Blog/Opinion

Learning Food Sustainability: Blog Post from Environmental Activist Oladosu Adenike

Authors:
Oladosu Adenike
Saede Eifrig
Contributor:
  • SDG 2 - Zero Hunger
  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-Being
  • SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy
  • SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action

The goal of this blog article is to spark questions, conversations, and inspiration for youth on climate change, sustainable agriculture, and intersectional environmentalism. We urge you to follow Nigerian youth activist Oladosu Adenike’s lead and engage in your own research, discussions, and environmental activism, using this page as a platform. 

Oladosu Adenike found the time to answer a few questions about her work within economics and prioritizing sustainability, how youth can become activists for sustainability and the climate, and the impacts of climate change and COVID-19 on food security. Below her article, you will find links to further resources as a guide to learning more about environmental activism and sustainable food practices, including during COVID-19.

Who is Oladosu Adenike?

Oladosu Adenike is a first class graduate in agriultural economics, an eco-feminist, climate justice activist recognized by Amnesty International Nigeria, an awardee, advocating for green democracy and climate governance. She is an African Youth Voice: campaigning for the recharging of Lake Chad and a green recovery post COVID-19 and a freelance journalist focusing on women in conflict zones, climate change and national security. Adenike is a leading youth climate activist whose writing has been featured on ReachNotPreach (a site initiated by UN Youth Envoy), Planet Shine (on the intersection between climate change and gender based violence), and on her own blog: Women and Crisis. She is the founder of I Lead Climate and African Youth Climate Hub Ambassador.

 

COULD YOU BRIEFLY DESCRIBE YOUR AREA OF WORK OR RESEARCH? HOW DOES IT ENGAGE WITH SUSTAINABLE FOOD PRACTICES AND FOOD SUPPLY?

From my research while an undergraduate student on the evaluation of loan accessibility for livestock production finds out that, the category of people in need of loan or grant are not always at the receiving end. They are screened out due to the collateral. This hinders productivity and sustainable practice as a result they seek alternative that will directly affect the environment. For instance, rather than using tractor to level the remains of crops in the farm in preparation for planting season, they set the farm ablaze* resulting to not only low productivity but also kills pathogen that are required for soil fertility. In furtherance to the research I conducted to find out the amount applied to be loaned including the actual amount given by the institution that supports such accessibility: the result shows that majority of the amount of loan applied are not given rather they are either granted half of the money or two third of the amount and are mostly from cooperative society. Thus, as an economist, I know that World Bank is a finance institution that plays such role through Bank of Commerce, Bank of Industry, and Bank of Agriculture among others. If the amount loaned to the farmers differs from the actual amount needed, the preference list changed to the utility that will generate more productivity which is the feeds, fertilizer, chemicals and seed. 

First, the attitude of poultry farmers towards the loan acquisition could be a big deal. It is either there is fear of loss when it is borrowed, time frame of loan repayment is short, inability to pay back or not interested in borrowing of loan due to the risk factors calculated. Notwithstanding, the problems faced by livestock farmers in accessing the loan ranges from lack of education, they aren’t influential farmers, unable to meet up with the loan requirements, high interest loan, long procedures in acquiring of loan, most institution do not follow the rule of first to apply and inability to pay back the loan when due. These problems divert opportunities needed on sustainable solutions and one of the solutions is to create rural banks that will support the indigenous knowledge of farmers for sustainable food practice. 

...[O]ne of the solutions is to create rural banks that will support the indigenous knowledge of farmers for sustainable food practice.

 

From my findings, the financial bank available can mostly be accessed by influential farmers; there is a high competition that results to rural farmers being left behind. About 60% of employments in Africa are derived from agriculture and bulk of the food production lies in rural communities. The chain of food supply gets distorted when processing facility and equipment needed to pass through the supply food chain are not available. 

The alarming rate of green house gas generated from the agricultural sector** should be the terms and conditions towards grants and loan in such that they will provide ways to beat pollution at all cost; that should be the prioritized form of collateral to loan. From my analyses, I find out that majority of the small and medium scale farmers have one thing in common; they practice mixed farming*** that is in the poultry farm, there are crop farms. This pattern builds sustainable practice in such a way that waste in one farm becomes resource to another farm. 

The alarming rate of green house gas generated from the agricultural sector should be the terms and conditions towards grants and loan in such that they will provide ways to beat pollution at all cost; that should be the prioritized form of collateral to loan.

Through this means, emissions are beaten down because it is an enclosed system that supports bioeconomy: are the production, utilization and conservation of biological resources, including related knowledge, science, technology, and innovation, to provide information, product, process and services across all economic sectors aiming toward a sustainable economy. This form of economy system was adopted at the 2018 Global Bioeconomy Summit.

