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Campesina Food Systems

A food system where smallholder farmers have a say in the agri-food value chain driven by agroecological food production

Photo of Chukwuma Ume
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Written by

Lead Applicant Organization Name

Institute for Agricultural Policy and Market Research, Justus Liebig Universitat, Giessen, Germany

Lead Applicant Organization Type

  • Researcher Institution

Website of Legally Registered Entity

http://www.uni-giessen.de/faculties/f09/institutes/agri

How long have you / your team been working on this Vision?

  • Under 1 year

Lead Applicant: In what city or town are you located?

Giessen

Lead Applicant: In what country are you located?

Germany

Your Selected Place: what’s the name of the Place you’re developing a Vision for?

NIger-Delta an oil-rich region of Nigeria covers a total area of 36,000km2

What country is your selected Place located in?

Nigeria

Describe your relationship to the place you’ve selected.

I am from this region and I coordinate smallholder farmers within this region. Over 80% of farmers in this area farm below 5 hectares yet they produce a large proportion of the food consumed in the area. The structure of the regional food system in this region has changed rapidly over the last 7 years due to the Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA) of the federal government implemented in October 2013 which aims at the intensification of cash crop production. This has led to the dominance of the agri-industrial food system at the expense of peasant-based agricultural production of food crops . Production of industrial commercial crops like rice has increased, while the production of food crops like vegetables, fruits and tubers declined. Rice production increased from 3,298,000ha in 2010 to 6,070,813ha in 2016, while Millet decreased from 5,814,000 to 1,468,668, Guinea corn from 7,711,000 to 6,939,335 within the same period. Mechanization of rice farms has also increased from 0.2hp/hectare to 0.7hp/hectare. These have led to the change in the production conditions for households in the area and have implications for the environment, for the socio-economic structure and the food security of households in the region. There have been cases of Small-scale farmers who are dependent for their livelihood on their farming activities get excluded from working their land. Also, because the production model changed from a labor-intensive to a capital-intensive system, demand for trained workers crowds out the unskilled majority. Violent conflicts (E.g. farmers-herders conflict, because farmers are forced to farm on marginal grasslands meant for herders. Also, social inequality within communities increased as large farmers now have better access to resources which the smallholder farmers cannot afford. Gender equality in land ownership begins to strengthen even though the women participate more in the food chains.

Describe the People and Place: Provide information that would be helpful for an outsider who has never been there and may have no context about this Place to better understand the area.

The Niger Delta region of Nigeria has a complex mix of very rich oil tycoons to peasant farmers who depend on local subsistence farming for their livelihoods. It is an oil-rich region thereby attracting the interest of many international corporations. Oil exploration had led to severe pollution in the area. Occupying 7.5% of the total land area of Nigeria, the region has over 3million impoverished peasants who through a robust food system can be very food independent and secure. Located along the coast, the region has over 40 ethnic groups. recently, agricultural activities in the area has drastically reduced and mostly in the hands of large scale commercial farmers. This is as a result of oil exploration in the region, and rapid urbanization leading to the degraded environment and polluted farmlands and waters by oil spills. There is also large scale land grabbing by the oil companies which has reduced the available land for agriculture.there have also been over 40% loss inhabitable terrain in the region due to extensive dam construction in the region, which has heavily impacted on smallscale farmers in the region.

What is the estimated population (current 2020) in your Place?

268876

Challenges: Describe the current (2020) and the future (2050) challenges that your food system faces.

the current and future challenges of the Niger-delta food system can be highlighted at three fronts: environment, for the socio-economic structure and the food security of households in the region. In terms of the environmental challenges, there s currently an encroachment into non-arable agricultural lands which are mainly due to expansion in rice cultivation and commercialization, which are driven by the current agri-industrial food system. Water contaminations in the paddy rice production areas have also been reported in several studies in the area, a problem induced by excess use of chemicals in other to expand production at all costs. Using a Tobit model regression analysis, a study by Edeh et al (2011) analyzed the effect of pesticide application, frequency of exposure and pesticide cocktails on rice farmers' health found them to be positive and significant (p<0.1). Similar studies on increased chemical fertilizer usage and reduced soil fertility overtime report negative effects as well, suggesting that in 2050, there is likely going to be deminshing returns to land. This will complicate the current impact of land and water pollutions already experineced. There is a dare need for urgent intervention, Moreover, profound knowledge both conceptually and empirically about how food value chain transformations interact with food loss and waste (FLW) outcomes and more specifically how FLW reduction/mitigation strategies will impact food system outcomes is largely missing in the current food system. In terms of food security, there is a high level productive exclusion of food Crops. Small-scale land owners now allocate more land to other productive sectors that generate income for them (unstable income). Therefore, Access to food no longer depends on what they can produce but on what they can purchase at the market at international prices. In summary, the people's right to culturally and ecologically sound food that is produced by sustainable methods and their right to democratically determine their own food and agricultural system is denied.

Address the Challenges: Describe how your Vision will address the challenges described in the previous question.

