The Youth are Key Stakeholders in Upscaling Agroecology
Agroecology has the explicit goal of strengthening the sustainability of all parts of the food system, from the seed and the soil to the table, including ecological knowledge, economic viability, and social justice and raises the quality of life by recognizing the multifaceted functions of agriculture, as well as local, traditional, and unbounded knowledge that it supplies. Therefore, it is assumed that using agroecology to grow food will result in an abundance of food that can feed the world's expanding population. Agroecological methods enable communities to manage their agroecosystems autonomously and adaptably while advancing human rights, helping them to combat poverty, hunger, and malnutrition.
ESAFF Uganda strongly believes that agroecology is critical to the transition and that market-based solutions will not provide climate justice. Agroecology achieves climate justice with proven serious solutions to climate crises crucial for climate mitigation and adaptation. Youth therefore must be at the centre of upscaling Agroecology given the impact that climate change makes on agriculture and their livelihood.
ESAFF Uganda recognizes the youth as being important players in advancing the agroecology agenda. When their capacity and knowledge in agroecology are established, it is thought that they will play a crucial role in fostering a general understanding and appreciation of agroecology among the general public through the use of social media as the cornerstone of creating a sustainable food system and guaranteeing food sovereignty, thereby influencing the food systems towards agroecology.
Overtime, ESAFF Uganda a member of La Via Campesina Southern and Eastern Africa has empowered small-scale farmers especially the youth and the women on agroecology and organized many policy dialogues, media engagements, and learning tours among others to create space for youth to influence agroecology policies and laws at the local, national and regional level as well as international level.
From the 25th to 27th of September 2022, youth from Southern and Eastern Africa attended the Regional Youth Exchange in Machakos, Kenya which was organized by La Via Campesina. During the youth meeting, youth discussed different challenges they face in upscaling to agroecology in their communities and how they can overcome such challenges. The youth were further exposed to different agroecological practices such as pile composting, making organic poultry feed, water harvesting, beekeeping techniques and use of organic pesticides. The youth were further taken through a session on using social media as a tool for movement building.
The youth from Southern and Eastern Africa called upon:
Take decisive action towards the domestication of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas (UNDROP) which sets platforms for voices from rural communities to be heard and stresses that small-scale farmers especially the youth have a right to protect and conserve production resources and the productive capacity of their lands.
Engage in policy influencing forums that are focused on addressing climate change and upscaling agroecology.
Appreciate technology advancements as well as innovations to make agroecology less labour intensive
ESAFF Uganda will keep providing pertinent information to small-scale farmers and assisting small-scale farmers, particularly women and young people, to engage in policy forums where agroecology is being discussed.