Jeremy’s latest newsletter expounds eruditely on, among other things, some recent articles on durian, Australian grasses and a heirloom pepper that we Nibbled here way too briefly. Always worth a read. Jeremy also gave me the go-ahead to reproduce here his piece on coping with Covid-19 in Kenya, which reminded me, as if I needed reminding, of what my assorted nephews and nieces are going through. Not to mention the mother-in-law. Here it is.
Deep insights from Oyunga Pala, a Kenyan currently in the Netherlands, prompted by how Covid is encouraging many Kenyans to return from the cities to small rural land holdings where they hope to create a basis for food security. Pala contrasts what he knows of small-scale agriculture in Kenya with what he is learning and what he sees all around him in the Netherlands.
Small-scale farming in Kenya accounts for 75 per cent of the total agricultural output and meets 70 per cent of the national food demand, so I know I am part of an important constituency. The challenge of my generation, those with access to land under 3 ha in size, is to craft a new farming philosophy that is built on progressive ideas through investigation, dialogue and exposure to alternative sources of knowledge grounded in the African experience. We need more philosophers and fewer technical experts to redefine what we call sustainable farming. Africa’s own knowledge systems and philosophy in agriculture are held in the memory of a generation that is dying out and dismissed as backward. Yet my grandmother’s practices resonate with those of emerging natural farming systems around the world that espouse new ideas grounded in the environmental, social and historical realities of the non-western world.
Seems to me to echo what other people are saying about AGRA, the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa.
Well worth your time, as are the articles Pala links to. I know nothing about Elephant, the online publication, but it looks like a good source of interesting news.