Monday, 30 December 2013

Celebrating the Year of Agriculture and the Year Family Farming the BAREFOOT Way!!!

Volume 1, Post 1
"Qouted from Prof Mandi Rukuni"

As we are knocking on the door of 2014 which will be the Year of Family Farming at the FAO and the Year of Agriculture and Nutrition/Food Security at the Africa Union, I have decided to dedicate this blog to celebrating Agriculture. By the way, I have also changed the sub-domain name of the blog from to, "so don't get lost". This post also unveils the first Post, under the title of "The Barefoot E-ssue Vol. 1." So let's enjoy the ride and see how far we go with this Volume.

Specifically, as we discuss and deliberate on agricultural issues on this e-ssue, it is my hope that we will in 2014, bring to light the type of agriculture that will create a pathway out of poverty for hundreds of millions of Africans.

After learning of so many farming and agriculture models as a young African student; I have received, during my time working with the Barefoot Education for Afrika Trust (BEAT),  additional education on an "alternative" farming model. This model is actually more than just a farming model but rather a "renaissance of an Afrikan lifestyle". Yep, I’m talking about “Barefoot Agriculture”.

(Without really seeing the expressions on the many people reading this post right now, I know that this kind of a "farming model" will likely be received with some grumbling and a little bit of resentment.) I mean, "who in this day and age of shoes with different styles and sizes would be still interested in doing anything "barefoot"???!!!. :))

BUT... Hold your horses and don’t fire! (as yet). 

Let me explain... When I say “Barefoot Agriculture”, I do not imply or advocate for stagnating progression of farming and entrenching rural people in poverty and an underdeveloped or less mechanized subsistence-oriented farming; certainly not. I will discuss in subsequent posts in this e-ssue how I strongly believe that technology, urbanization and modernization all form a central part of the future of Barefoot Agriculture.

I believe (and these are my thoughts, no theory from a Professor, or what, But just basically how I have understood these issues during my junior career):
"By 'Barefoot Agriculture', we envision  an 'open' agriculture with equal opportunities. An Agriculture that appreciates grass roots knowledge and wisdom and embraces co-creation rather than imposition. 
Barefoot Agriculture seeks to further open up the markets of technology, knowledge and even products which allows each people and culture to identify their niche in the current complexity of global challenges and how each culture and people can supply and uniquely contribute to a better and more food secure world. 
A Picture a relative's family farm in the area of Ruwa, Zimbabwe.
As you can see family farms are transforming rapidly in Zimbabwe,
a high level of resilience and entrepreneurship is being exhibited as family
farmers start thinking "beyond grain", diversifying into ventures like
horticulture.They ingenuously find ways of getting the right technologies
to compete in supplying growing and diverse
rural and urban markets, and it works!!!
Barefoot Agriculture removes the psychological barriers that have hindered the success of many African countries in solving even their own problems. In essence Barefoot Agriculture is about opening up the markets "psychologically" rather than in conventional trade theory terms. Practically, the ground we can never level the ground, but we can raise the level at which we Africans view ourselves in a competitive world. 
Barefoot Agriculture restores the confidence of African agriculture and food brands while appreciating the need for Africans to “up the game” and meet the standards of competing in an aggressive global market.
Barefoot Agriculture allows Africans to change from just “adjusting to become faithful servants and followers in the agri-food markets” to “adapting to compete threatening rivals in agri-food markets”
I believe that as we celebrate the 2014 Year of Agriculture and the Year of Family Farming; it is time that we as Africans call for aggressiveness towards agricultural development. Where we are willing to stand the heat without losing, but rather, making the most of our uniqueness. Like my good old Professor, Mandi Rukuni says:

“Modernize, Don’t Westernize or Easternize African Agriculture” 


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