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What is agroecology and why does it need further investment?

The principles of agroecology are economic, political, environmental, and socio-cultural. But what exactly is agroecology? And what exactly does it have to do with us, at Nutcellars and our charity, Neno Macadamia Trust?

Put simply, agroecology is sustainable farming that works with nature, rather than against it. Maintaining harmony and balance between all elements of ecology from plants, animals, people, and the environment. 

There is no food sovereignty without agroecology. And certainly, agroecology will not last without a food sovereignty that backs it up.” Ibrahima Coulibaly

Agroecology shares many of the same principles as sustainable farming, which is why it’s so close to the heart of the Nutcellars brand which sources macadamia from farmers in Malawi. 

If you are a regular follower of this blog, you’ll know that we advocate sustainable ways of farming, eating and supporting the local farmers by developing climate smart macadamia agroforestry in Malawi. 

Agroecology is guided by the ethos of bio and cultural diversity featuring small farmer-centered applied research and policies that protect their livelihoods. It works to increase resilience through diversification of farm incomes and strengthening community autonomy. By promoting the growth and farming of macadamia nuts in Malawi, we can empower local farmers develop carbon damage mitigation as a new income stream and help strengthen local communities. 

The environment is also something that is of critical importance to us here at Nutcellars, and we hope that the work we do with farmers in Malawi will also help restore biodiversity and nourish soils, while enhancing the integration of various elements of agro-ecosystems. All of which are sole principles of agroecology. 

The case for further investment

Hilal Elver in her first public speech since her appointment to the United nations as the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food points out, “currently in the European Union about 80% of subsidies and 90% of research funding go to support conventional industrial agriculture.” The US subsidies and research funding are likely higher. This doesn’t make much sense seeing as the environment and climate are in crises. Further investment into the promotion of and empowerment of agroecology. Small farmers are the key to a healthier future, so why rely on corporate food systems to solve the problems of sustainable foods supply in the centuries to come.

Small farmers understand their land. They understand the biodiversity, and how to maintain the harmony between nourishing and sustaining the land, while maintaining a viable food supply. They have extensive knowledge and agroecological knowledge - these are the farmers of tomorrow.  By building on this knowledge we can build a sustainable food system based in agroecological principles. 

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