 

HOW CAN YOUTH GET MORE INVOLVED WITH SUSTAINABILITY IN THEIR LOCAL & GLOBAL COMMUNITIES?

Sustainability practice should be an attitude not a just a practice because the attitude will serve as a guide for further sustainable development. The work of an agricultural extension is to be a medium for transfer of knowledge to rural farmers that are lacking behind on latest information. Ignorance of knowledge can affect productivities and expansivity. These extension workers serve as middlemen between government and communities to avoid knowledge offset. 

Sustainability practice should be an attitude not just a practice because the attitude will serve as a guide for further sustainable development.

It is a great deal to have an indigenous knowledge which is laudable and sustainable but it is another deal to keep building on it. Since the ratio of one agricultural extension worker to farmers is usually high that is 1 to ratio 400 in some cases resulting to lack of efficiency in reaching out to the farmers. However, as a youth activist we are also a change agent. Being a change agent cuts across various aspects in the economy. It is expected that youth activists see themselves as an extension workers that should take climate action to grassroots. Action must start from communities for effectiveness and sustainability.

However, as a youth activist we are also a change agent. Being a change agent cuts across various aspects in the economy. 

 

WHAT LESSONS HAVE EMERGED FROM ADJUSTMENTS MADE TO MITIGATE FOOD INSECURITY DURING THE COVID-19 CRISIS?

The fact is that, agricultural sector is not yet prioritized. We are only viewing it in one way rather than several ways. It is seen as an income generation that will boost the economy resulting to an added value to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). We need to also consider the enabling environmental condition that will drive food security. At the time when most countries had a total lockdown imposed, agricultural sector is parts of the sectors that was affected adversely. It is either they are not allowed to go to farm for some farmers that have no farmstead or restrict movement of goods and service. At the time of the lockdown, markets were shut down leading to increase in price of goods and services from scarcity of crops. These are lapse that needs adjustment in term of prioritizing agriculture.

We need to also consider the enabling environmental condition that will drive food security.

To read more about Adenike’s climate activism, insight, and research, check out the following links to her articles, interviews, and blog. Her “Women and Crisis” blog is updated regularly and offers an ecofeminist and intersectional lens to current issues and crises, including how to pursue sustainable development goals and a green recovery post COVID-19 and the connection between climate change and conflict. In addition, find below a few resources to explain some concepts Adenike writes about in her article. 

 

Links to Oladosu Adenike’s Work:

“Reach not Preach” article: https://www.reachnotpreach.com/post/time-for-green-recovery-youth-led-action-by-oladosu-adenike

 

Planet Shine: “Lessons from Lockdown, SHINEfest ” interview with Oladosu Adenike: https://planetshine.com/speakers/oladosu-adenike/?s=nigeria

Podcast available on most podcast platforms: “Lessons from Lockdown, SHINEfest” 

(Episode 02)  https://www.buzzsprout.com/1137830/4041437-02-oladosu-adenike-ecofeminist-and-climate-justice-activist

 

“Women and Crisis” blog: http://womenandcrisis.blogspot.com/

 

Additional Resources: (*)

  1. *“Open Agricultural Burning”: Learn how open agricultural burning techniques have dangerous long-term consequences. And, read about how the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC), part of the UN Environment Programme, supports “no-burn” initiatives. https://www.ccacoalition.org/en/activity/open-agricultural-burning

  2. **“Five Indigenous Farming Practices Enhancing Food Security”: Mixed-/Inter-cropping practices are only one of the ways in which farmers can learn from indigenous farming practices to build sustainable and resilient agriculture and improve food security. https://www.resilience.org/stories/2017-08-14/five-indigenous-farming-practices-enhancing-food-security/#:~:text=Mixed%20cropping%2C%20also%20known%20as,associated%20with%20single%20crop%20failure.

  3. ***“Food production is responsible for one-quarter of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions”: How does food production compare to total greenhouse gas emissions (GHG)? What is the breakdown of GHG in the food industry? Find out here: https://ourworldindata.org/food-ghg-emissions

 

Oladosu Adenike:

She is a first class graduate in agriultural economics, an eco-feminist, climate justice activist recognized by Amnesty International Nigeria, an awardee, advocating for green democracy and climate governance. She is the founder of I Lead Climate and African Youth Climate Hub Ambassador.

For more information about Adenike, see her Wikipedia page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adenike_Oladosu.

***

“Learning Food Sustainability” is a six-part series that focuses on food sustainability through the voices of youth and environmental activists from the United States, France, and Nigeria. The posts include interviews, blog posts, infographics, and resource lists that offer readers a platform for conversations on just and sustainable food practices. The series was edited and curated by Haverford College students Saede Eifrig, Nicole Haas-Loomis, and Mia Reyes as part of the 2020 summer UNICEF Youth Researcher Program.

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