Agroecology, the only sustainable solution to food insecurity – Expert

Application of ecological principles in agricultural practices to increase yields, while reducing environmental impacts is the best antidote to hunger and malnutrition in some parts of Uganda, says Hakim Baliraine.

Mr. Baliraine, who serves as the National Chairperson for Eastern and Southern Africa Small Scale Farmers Forum (ESAFF Uganda) made this revelation which addressing selected journalists, who successfully enrolled for the second cohort at the Agroecology School for Journalists and Communicators, for a six weeks training course in organic farming. 

His remarks were an embodiment of several presentations made during a two-day Agroecology Introductory Seminar for selected journalists from different media houses across the country at Eureka Place Hotel Ntinda, from March 16th to 17th.

Participants were made to understand in detail the trump card organic agriculture enjoys over conventional farming, in ensuring water and food security such that they pass on this vital information to the public.

The workshop was premised under the theme: “Building an Agroecology Network of Journalists and Communicators across Uganda and Africa”. 

Mr Baliraine elaborated at length, that agroecology, which involves the application of organic agricultural inputs, a practice that speaks to the aspect of greening, helps to curtail climate change induced crop failures, which has for decades been a reason for high food prices and hunger in some parts of Uganda. 

He also noted that organic agriculture is a preferable practice to circumvent water and soil contamination from dangerous chemicals as a result of the application of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides in food production, hence ensuring safety of water sources and healthy food products. 

“Agroecology is a sustainable way of how things like trees, people, air those things you don’t see, the ones you see with your eyes can relate to each other and we still use them without effecting the livelihoods of the living organisms like the people, the livestock and the soil,” said Baliraine, adding, “For instance; Agroecology can be looked at as a cycle, in which the existing ecosystems depend on each other with out harm, to ensure their continued survival.”

The outspoken ESAFF Uganda National Chairperson also noted that organic agriculture is the best way to reduce food production costs, while maximizing the quality and quantity of outputs, which are safe for continued survival of the existing ecosystems. 

“Agroecological processes support food producers in reducing costs translating into increased income, economic stability and resilience. With organic farming, that cost of buying fertilizers would be cancelled, if the farmer is using their own organic fertilizers, compost and others, that cost of buying fertilizers would be cancelled, if the farmer is using their hoe safety seeds, that cost of buying seeds from the shop would be cancelled,” Mr. Baliraine further asserted. 

Also while officiating the two-day workshop, Ms. Nancy Mugimba, the National Coordinator for ESSAF Uganda made a revelation that dependence on organic foods is absolutely necessary for the longevity of human life, and earnestly implored journalists to let this crucial information known to the general public. 

“Look at how everyone was looking for a natural remedy during the Covid-19 lockdown, everyone became a herbalist, everyone was looking for natural foods, organic products saved people,” Ms. Mugimba said. 

It is worth noting that Agroecology is the best farming strategy to attain all the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set by the United Nations, for instance SDG2 which is; ending hunger, achieve food security, improved nutrition and promote sustainable food production. 

 This is because it optimizes the use of local and renewable resources, which enables agricultural production systems to harness ecosystem benefits such as pollination, soil erosion control and mitigation of climate change. 

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