The United Nations defined sustainability as meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. So, adopting sustainable practices should translate into protecting the environment, shared prosperity for the people and economic growth of the nation. It should also address how people manage shocks and build resilience within the ecosystem, so that their future needs are also met.

However, to implement sustainable practices, all value chain actors need to have the required knowledge, technical know-how, access to appropriate infrastructure that support them throughout the process. Also, there is a need to build a framework or blueprint in the sector for stakeholders to plug in easily. Sadly, this framework is either non-existent or doesn't fit into our current reality. So, many value chain actors need to develop their own framework and system to work with from scratch (sometimes, with trial and error approach), which increases their cost of operations and discourages many of these actors.

Also, there is still very low awareness and demand for sustainably sourced products within the local markets. Farmers and other value chain actors who are committed to sustainable production and sourcing are not incentivized, and sadly bear the cost alone. As a consequence, they are unable to sustain their business operations due to high overhead costs, leading to discouragement.

Therefore, it is important for all stakeholders to know that adopting sustainable practices comes with a cost, which must be shared across the board, that is, from the farmers to the final consumers, including the government. It should be a shared responsibility amongst all the stakeholders to ensure that sustainable practices become the norm within our ecosystem. There cannot be a future without healthy people, healthy environment and shared prosperity. This can only be achieved when all stakeholders share a common goal and are committed to sustainability.

We are here today because of the commitment of the past, but what are we going to leave behind for the future generations?


Babatunde Olarewaju