Mwenya Mukuka – Lusaka, Zambia
Speaking Friday, this week, when he made a presentation at the Second National Food and Seed Festival in Lusaka, Caritas Zambia Executive Director, Eugene Kabilika said just as multinational companies have patented seeds and plants, the government of the Republic of Zambia through the relevant ministry should also patent local foods, especially those that are now being produced at a commercial level.
Mr Kabilika cited Chikanda and Chibwantu - a popular local food and drink, as some of the products that should be hastily patented. He said the royalties realised could help improve the lives of local people.
Protect the livelihoods of communities through agroecology
Meanwhile, Caritas Zambia says the global shocks the world is experiencing today highlights the urgent need to support agroecology.
Agroecology is a people-centric system of sustainable agriculture and social justice movements driven by local farmers and other food producers to retain power over their local food systems, sadi Kabilika. In so doing, locals protect livelihoods, communities and defend the right to nutritious and diverse food.
The Caritas Zambia Executive Director told the Second National Food and Seed Festival that climate change, economic downturns and widespread disease were a threat to African food systems.
“Climate change, economic downturn and widespread disease threaten African food systems. However, agroecology enables food producers to develop sustainable farms, bustling local markets, and small innovative enterprises that bring security, resilience, and prosperity to African livelihoods in the face of global or regional shocks,” said Mr Kabilika.
Food sovereignty is key to food security
He added that agroecology is the better economic and ecological alternative to the failing industrial, agricultural system.
“Food sovereignty is the solution to food security. Agroecological systems can sustainably feed more Zambians than industrial agriculture by keeping power over [local people’s] seeds, markets, diets and profits in the hands of the local community,” he said.
Need to safeguard public health
Mr Kabilika further said that agroecology protects and safeguards public health by providing nutritious foods to communities and rejecting toxic pesticides and fertilisers that poison farmers, agricultural workers and consumers.
Mr Kabilika further noted that agroecology protects biodiversity on farm eco-systems and localises sustainable food systems. At the same time, agroecology, defends Africa and the world from future outbreaks and pandemics spurred by human exploitation of forests, industrial animal agriculture and wildlife trafficking.