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The Long walk to freedom for food security: How far are we growing our own food?

Globally, people are experiencing hunger every day. And we’ve seen how crises like climate change and the war in Ukraine are making that worse. 

That’s why this year for Mandela Day, the Nelson Mandela Foundation called on global activists to explore sustainable solutions to both food security and the climate crisis. 

Add your voice to our petition urging world leaders to end the hunger crisis.

ONE Champions Nyombi Morris and climate activist, Sipasi Olalekan are weighing in. 

Nyombi on the journey to food security 

The first step toward ending hunger is to embrace things that might not seem like the core causes of food insecurity right away. And we must admit that climate change is real, is happening now, and is impacting global food security.

A majority of affluent nations have failed to assume responsibility for their climate debt to lower-income countries. As a result of this inaction, millions of people are left to die prematurely and suffer from the effects. Many are forced to consider turning over property in return for money because of extreme weather conditions, such as drought, flood, and other environmental issues. This insecurity and other external shocks are key drivers of hunger. 

But there are ways that countries across Africa can fight this. We must stop spending billions of dollars on mining activities that destroy land by causing soil erosion, landslides, and land pollution. And we must start facilitating investment in industries with lower carbon footprints 

We must start developing businesses that create organic fertilizers to help farmers regain their fields because we would starve if they did not provide food, and we must treat farmers with the highest respect on this path to self-sufficiency. 

Rather than waiting for regenerative agriculture advocacy organizations to make decisions on the public’s behalf, we should begin teaching people about food security and how they may begin growing their own food. 

If we can solve those major problems, I am confident that we will be self-sufficient and avoid relying on crisis response funding to address the issues at hand.

Sipasi on management of food systems

From arable land, to the availability of water and the capability of growing food all year round, Africa should be able to manage its own food systems to ensure food security. But the prevalence of food insecurity has remained elevated on the continent. It took us decades to get to the current state we are in, and it will take many more to repair. It will require long and intentional efforts, starting with individuals and communities, and then countries and the continent at large. 

We need to change the status quo now by declaring a sense of urgency in African food systems. This cannot be achieved without the appropriate cooperation of member states on relevant policies. To achieve this, we need to do agriculture with future generations in mind. We must consider food for the future.  

Africa can leverage technology to increase production and productivity. We are owners of agriculture, and we can own the future of food. To free ourselves from food aid and dependency on other countries,  we need African leaders to honour and be accountable to their commitments to the Malabo Declaration to transform our food systems by 2025. 

But more importantly, we need to quickly and urgently protect our native flora and start the establishment of local seed banks to protect our indigenous seeds in Africa. In order to achieve this, we have to operate on the three ethics of permaculture in our production systems — earth care, people care, and fair share.

Add your voice to our petition urging world leaders to end the hunger crisis.

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