1st Eastern Africa Agroecology Conference

Sustainable Transformation of Food Systems

This conference aims to invoke consciousness and motivate regional and continental communities to dialogue how to invest in interventions which can ameliorate the negative impacts of the current unsustainable food systems by transitioning towards more environmentally friendly solutions with long-term vision and planning.

Rationale of the Conference

  1. This conference comes after the 1st International Conference on Agroecology Transforming Agriculture & Food Systems in Africa with Theme: Reducing Synthetic Fertilizers and Pesticides by scaling up Agroecology and Promoting Ecological Organic Trade held from 18th-21st June 2019 in the same hotel in Nairobi organized by BvAT, IFOAM Organics International and World Food Preservation Center® LLC. The conference will provide an opportunity to share lessons learned and actions taken so far.
  2. The conference comes up following the United Nations Food Systems Summit (UNFSS) to share national and regional food systems transformation paths in support of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (2030 Agenda).
  3. The conference provides a platform for key proponents of Agroecology at which discussions and
    inspirations for dynamic transition towards agroecology-based food systems in terms of production, consumption, and markets can be held by diverse actors.
  4. The conference provides opportunity for decision-makers, private and public players to show how food systems can contribute to safe, equitable, resilient, and culturally diverse systems in terms of production, distribution, processing, consumption, farmer organization and markets and demystify the minimalist approach to agroecology.
  5. Build case for a solid role for women and youth in the production of nutritious food by recognizing and engaging them as active partners in sustainable food systems

Conference Sub-themes

Sub-theme 1: Production, productivity, scaling up and sustainability of farming systems based on environmentally friendly technologies and methodologies.

It is increasingly recognized that food systems in Eastern Africa, as well as Africa in general, are not sustainable in their status; they contribute to carbon emissions and continue to contribute to the loss of biodiversity. Agroecological systems depend on integrated practices and technologies such as crop rotation, cover crops, water harvesting and conservation, and farmer managed seed systems. Broadly agroecology promotes food systems that conserve the environment, soil health and lead to sustainable agricultural efficiency.

The agricultural sector is a key economic and social driver of development goals of most countries and  Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) including direct contribution to the National Gross Domestic Product (GDP), country exports and employment. In Eastern Africa, despite the key role agriculture plays in development, it faces a myriad of challenges including smallholder farmers’ inability to control pests and diseases, high cost of inputs as well as aging farmers. This thematic area invites presentations that show how successful agroecological cases address issues of food systems and how such cases can be promoted and scaled out to reach significant number of producers and consumers.

Sub-theme 2: Best practices towards food security, nutrition, consumption, and health: Soil health and farmer managed seed systems

Best practices in addressing food and nutrition insecurity including policy, systems and environmental change strategies required by diverse stakeholders to implement are urgently needed now than ever to avert large-scale future shortages. Beyond adequate production to ensure calories intake, proper
nutrition ensures micronutrient availability and healthy diets. Unhealthy diets and lifestyles are closely linked to various non-communicable diseases associated with increased risk of chronic diseases, such as obesity, diabetes and heart disease, as well as higher health care costs, decreased academic achievement, lower productivity and widening health disparities. Food and nutrition insecurity came to the forefront of dialogues issues following the COVID-19 pandemic globally. The African Union recently announced the goal of ending hunger and increasing healthy eating by 2025 and declared 2021 the Year of Nutrition so that fewer Africans experience diet-related diseases. This sub-theme invites presentations and opportunities for sessions to discuss best practices in how to address food and nutrition insecurity in order to promote optimal health, reduce risk of chronic disease, and eliminate health inequities and disparities.

Sub-theme 3: Women and Youth in agroecology

Rural women are the backbone of agriculture and food security in most developing countries. Comprising 43 percent of the global agricultural labour force, women play a crucial part in all levels of global food production. Consequently, women being left out of agricultural advancement not only prevents them from progressing and achieving their goals, but also this affects their communities and especially in household food security. FAO estimates that if women were to have the same access to resources as men, agricultural yields could increase by as much as 20-30 percent, with the potential to reduce food insecurity for an astounding 100-150 million people globally. Presentations will be sought to show the contributions of women, their traditional knowledge, consumption patterns and household food security in agroecology and safe and healthy livelihoods.

