect the rights of the African people to indigenous seeds, plant and animal genetic resources and combat bio-piracy." "The leaders should also reject the corporate takeover of African land, food production systems, indigenous knowledge and resources: and bring to an end to the continued exploitation of African resources for the consumerist demands of the North," the Alliance added.

"The current African government practices do not go far enough to protecting Africa's Food Sovereignty, Biodiversity, and the Culture and Livelihoods of her people, Developed countries have not met their obligations to cop and reduce emissions to mitigate climate change and have not provided adequate support for adaptation in Africa and other developing nations" Members of ASFA said.

According to them, "many of the so-called solutions proposed by the developed countries to address the climate crises are False Solutions, These include: biochar, agro-fuels, hybrid, drought tolerant craps, carbon trading and so forth." "Africa will be watching her leaders at the upcoming Climate negotiations in Copenhagen in December and will hold them accountable for their engagements and decisions. Leaders should remember that what we do now will have an impact on the current and future generations." they said.

The workshop, hosted by MELCA Mahiber, brought eight AFSA member NGOs which are working in African countries. They are: African Biodiversity Network (ABN) based in 12 African countries, African Centre for Biosafety (ACB) South African based NGO, Coalition for the Protection of African Genetic Heritage (COPAGEN) based in 10 African countries, Comparing and Supporting Endogenous Development (COMPAS) International in eight countries, Eastern and Southern African small scale Farmers' Forum (ESAFF) founded in 12 African countries and Indigenous Peoples of Africa Coordinating Committee (IPACC) in 12 countries, as well as Participatory Ecological Land Use Management (PELUM) Association spread in ten countries.

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