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A time of reflection, introspection and looking to the future…

Good people, the month of December is here with us; and true to nature’s predictable consistency…it is winter in some places, summer in other places,  winter throughout in some places and yet in some places, it is summer all year round…that is the seasonality and diversity of Mother Nature. What lessons does  Mother Nature continue to teach us? What did we share and learn in 2019?

Here below, in a nutshell, some evidence based lessons…

Finally, as we celebrate and make merry during this festive season, let us be mindful of what we eat (and drink!)…we need a paradigm shift from consuming food produced in “firms” for “Power, Politics and Trade(PPT) to, consuming food

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Damning evidence; the current industrial model has failed to achieve food and nutrition security: A clarion call for a paradigm shift to an agro-ecogical approach

Good people, the month of November is here. It is a time of retrospection and introspection. ..a key question on the minds of concerned food policy makers and policy advisors, across the world  is; “how well have we done in reducing hunger, malnutrition and achieving food and nutrition security?”

  • Some of us have had the privilege of attending and participating in the just concluded 2019 Committee on Food Security(CFS) http://www.fao.org/cfs/home/plenary/cfs46/en/ in FAO, Rome, Italy. The CFS is the apex food and nutrition making policy body, globally,  comes right after Civil Society Mechanism meeting(CSM) meeting, which highlighted the challenges and proposed policy solutions to the current failing industrial model food system. Find a link to one of the critical side events that highlighted the failures of the current food system and proposed alternative food policies which embrace agro-ecological approaches, using a systems approach: http://www.fao.org/cfs/home/plenary/cfs46/cfs46se/se054/vn/
  • Do we have evidence that the current food system has failed and that there is need to shift the policy paradigm to a sustainable food system?

YES, as outlined below and the crux of this article.

  • UNICEF’s latest report;The State of the World’s Children 2019: Children, food and nutrition: Growing well in a changing world<https://unicef.us2.list-manage.com/track/click?u=868bc193d9fcfe837d3fb7bc3&id=460dbea345&e=a08a75f4c0>, examines the issue of children, food and nutrition and provides a fresh perspective on this rapidly evolving challenge. Read the report here: https://unicef.us2.list-manage.com/track/click?u=868bc193d9fcfe837d3fb7bc3&id=aa094df503&e=a08a75f4c0>
  • Summary facts from the Unicef report that should worry us(the readers) include the following: 149 million children are stunted, or too short for their age; 50 million children are wasted or too thin for their height;340 million children – or 1 in 2 – suffer from deficiencies in essential vitamins and nutrients, such as vitamin A and iron; 40 million children are overweight or obese: At the centre of this profound triple burden of malnutrition – undernutrition, hidden hunger and overweight – is a broken food system that fails to provide children with the diets they need to grow healthily.
  • The above facts are further validated by the 2019, World Food Security and Nutrition Report: http://www.fao.org/3/ca5162en/ca5162en.pdf which provides similar factual statistics indicating increasing hunger(not reducing hunger!) and food insecurity which is an indictment of the failed current food system, propped up by deceptive misinformation rhetoric by Big Agric and Biotechnology claiming that use of more synthetic agrochemicals(including using more toxic pesticides!) and transgenic seeds, coupled with bio-fortification, as the  “solution to food security”. Nothing could be further from the truth. Some worrying findings from that report include:
  • Hunger is on the rise in almost all African subregions, making Africa the region with the highest prevalence of undernourishment, at almost 20 percent. Hunger is also slowly rising in Latin America and the Caribbean, although its prevalence is still below 7 percent. In Asia, Western Asia shows a continuous increase since 2010, with more than 12 percent of its population undernourished today.
  • Considering all people in the world affected by moderate levels of food insecurity together with those who suffer from hunger, it is estimated that over 2 billion people do not have regular access to safe, nutritious and sufficient food, including 8 percent of the population in Northern America and Europe
  • Overweight and obesity continue to increase in all regions, particularly among school-age children and adults. In 2018, an estimated 40 million children under five were overweight. In 2016, 131 million children 5–9 years old, 207 million adolescents and 2 billion adults were overweight. About a third of overweight adolescents and adults, and 44 percent of overweight children aged 5–9 were obese. The economic costs of malnutrition are staggering.
  • Let me add that, overweight and obesity are key risk factors for non-commmunicable diseases(NCDs)…NCDs are on the increase!