Sub-theme 4: Ecological organic trade, markets, and economy

Organic trade is rapidly growing globally. This demonstrates that organic products are moving from the “niche” space to mainstream markets. The total land under certified organic production worldwide has reached over 72.3 million ha and with Africa having about 2.0 million ha (FiBL and IFOAM Organics International, 2021). However, statistics on organic agriculture in Africa in general are extremely limited, illustrating the still relatively nascent status of the sector, despite its potential and a long tradition of the organic movement across the continent. Presentations on this thematic area will cover areas such as regulatory, business, and consumer environments; standards, certification and accreditation; stimulants and barriers to organic trade amongst others.

Sub-theme 5: Institutional and policy drivers for agroecology transformations

Globally, there is an increasing shift to overhaul and integrate policies affecting food by bringing together different actors to build common long-term goals and strategies around food policies. A key requirement is to review policies with negative consequences for adoption of agroecological practices and those that produce positive effects and stimulate adoption and scales up. Areas such as farmer managed seed systems, organic product identification and marketing, financing and investment environments, research into organic systems require policy and institutional grounding. These policies must be based on reliable, timely and locally relevant data and evidence on the multidimensional
performance of agroecology. Presentations will show strategies of bringing together political decision-makers, and other actors involved in the development of policies, strategies and programmes related to food systems and how they contribute to national development goals and SDG goals including food
and nutrition security and a healthy environment.

Sub-theme 6: Financing agroecological transformations

Agro-ecological transformations require changes in what is produced and how it is produced, processed, transported and consumed. Since food systems need to be transformed, the current financial architecture also needs to be re-designed and prepared to support such an agroecological transformation. Such changes not only require significant financial resources but also need to compete with conventional agriculture requirements. Presentations under this sub-theme will show funding models for initiatives that encourage a switch to agroecological systems, this includes Farmer Managed Seed Systems (FMSS), business models that promote agroecological value chains, public-private and other types of partnerships, inclusive financial services and products, financial technology solutions, and resource mobilization tools and strategies that facilitate redesigning of agroecosystems and trigger food systems change.

Advancement in ICT provide opportunity for agro-ecology sector to contribute to stable and resilient food systems by addressing information gap. With around 50 percent of the world’s population being youth and more so in the developing countries, the future of the world depends much on what they choose to do in food production.

Digital technologies are providing solutions and innovation is imperative for inclusion of young people. Presentations at the conference will show the youth are unlocking the potential of food and agriculture by innovations geared towards reducing poverty, bridging the rural divide, creating employment and giving access to information, technology and market opportunities.

Expected Outcomes

  1. Embraced overall food system transformation agenda in Eastern Africa in line with agroecological principles and practices.
  2.  Connected and strengthened ecosystem of organizations and initiatives working towards food system transformation based on agroecology.
  3. Advanced strategies and joint initiatives on key levers for food system transformation (knowledge generation & dissemination, policy reform, market systems development, investments – tbc).
  4.  Enhanced support and implementation of agroecology oriented policies from government institutions and other key stakeholders in the region.

Expected Outputs

  1. Guiding principles and recommendations for food system transformation in Eastern Africa formulated and communicated.
  2.  Successful examples and initiatives that show that agroecology works showcased and amplified.
  3.  Stakeholders informed on key initiatives related to food system transformation in Eastern Africa and synergies identified.
  4. Key challenges occasioned by rapid changes and their impact on people, crops and the environment, and possible mitigation measures identified.
  5. Opportunities
    for strengthening agroecology agenda and practice identified.
  6. Awareness about the potential of agroecology for sustainable production, consumption and contribution to green economy created.
  7.  Action plans towards enhancing agroecology in the region created.
  8. Conference report, conference resolutions, policy brief (or conference journal). Key elements of the conference declaration will be developed in advance and backed up during the conference.

The conference will be a hybrid event comprising in-person attendance and livestreaming for on-line participants.



Mar 21 - Mar 24, 2023 - 23:59
Organizer Biovision Africa Trust
Website Visit website
Targets Africa
Sectors Sector agnostic
SDG (17) All