CARITAS Zambia has appealed to the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry to patent local foods like Chikanda and Chibwantu to benefit local people.
Caritas Zambia executive director Eugene Kabilika says food sovereignty is the solution to food security.
In a presentation at the 2nd National Food and Seed Festival in Lusaka, Kabilika said just as multinational companies have patented their productions like seeds and plants, the Government of the Republic of Zambia through the relevant ministry should also patent local foods that are now being produced at commercial level.
Kabilika cited Chikanda and Chibwantu as some of the foods that should be patented so as to benefit royal establishments.
He said the royalties could help improve the lives of the local people.
Meanwhile, Kabilika said the global shocks being experiencing today highlights the urgent need to support agro-ecology.
Agro-ecology is a people centric system of sustainable agriculture and social justice movements driven by local farmers and other food producers to maintain power over their local food systems, protecting their livelihoods and communities, and defending every right to nutritious and diverse food.
“Climate change, economic downturn and widespread disease threaten African food systems. However, agroecology enables food producers to develop sustainable farms, bustling local markets, and small innovative enterprises that bring security, resilience and prosperity to African livelihoods in the face of global or regional shocks,” Kabilika said.
He said agro-ecology was the stronger economic and ecological alternative to the failing industrial agricultural system.
“Food sovereignty is the solution to food security. Agro ecological systems can sustainably feed more Zambians than industrial agriculture by keeping power over [local people’s] seeds, markets, diets and profits in the hands of the local community,” he said.
Kabilika further said agro-ecology protected health, safeguards public health by providing nutritious foods to communities and rejecting toxic pesticides and fertilisers that poison farmers, agriculture workers and consumers.
He noted that agro-ecology protected bio-diversity on farm ecosystems and localising sustainable food systems.
Kabilika said agro-ecology defended Africa and the world from future outbreaks and pandemics spurred by human development of forests, industrial animal agriculture and wildlife trafficking.