What is the way forward for food and nutrition policies to ensure sustainable food and nutrition security?

  • In theory, it is simple: A concerted and radical shift from conventional food and nutrition policies to agro-ecological and related food systems policies. This was reiterated and strongly argued, by the CSM, at the just concluded CSM/CFS meeting in FAO, Rome, Italy.
  • For those of us in Africa, we are meeting this week, in Addis Ababa, to deliberate on and articulate a “Road Map on Food and Nutrition Security Policies” for Africa, informed by the latest evidence on the state of food and nutrition situation in Africa and the need for proactive and responsive food and nutrition policies, anchored on agroecological food production systems, while leveraging a systems thinking approach.

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Is there evidence of a link between pesticide residues contamination of soil and water with the increasing rates of cancer?

The month of September is here and with it the Libras are in their element…doing a balancing act…and avoiding closed places…they need fresh air…

 There is palpable fear and consternation…people are asking what is causing this sudden increase in cancer deaths? The causes are multi-factorial and associated with long term exposure to a myriad of causative factors which include environmental toxins, in general and specifically, toxic agrochemicals; these include organochoride(OCP) and organophosphate pesticides(OPP).

 What is the way forward towards addressing this public health and environmental menace?

  • Firstly, we need to ensure that policy makers, the legislators and regulatory and enforcement agencies are made aware of these linkages and the dangers that toxic pesticides, especially those banned in countries where they are manufactured: These pose grave danger and harm to the health of our soils, plants, and the citizenry.
  • Secondly, leadership, at the highest political level, needs to make the connection between these harmful pesticides and their INCREASED use, in African countries, Kenya included. Use of these pesticides will increase if GMO seed technology is adopted. Towards that end, we applaud President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda for his decision to reject the GMO technology push and instead advise a precautionary approach which recognizes the inherent risks and dangers of these biotechnologies to our environment, including our soils and our health. As part of regional advocacy, find AFSA’s letter of appreciation on the same: http://www.pmldaily.com/oped/2019/09/afsa-open-letter-of-appreciation-to-president-of-the-republic-of-uganda.html
  • As world citizens, who care for the future of humanity and the environment and who subscribe to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals(SDGs), we are obligated to continue with evidence based advocacy to create awareness among the policymakers and other stakeholders, including consumers, on the inherent dangers of reckless and increased use of these toxic agrochemicals and their links to increasing cancers.
  • Here is a link to concerned farmers demanding that some of these toxic pesticides, like glyphosate aka Roundup, be banned: https://www.nation.co.ke/counties/nakuru/Firm-wants-herbicide-linked-to-cancer-banned/1183314-5230224-v7bo9/index.html

And finally, here is a link to on-going efforts being made by the author of this article to ‘add his voice” to the advocacy agenda for a safer and healthier world for all,…”leaving no one behind”. http://epaper.peopledaily.co.ke/html5/reader/production/default.aspx?pubname=&pubid=2d11dca3-13c2-4add-9dc1-cee781ba2925

Is there evidence of local and international success stories in policy advocacy towards removing toxic pesticides from our food system?

The month of October is here with us and with it a time of reflection and introspection..a time to take stock of some key policy advocacy wins….evidence of gradual policy shifts towards agro-ecology as a sustainable food system which is the pathway to food security and nutrition.

In view of the increasing evidence on failure of the current food system, what is the way forward?

  • There is need for urgent global and local food policy shifts to remove these toxic agrochemicals, especially pesticides, out of our food systems by banning them and shifting to safer and more sustainable agro-ecological food systems as pathways to achieve food security and nutrition.
  • Need for concerted evidence based policy advocacy towards food sovereignty. https://www.globaljustice.org.uk/what-food-sovereignty

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Are Wi-Fis, Mobile Phones and Microwave radiation risk factors for cancers?

