Agro-Ecology is the Future of Food

The news has been buzzing with articles and commentary about the new UN report that about how agroecology can double food production in 10 years.

“Agro-ecology mimics nature not industrial processes. It replaces the external inputs like fertiliser with knowledge of how a combination of plants, trees and animals can enhance productivity of the land,” said Olivier De Schutter, U.N. Special Rapporteur on the right to food, following the presentation of his annual report focusing on agro-ecology and the right to food to the U.N. Human Rights Council… Yields went up 214 percent in 44 projects in 20 countries in sub-Saharan Africa using agro-ecological farming techniques over a period of 3 to 10 years… far more than any GM [genetically modified] crop has ever done… Other recent scientific assessments have shown that small farmers in 57 countries using agro-ecological techniques obtained average yield increases of 80 percent. Africans’ average increases were 116 percent… Today’s scientific evidence demonstrates that agro-ecological methods outperform the use of chemical fertilisers in boosting food production in regions where the hungry live,” De Schutter said.”

This is amazing news on many levels and will be especially affirming for ASPROCIG, AJWS’s grantee in northern Colombia serving farming communities along the Sinú River. These farming communities woke up one morning to find their crops completely submerged in water and entirely destroyed. The Zenu and Embera people who live by the Sinú banks depend on the river for fish, irrigation and drinking water. But in 2000, the Urrá Dam, built by a consortium of Colombian, Swedish and Russian companies, submerged over 7,400 hectares of land, crops, homes and sacred sites. The dam displaced 2,800 people and continues to threaten the lives of 70,000 by altering vital food supplies. Areas of severe periodic flooding and drought caused by its flow have stymied traditional farming practices. Compounding this reality is the construction of a new dam—many times the size—by the Colombian government, presenting a constant looming threat over this beleaguered rural community.

Now, in response to the radical changes brought about by the dam, ASPROCIG is working to restore the ecology and agricultural productivity of the region by helping farmers along the Sinú develop agriculture and aquaculture farms suitable to the changed environment. With AJWS’s support, ASPROCIG-supported farmers are establishing 175 agro-ecological farms in the Lower Sinú region.

Watch this video to learn more about ASPROCIG’s agro-ecological farms.