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16.02.2010 16:13 by Jose Luis Gutierrez Aranda (comments: 82)

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Comment by Anne Rutter | 20.05.2011

The little booklet for workers in health centres in Africa is well worth a read! A interesting source of information for everyone.

Comment by Dave Wood | 13.03.2012

A comment on "The IAASTD Reports: A holistic approach to food and nutrition security" Hans R Herren - IAASTD

Dr Herren, on the basis of the IAASTD reports, recommends agroecology for Africa.

A major problem in applying the results of the IAASTD process to Africa is the differences between the regional recommendations as published. The IAASTD recommendation for agroecology was predominantly for Latin America and decidedly not for Africa.

The figures are stark: a search for the occurrence of the words ‘agroecology’ and ‘agroecological’ in the text of the five IAASTD sub-Global reports produced interesting results. (In each case the combination ‘agroecological zone’ was not counted, as this is not the meaning of ‘agroecological’ in the IAASTD recommendations, but of former, widespread and non-controversial meaning).

The results are, for Sub-Saharan Africa, 2 mentions of `agroecology; Central and West Asia and North Africa, 2; North America and Europe, 2; East and South Asia and the Pacific, 8; Latin America and the Caribbean, 151; and the final IAASTD Synthesis Report 22 mentions.

Given this overwhelming focus on agroecology in the IAASTD Latin American and Caribbean Report, we should ask why. When we look at the authors, reviewers and peer reviewers of the Latin American report we find mainly North American academics: Perfecto and Vandermeer of the University of Michigan, Scherr of Ecoagriculture Partners, Washington, D.C. and, predominantly, Altieri of the University of California, Berkeley (Dr Herren himself works out of Washington, D.C.).

Agroecology as promoted by North Amercan based scientists may or may not be relevant to Latin America. It is certainly not relevant to Africa.

We can only conclude that the authors of the Sub-Saharan Africa report did not accept `agroecology' as the way forward. Further, we can question whether Herren should apply results from the IAASTD Latin America report to to Africa.

I have worked in agriculture for 7 years in Africa and 8 years in Latin America and the Caribbean: in many ways their agricultures are fundamentally different: no broad-brush generalization is possible.

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