The month of August is here!

Just returned from lush green, rainy and pristine rural Ethiopia where we - the Kenyan team - joined a regional team of passionate agro-ecological practitioners whose mandate is to build capacity for farmers, in mountainous and rural areas, to embrace safer organic farming practices, as part of Nutrition Sensitive Agriculture(NSA).

  • One may ask what does WiFi, mobile phones and microwave radiation have to do with organic agriculture and cancer? Everything, I would say…and here is why.
  • At the local scene, there are increasing cases of cancers, with breast cancer leading in “morbidity”- number of cases, while colon cancer is the leading in “mortality”- that is, it results in most deaths. This has been brought to the public limelight from cancer deaths of prominent personalities in Kenya. Here: https://www.nation.co.ke/news/Personalities-cancer-has-snatched-away/1056-5215524-syrmdb/index.html
  • Against the above background, there is renewed interest in identifying the unknown or less known potential risk factors that, collectively, may be contributing to the increasing cases of cancer. Recent evidence demonstrates that electromagnetic fields/frequencies may have a cumulative cancer causing effect; Here is recent evidence, albeit controversial. https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=15&v=d9B688uSaTs
  • From a public health and epidemiological point of view, this evidence is adequate to necessitate the application of the precautionary principle, on safety. The increasing deployment of the 5 Generation phones(5G) is especially worrying from a safety point of view. https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=15&v=d9B688uSaTs
  • Is there any evidence that microwaves may damage food and by extension damage human health? Yes. There is an increasing body of knowledge that microwaves are harmful: https://www.naturalhealth365.com/microwaves-emf-pollution-2829.html
  • What is the link between electromagnetic radiation, radio frequencies and use of microwaves in heating, thawing or warming food? Here are 10 reasons why one should avoid using microwaves, including their increased risk factor, for abnormal atomic and molecular vibration causing aberrations and new “unnatural” products that may trigger cancer. https://www.health-science.com/microwave-hazards/
  • Listen to this expert, Dr. Barnie Trower, now retired, who was part of the initial microwave experimentation. He warns against use of microwaves, especially around schools and children. https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=740&v=z99_SzoXZdY
  • Is there more evidence that microwaves can cause health damage and therefore constitute a food safety concern? Here is more evidence: https://www.naturalhealth365.com/microwaves-emf-pollution-2829.html
  • Evidence that microwaving or pan frying meat may create nitrodiethanolamines and other carcinogenic nitrosamines, which are confirmed carcinogens. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4472216/

What is the way forward?

  • There is need to reduce the multifactorial risk factors which are associated with non-communicable diseases (NCDs) including cancers. This can be achieved by reducing exposure to environmental toxins, including all forms of electromagnetic fields.
  • These environmental toxins include; heavy metals, synthetic agrochemical residues, bisphenol A, aflatoxin and carcinogenic additives used in industrial food processing.
  • Make an informed choice to “microwave” food or not before it is consumed.
  • Finally, promote agroecological organic principles and practices, in farming and food consumption, to reduce exposure to agrochemical toxins, on the one hand and on the other hand discourage the use of microwaves. Using meat as an example, meat heated in a microwave may generate carcinogens, including nitrosamines: These toxins may denature the food or result in release of toxic products, like nitrodiethanolamine, a known carcinogen! https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4472216/

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Going Organic in East Africa

What's causing cancer?

organic farmers
 

Organic Farmers

This is just a few names and contacts of organic farmers who work closely with OCA.

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Organic Markets

The retailers buy thei food from the organic farmers and sell them at various organic

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Restaurants

OCA works closely and directs traffic to the only organic restaurant in Nairobi so far.

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Processors

OCA closely works with one processor whose products are certified organic.

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About Us

Organic Consumers Alliance (OCA) focuses on promoting and creating awareness on

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ICIPE Complex, Kasarani Road

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Contact Us

P.O. Box 2398-00200
Nairobi, Kenya
Tel: +254 20 2610863
Cell: +254 722 435 758
Email: info@organicconsumers.co.ke