Currently, threats of famine are rising in certain regions of Africa due to their dependency on the Ukraine for grain, despite the fact that some of the world’s most nutritious and abundant crops are native to African soil. It’s a dangerous omen, but the silver lining is that it demands confrontation with a question that should have been addressed long ago: Why don’t African nations have food sovereignty?
Formed by colonialism and capitalism and perpetuated by false narratives of dependency, the global markets that govern food systems continue to undermine the rights of Africans to grow and distribute their own food. Ultimately, this leads to diets that are less healthy, sustainable and affordable than would be the case if import-based supply models were swapped for those of local production. Think agroecology, family farmers, land rights, Indigenous crops – support for such things could revitalize the continent’s food pyramids, shape-shifting them back to how they should be.
In this GLF Live, we brought together the head coordinator of the Alliance for Food Sovereignty for Africa, Million Belay, with one of the leading young champions for zero-hunger and green revolution in Africa, Amanda Namayi, to discuss the pathway back to the continent’s power over its food.
Listen back to the conversation as a podcast, or re-watch it on YouTube:
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Million Belay is the general coordinator of the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa. Belay has been working for over two decades on intergenerational learning of bio-cultural diversity, agriculture, the rights of local communities to seed, and food sovereignty and forest issues. He has a PhD in environmental learning, an MSc in tourism and conservation, and a BSc in Biology, and is a member of the International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems (IPES-Food).
Amanda Namayi is a youth advocate for Climate Action & Zero Hunger. Currently, she is the GoGettaz Africa lead at the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), sitting at the heart of efforts to inspire and promote a new generation of Africans that can drive growth, innovation and job creation in the agri-food sector. She participates in various global fora as a contributor, speaker and moderator and was part of the all-youth team that organized, coordinated and moderated the first-of-its-kind Youth Special Event Plenary session during the 46th Session of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) in Rome, Italy. She has served as Kenya’s country ambassador for the Global African Agribusiness Accelerator Platform (GAAAP) and regional coordinator for East Africa for the Climate Smart Agriculture Youth Network (CSAYN). Currently, she is a board member of the global Youth Alliance for Zero Hunger.
Claire Nasike (moderator) is a Food For Life Campaigner at Greenpeace Africa, the third awardee of the Wangari Maathai scholarship and the founder of the Hummingbird Foundation, an initiative that connects schoolchildren to nature by establishing organic food and botanical gardens. In her free time, she loves reading, and writing articles on her eco-blog, which has been nominated twice for Kenya bloggers awards (BAKE) in 2015 and 2018.
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