ECOWAS Commission chief says ecological organic agriculture can curb global hunger


Photo: QU Dongyu D-G UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)

Mr Ernest Aubee, Head, Agriculture Division, ECOWAS Commission, has said that  half of the world’s population was underfed, with 3.4 billion suffering hunger, malnutrition and obesity.

Aubee, who stated this in a chat with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday, in Abuja, identified Agro-ecology as one of the ways to ensure food security, sustenance of the people’s health and the environment.

He described agroecology as the application of the science of ecology to agricultural systems that seeks to develop an ecological structure that does not need external inputs.

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Agroecology practice allows the necessary interaction among species for the system to work better, says Aubee, who is in charge of Food and Nutrition security programmes at the ECOWAS Commission.

He frowned at the increasing rate in global hunger and malnutrition, attributing the increase to inadequate food security.

“Even with the global rise in hunger and malnutrition, about 33-40 per cent of the food produced in agro-industrial chains is still wasted in production, transport or thrown away.

“Poor agricultural productivity, poor management of agro-ecological resources for agricultural production, over-reliance on non-renewable resources for agricultural production lead to shortage of food.

“Other limitations include, poor funding of the agricultural sector, inadequate knowledge on agroecological management, poor institutional capacity, coordination and networking and linkage between farmers and research institutions as well as climate change effects’’, he said.

He, therefore, called for the right policies and the implementation of strategies that would promote the development of Ecological Organic Agriculture (EOA) in the West African Region.

“These policies must be backed by the right investments, regulatory framework, institutional arrangements and capacity development.

“To get our political leaders to accept EOA, we must always provide empirical evidence of the benefits of EOA over conventional agriculture as seeing is believing.

“Research on EOA is also lacking, so we must have a critical mass of researchers in our countries and include EOA in the curriculum of our tertiary educational institutions’’.

He added that agroecological practices mitigate climate change as it was a system that has high productivity, efficiency, and biodiversity with high recycling rates.

“It uses low external inputs, resilient and efficient in use of local resources, and has a high level of synergy and integration.

“It has its roots in ecology, applying the understanding of natural ecosystems and comparing these to mechanized agroecosystems”, Aubee stated.

He also called for intensive and sustained awareness creation on the benefits and opportunities of EOA.

“It should be a continuous process at all levels of society which requires partnership with the media, CSO’s, NGOs, private sector and all stakeholders, including farmers,’’ he added.

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