From 18-27 January 2015 COPAC and Mopani Farmers Union co-hosted an Agroecology Train the Trainers School, in order to build agroecology training capacity in the South African Food Sovereignty Campaign. The school took place in Dzumeria Area, Mopani District, Limpopo. Training was conducted by Mopani Farmers union and Itereleng Development and Educational Project Trust.
The necessity of the urgent need to shift our agricultural systems towards low impact and climate resilient agroecological methods was made clear by the context in which the school took place: drought ravaged Limpopo Province. Activists saw dry river bed after dry river bed, starving livestock, uncultivated fields, small farmers simply not producing because they do not have water, some farmers still managing to produce but a fraction of usual production, small scale hawkers not selling anymore because they have no produce to sell because the small farmers are not producing, farmers’ equipment being repossessed, and overall increased hardship. And conspicuously absent state support during this drought.
As we observe and realise more and more that the climate crisis is deepening, that industrial agriculture is a key cause, and that the impacts of climate change are and will be severely felt in food production, we are increasingly recognising the need to drastically shift our food production systems away from industrial techniques, towards localised agroecological production. We also need to build resilience in agricultural systems to withstand the inevitable shocks of climate change, so that communities can continue to produce food and feed themselves in ecologically and socially sound ways.
It is for this reason that COPAC and DAFA hosted an agroecology school, in an attempt to advance a just and sustainable food system grounded in food sovereignty, in which agrecology is promoted as a key method of production.