KENYA: Agroecology Conference Urges African Bishops to lead Advocacy on Food Safety and Security

NYAHURURU, NOVEMBER 29, 2019 (CISA)-The Agroecology Conference 2019 has ended with calls to the Church in Africa to lead in promotion of agroecology with a focus on food safety and security in the region.

In a communique issued at the end of the conference that was held in Nyahururu, November 24-28, the delegates from Caritas Africa and Coopération Internationale pour le Développement et la Solidarité (CIDSE), an international alliance of Catholic development agencies affirmed that they would maintain Catholic identity as they engage various actors in innovative approaches to promoting Agroecology.

“We resolve to do this through investing more resources in the market section of the value chain, supporting agroecological annual market days, and promoting networks to encourage aggregation and bargain for better prices on farmers’ produce. We further resolve to document indigenous knowledge on agroecology for information sharing,” reads a statement released at the end of the meeting.

The conference recognized youth unemployment as a priority concern in our country, and acknowledged that Agroecology provides a promising solution as a source for decent jobs and economic gains for the youth.

“We resolve to utilize the energy, creativity and skilled task force of the youth in response to Pope’s Call in his Post-Synodal Exhortation to the young people and entire people of God “Christus Vivit”. He encourages the Christian community to involve the youth through our embrace and concrete help.”

In his closing remarks Rt. Rev. Joseph Mbatia of Nyahururu thanked the organizers of the forum for bringing East and Central African delegates together.

“I count myself privileged to have had gone through the experience.  It is my hope that the Conference experience and knowledge gathered has given all of us participants, new energy and passion to implement Agroecology in our Dioceses, communities and homes. It would be sad to work for big organisations, implementing big projects on sustainable livelihoods and food security, yet your neighbors are rotting in poverty. We can freely participate in human development in a spirit of charity,” he said.

The bishop noted that the implementation of Agroecology needs a lot of advocacy and dialogue.  “Unless we dialogue with the negative forces, it makes it more difficult for us to implement Agroecology. The economic factor seduces the multinational bodies to disregard the dignity of the human person, to value more the financial gain,” he said.

In every Diocese we should have a demonstration farm/plot and any field office should have a farm at their home demonstrating what he does and promotes. Let us also seek platforms in our churches to speak about Agroecology, sustainable food security and free ourselves from avoidable diseases; that affect man due to the chemicals used to spray food crops.

The agroecology conference held at Tabor Hill Retreat Centre Nyahururu was attended by representatives from Caritas Africa, National Caritas Directors from Kenya, Malawi, South Sudan , Uganda and Ethiopia, Diocesan caritas Coordinators and CIDSE partner Representatives from  Fastenopfer, Trócaire and the Kenyan Catholic Justice and Peace Commission.