You are here

La Via Campesina Southern and Eastern Africa builds and launches tools to strengthen advocacy for Climate Justice in the region

By staff - La Via Campesina, May 28, 2018

African smallholder farmers constitute over 80% of all farms, producing over 70% of the food consumed on the continent, relying on farmer saved traditional seeds and traditional farming practises informed by century old indigenous knowledge systems. However, their way of farming faces a new threat: climate change which has led to changes in seasons (droughts, high temperatures, floods, etc) and crop patterns, melting of glaciers and rising sea levels. Southern and eastern Africa has experienced unprecedented floods, droughts and high temperatures leaving many people vulnerable and food insecure. In East Africa resident to large numbers of pastoralist communities, disputes involving pastoralists over access to water holes and grazing have increased dramatically as available resources diminish.

With the increasing prevalence of ecological disasters related to climate change, and growing water scarcity, La Via Campesina Southern and Eastern Africa (LVC SEAf) working together with Afrika Kontakt initiated a project to strengthen advocacy strategies and capacities for climate justice. Starting in March 2017, an 18-month long research (including farmer to farmer exchanges to Democratic Republic of Congo and Kenya) was done to document small scale farmers’ regional struggles against climate change and understand policy frameworks in four African countries (Mozambique, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe). In addition to the studies, and internal strengthening exploring the link between peasant agroecology and climate justice, a primer showing the impacts that the small scale farmers and peasants around the world are facing from climate change and the solutions they are using to address climate change was prepared.

According to the studies, these countries have formulated policies across key sectors to address climate change, but such policies are largely inadequate, disconnected and at times contradictory. For example, the governments seem to have embraced Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) based “green revolution package”- a main source of greenhouse gas emissions – as a solution to climate change. In the case of Zimbabwe, the government is supporting the use of synthetic fertilizers and hybrid seeds, especially maize. In Mozambique land grabbing and privatization of land for export crop production using green revolution techniques has dispossessed thousands of peasants, leaving them, particularly the women and youth, more vulnerable to climate change. Youth migration to cities has increased as they can no longer sustain themselves.

However, not all smallholder farmers are accepting the governments’ solution to climate change. In Uganda, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Tanzania, the farmers are experimenting and sharing knowledge on a lot of local innovations working towards achieving food sovereignty. They are building their farming system reliance through exchanging seeds diversifying their crops, innovating new ways of water conservation (such the water infiltration pits dug along fields by ZIMSOFF farmers), organizing learning visits (in Tanzania and Uganda farmers are identifying champion agroecology farmers to share their experiences with other farmers using community radios, learning visits, etc). All this shows that farmers are not passive but actively seeking ways to mitigate and adapt to climate change. Instead of seeking external solutions, their governments should work with and consult farmers to build lasting and relevant policies and solutions to climate change.

Download (1) the Primer in english, french, shona, swahili and portuguese (2) Zimbabwe in english, french, shona (3) Mozambique in english and Portuguese (4) Tanzania in in english, french and Swahili and (5) Uganda in english and french

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s.

The Fine Print I:

Disclaimer: The views expressed on this site are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) unless otherwise indicated and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s, nor should it be assumed that any of these authors automatically support the IWW or endorse any of its positions.

Further: the inclusion of a link on our site (other than the link to the main IWW site) does not imply endorsement by or an alliance with the IWW. These sites have been chosen by our members due to their perceived relevance to the IWW EUC and are included here for informational purposes only. If you have any suggestions or comments on any of the links included (or not included) above, please contact us.

The Fine Print II:

Fair Use Notice: The material on this site is provided for educational and informational purposes. It may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. It is being made available in an effort to advance the understanding of scientific, environmental, economic, social justice and human rights issues etc.

It is believed that this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have an interest in using the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. The information on this site does not constitute legal or technical advice.