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A revolutionary new initiative in African farming was launched earlier this year as part of the annual International Fair of Animal Resources (FIARA) in Dakar, Senegal. It draws together twelve rural women’s networks from across the west African countries of Senegal, Mali, Guinea, Burkina Faso and Ghana into a campaign entitled ‘Nous Sommes La Solution! Célébrons l’agriculture familiale’ – ‘We Are The Solution! A celebration of family farming.’
The campaign’s aims include gathering together the best in African farming knowledge and technology, acting as a bulwark against the needless industrialisation of the continent’s agriculture and facilitating the empowerment of women within rural communities.
It will run for three years during which it will focus on building capacity at grass roots level in both traditional agricultural knowledge and the ability of women to shoulder the responsibilities they’ve had to in recent years as effective leaders.
The need for a women-led agricultural campaign in Africa was first discussed during 2007 and plans for a west African organisation were formally laid out during a 2009 meeting of the Network of West African Peasant Producers (ROPPA).
Networks similar to ROPPA have been springing up across Africa recently, creating what Tanya Kerssen, Research Fellow at Food First/Institute for Food and Development Policy and a major international supporter of We Are The Solution!, describes as ‘a broad constellation of political alliances that form the growing African food sovereignty movement.’ (more…)