Providing sufficient amounts of nutritious food while conserving natural resources and mini­mizing environmental impacts requires knowledge on the linkages between diet quality and food value chains including modern retail formats. An agroecological led food system has emerged as a major aspect of the scientific and political economy discourse. A promising option to combat the adverse effects of food production which drives the global en­vironmental change is eco-functional intensification based on using internal natural re­sources and processes to secure agricultural productivity while minimizing negative environ­mental impacts. Important drivers of success are not technological only but also social inno­vations. Exploring the joint logic of production and reproduction through approaches on re­cycling aims at an extended food system approach including feedbacks. It is politics shape the food security challenges highlighted above. There is, therefore, the need to place food system actors, and the power relationships between them, at the heart of analysis. By engaging stakeholders at different levels of policymaking, we can determine to what extent is power vested in the hands of specific individuals/groups, and how do different interest groups outside the government including Peasants seek to influence policy. By Institutionalizing agroecology we will be transforming the current industrial model of the conventional food system. This we intend to achieve changing the components of the current food chain. When we form a robust agroecology farmer organization that will create an immaterial territory for these farmers as a way of giving them access to food and to the food systems. To modify the configuration of the conventional food systems to create more of the desired food system (agroecology driven) and less of the conventional food system (industrial model) we will, therefore, try to bring the food system closer, by this way, allowing the smallscale farmers to control the food chain.

High Level Vision: With these challenges addressed, now provide a high level description of how the Place and the lives of its People will be different than they are now.

the economic and ecological sustainability and the social impacts of the project can be identified, bearing in mind that making food systems sustainable also means to include human health aspects. Firstly, from the production level, the use of external environmentally degrading inputs will be substituted by natural products, and more environmentally sound organic farming and biodynamic agriculture. Also, there will be a reestablishment of a more direct connection between our small scale food producers and the agroecology market. This will, at the same time help to sustain the transition to more sustainable practices. What this means is that the consumers will trace and value food that is locally grown and processed, and support agroecologically produced foods. This network of producers and consumers will now form the alternative food system that we desire, which will be parallel to the agri-food industrial system.

Full Vision: How do you describe your Vision for a regenerative and nourishing food future for your Place and People for 2050?

Technology: Transforming food value chains in a sustainable way has become a major aspect of the scientific and political discourse. Providing sufficient amounts of nutritious food while conserving natural resources and mini­mizing environmental impacts requires knowledge on the linkages between diet quality and food value chains including modern retail formats. Moreover, profound knowledge both conceptually and empirically about how food value chain transformations interact with food loss and waste (FLW) outcomes and more specifically how FLW reduction/mitigation strategies will impact food system outcomes is largely missing so far. Environment: A promising option to combat the adverse effects of food production which drives the global en­vironmental change is eco-functional intensification based on using internal natural re­sources and processes to secure agricultural productivity while minimizing negative environ­mental impacts. Important drivers of success are not technological only but also social inno­vations. Exploring the joint logic of production and reproduction through approaches on re­cycling aims at an extended food system approach including feedbacks. Policy: In contrast to linear oriented current food economics which just works with value chains, it is suggested to work with more tradi­tionally oriented farm economics, which is built on classical economics of reckoning resource constraints and needs for reproduction and recycling. Modernized behavioral approaches emphasize self-sufficiency form the conceptual out­line. Though still trading occurs, linking production and consumption as real reproduction will take a modified standpoint stressing interactions in reproduction through valuing. Economics: New business models of global agriculture operate at a much larger scale than even commercially oriented family farms and draw on hierarchical labor management. Due to its allegedly superior access to technology and markets, many observers consider such “biological manufacturing” an appropriate model for developing country agriculture. At the symposium, we aim to address the economic and ecological sustainability and the social impacts of such business models. Technology: In spite of environmental degradation, competition for resources, increasing food demands, and social injustice the concept of sustainable production is unclear and has not been effectively put into practice. Future concepts of food and nutrition which are compatible with health, environment, econ­omy, and society - with a local and a global perspective may be developed with the support of a nutri­tion-ecological modeling technique, for example, NutriMod. Culture: Interventions to improve food and nutrition security aim to prevent malnutrition in all its forms. A failure to address gender may exert adverse effects on women and even intensify their workload. Once agriculture train­ings are offered a gender balance is achieved easier. A paradigm change in the division of labor between women and men at the domestic level may simultaneously and sustainably improve food production, processing, and preparation as well as care. Diet: Making food systems sustainable also means to include human health aspects because access to quality health care is a prerequisite to individuals’ ability to work. As only people in good health can consume, digest, and absorb food health is also a prerequisite to the physio­logical utilization of food. Safety challenges relate to plant food as well as animal-sourced food, and only safe food can serve the individual and the society in a sustainable way.

How did you hear about the Food System Vision Prize?

  • Website

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Team

Hi, Itika Gupta I am so happy going through your comments. Moreso, I want to thank you for the link. I will go to it immediately as I believe it will be of immerse help going forward.
For now, I believe that social and political benefits will depend on the ability of farmers to organize their food system territories into agroecology-enabling spaces. The building and protection of such spaces require agroecological actors to fight for the recognition of their rights to existence. Social movements and farmer groups do precisely this by attempting to create an enabling institutional environment and by challenging the current morale and neo-classical values. My food system vision is based on egalitarian relations to nature and others in the food system, and this requires and has a potential for fundamental transformational changes. If this vision is realized, smallholder farmers (Who are more in number) will have little or no undue influence from the conventional Agri-industrial food system. They will have a sense of empowerment and dignity, and their right to choose what to produce, how to produce, and how much to produce will be guaranteed.

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