EuropAfrica – towards food sovereignty

EuropAfrica – towards food sovereignty is a campaign to create a network linking peasant platforms in Central, Eastern and Western Africa  (ROPPAPROPACEAFF) with European civil society, represented by a variety of NGOs (Terra Nuova – project leader, Centro Internazionale CroceviaCollectif Stratégies Alimentaires,VredeseilandenPractical ActionGlopolis). The aim of the campaign is to support the journey to food sovereignty in Africa and Europe, enabling African peasant organisations to have their voices heard and play a significant political role on the issues that affect them. Furthermore, EuropAfrica wishes to be a bridge that will foster exchange and shared reflections between African rural organisations and European civil society on those problems and opportunities that are of interest to both geographical areas.

The creation of EuropAfrica

The EuropAfrica campaign, coordinated by Terra Nuova and by the Centro Internazionale Crocevia, was launched in 2005 thanks to a partnership between ROPPA (a platform of West African peasant organisations and farmers), Belgian NGO CSA (Collectif Stratégies Alimentaires) and Terre Contadine-ItaliAfrica (a network of agricultural organisations and Italian civil society), which was later extended to include Vredeiselanden in Belgium, Glopolis in the Czech Republic, Practical Action in the UK, EAFF – Federation of East African Peasant Organisations – and, lastly, PROPAC, the regional platform for Central African peasant organisations).

Towards a new phase: crises as opportunities to rethink an unsustainable model

The crises in food prices, energy and the environment have underscored the limitations of the dominant model of agricultural production, governed as it is by multinational industrial agriculture. New reflections on the intrinsic value of agriculture as a solution to hunger and poverty have started to become accepted, and new forms of participation have emerged on issues such as the right to food. New models of alternative, horizontal production and consumption have been put forward. Agriculture, which has been thrust back to the top of the International Development agenda for Africa, has been the focus of many global fora: from the G20 to the WTO Doha Round to the World Development Report in 2008. Meanwhile, Europe has reasserted its support for development with a new 'policy framework' for food security. However, too often this is in contrast to its trade, energy and agriculture policies.

EuropAfrica today – a new opportunity for participation.

This is the context in which the new dimension of EuropAfrica is being developed, focused on monitoring European and global policies that have a direct or indirect impact on food security in Africa.

Often, European economic measures cancel out the results achieved in its commitment to development, with the risk of perpetuating poverty. It is fundamental to conceive of a new kind of agriculture, that is sustainable and free from financial or commercial considerations. What would this model of agriculture look like? And who would benefit from the funds that would build it? One possible response is provided by agro-ecology and the active participation of small scale farmers in global fora, through representative organisations that can present their questions and proposals. This is exactly what took place in 2010 with the reform of the CFS – Committee on Food Security – that became a sort of open, inclusive forum.