Even though ecological farming systems is not one of the SDGs goals, it can be an alternative towards achieving goal number 2 and 13 for the Sustainable Development Goals. Several initiatives have been put in place towards the realization of the goals and ecological farming cannot be left out. According to Farm Start, Ecological farming involves the use of cover crops, green manures, composting, mulching, crop rotation, no till cropping and the use of animal waste to maintain fertility.
Currently, with the continuous increase of the population, the demand for the environmental resources is increasing. This results in the declining of the ecosystem resources availability since it has reached a point where the humans demand more than what the ecosystem can give. According to Global Footprint Network, it is estimated that approximately every eight months, we demand more renewable resources and C02 sequestration than what the planet can provide for an entire year. ‘’It is now estimated that 86% of the world’s population live in countries that require more from nature than their ecosystems can provide’’ says Jodie Gummow, a senior fellow and staff writer at AlterNet. This therefore brings attention to policy makers and the stakeholders to come up with efforts towards sustaining the nature before it takes toll on us.
It is with this regard that sustainable farming practices such as ecological farming systems should be promoted through creating awareness and education especially in the sub Saharan region which have been ranked poorest by the Environmental Performance Index (EPI). According to the 2016 rankings, based at Yale University, at the World Economic Forum in Davos, European nations dominate the EPI’s top performers, while Sub-Saharan African countries are the poorest performers, occupying 16 of the bottom 20 positions, the reason being intensive industrial agriculture practices in sub-Saharan Africa.
What sub Saharan countries need to do is to emulate countries like Finland. Finland haswell-structured actionable goals and measurable indicators of sustainable development. The good news is that Sub-Saharan countries are now slowly transiting towards ecological farming which is a step towards sustainable development. However, most of the sub-Saharan countries still have a long way to shift from conventional farming to ecological farming. Most of the smallholder farmers are still stuck in conventional farming practices. This is evident from sentiments written in letter by Kenyan smallholder farmers addressing the local governments of Kenya and International Aid Donors in Kenya. It reads as follows“We, as farmers and consumers from around Kenya, call upon the Government of Kenya and International aid donors to listen to our demands, to move away from conventional agriculture and support ecological farming;”
Shifting to ecological farming is a step towards curbing the food insecurity menace which is the major worry in sub-Saharan countries. Currently, Kenya National Drought Management Authority CEO, James Oduor says that if the current interventions are not enhanced, then the coastal area, eastern and north eastern parts of Kenya can easily get into a crisis if the short rains do not begin on time.Sustainable measures such as ecological farming are the way to go. Increase productivity and equally build resilient towards the environment. An article by John Vidal, an environment editor at Guardian says that ecological farming systems are not only a recipe for sustainable food systems but can also pave way for diverse diets and improved health.Let’s embrace ecological farming. Its benefits cannot be overlooked.
BY MERCY ONYANGO A.
Msc Agriculture and Applied Economics