Agroecology Manifesto

Agroecological Manifesto

We call for new knowledge and practices evolved through experience and understanding to be used to intervene in the solution of, the never seen before, complex social, environmental, economic and ethical challenges of our time. Also, to construct a new social and productive rationality that would enable us to transition towards a truly Sustainable Development for all.

How we manifest our purpose is expressed in our orientation to the 4 pillars of Sustainable Development. This being “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” (Bruntland report 1987).

“The concept of a sustainable agriculture is a relatively recent response to the decline in the quality of the natural resource base associated with modern agriculture” (Mc Isaac and Edwards 1994).

Agroecology deals with various different challenges in agricultural production. Agroecology deals primarily with crop production and protection aspects, and includes relevant environmental, social, economic, ethical and developmental issues.

The design of such Sustainable Agroecological systems is based on the application of the following ecological principles:

  • Enhance recycling of biomass and optimizing nutrient availability and balancing nutrient flow.
  • Securing favourable soil conditions for plant growth, particularly by managing organic matter and enhancing soil biotic activity.
  • Minimizing losses due to flows of solar radiation, air and water by way of microclimate management, water harvesting and soil management through increased soil cover.
  • Species and genetic diversification of the agroecosystem in time and space.
  • Enhance beneficial biological interactions and synergisms among agro biodiversity components thus resulting in the promotion of key ecological processes and services. (Reinjntjes et al. 1992)

This Manifesto is formulated to bring about new systems addressing Sustainable Development. Moral and ethical leadership is at the root of all sustainability, “Sustainable development is the kind of development that places the least demands upon natural resources and the most demands upon moral resources” Herman Daly.

Our environmental, economic, political, social, and spiritual challenges are interconnected, and together we can forge inclusive solutions. Within the four pillars of Sustainable Development the following broad indicators of sustainability include:

  • Social
  • Social sustainability is the least defined and least understood of the different ways of approaching sustainability and Sustainable Development. Social sustainability has had considerably less attention in public dialogue than economic and environmental sustainability. It includes:
  • Equity & Participation
  • Awareness of sustainability
  • Social Cohesion
  • Sufficient gainful employment
  • A reduction in poverty
  • Higher education levels
  • Increase/enhance access to social services
  • Increase/enhance access to medical services
  • Cultural

Cultural sustainability is a new interdisciplinary approach, aimed to raise the significance of culture and its factors in local, regional and global sustainable development. It includes:

  • Respect of the socio-cultural authenticity of host communities, conserve their living cultural heritage and traditional values, and contribute to inter-cultural understanding and tolerance
  • Recognize and support existing rural cultures
  • Protect natural and historic heritage
  • Support and encourage the development and growth of local arts and artists
  • Support cultural diversity
  • Advance the library system, access to information and resource centres
  • Economic

Sustainable Development is an approach to fiscal planning that attempts to foster socially sensitive economic growth while preserving the quality of the environment for future generations. It includes:

  • Increased level of entrepreneurship
  • Innovation and new collaborative opportunities
  • Investment in public and private infrastructure
  • Investment in skills and knowledge
  • Establishment of locally based economies through diversity and stability of local job base
  • Increased standards of living
  • Environmental
  • Cleaner air & water
  • Greater awareness of the environment & our connection to it
  • Reduced GHG emissions
  • Safe, reliable transportation options
  • Efficient and sustainable energy and construction systems
  • Adaptation and Mitigation to global warming and climate change

 

Agroecology on a global scale has the following impact;

  • As a systems approach it is effective, achievable and successful:
  • It is environmentally, economically, ethically and socially just & sustainable:
  • It is gender sensitive:
  • It is technically feasible:
  • It is inherently participatory:
  • The advocated systems approach is replicable and adaptable:
  • It is resilient and therefore contributes to reducing disaster/crisis risks

Nature is not able to anticipate and plan ahead. Human imagination can assist the processes by providing conscious planning and direction. Agriculture is a social art; it is a social science as well as it being a social responsibility. We have to re-acquire those human values that can take farming as a way of life and through this to be able to stand the test of a modern expression of a poly-science. Simply said we have evolved from agri-culture to agri-business to the agri-power where we now sit, and the future belongs to agroecology.

Documents that directly underpin the way forward to Sustainable Development and therefore this Manifesto must be align to a ‘Rights’ based agenda including but not limited to the following:

  • Bill of Rights prepared by the Constitutional Committee
  • Section 24 of the Constitution stated that everyone has the right:
  1. to an environment that is not harmful to their health or well-being; and
  2. to have the environment protected, for the benefit of present and future generations, through reasonable legislative and other measures that
  3. prevent pollution and ecological degradation;
  4. promote conservation; and
  5. secure ecologically sustainable development and use of natural resources while promoting justifiable economic and social development.
  • Industrial Policy
  • Kyoto Protocol: Article 3 (a) iii promotion of sustainable forms of agriculture in light of climate change considerations.
  • Consumer Protection Act: 68 of 2008: Section 41 effectively outlaws false, misleading or deceptive representations through either words or conducts whether express or implied.
  • National Environmental Management Act (NEMA): conservation of biodiversity and integrated environmental management.
  • Policy on Agriculture in Sustainable Development
  • Millennium Development Goals (MDG) (Millennium Declaration, signed by 187 world leaders at the Millennium Summit on 8 September 2000): Ensure environmental sustainability.
  • Foodstuff, Cosmetic and Disinfectant Act (Act  54 of 1972)
  • DAFF Sustainable Agriculture Strategy and the Declaration of Good Agricultural Practices (GAP)
  • The South African Human Rights Commission
  • The Constitutional Right to Food in RSA
  • Rights of Indigenous Peoples
  • Declaration of Rights of Peasants
  • The Right to Health
  • Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth
  • The Earth Charter

Manifesto written by Alan Rosenberg of Lindros ©

www.lindros.co.za