In Africa, small scale farmers and family farming are still the basis of food production, ensuring a diverse diet for millions of people and sustaining biodiversity. Seed is seen here as a right, a common heritage, a means of cultural expression and a collective resource for the continuation of life. Seed is selected, developed and nurtured by farmers and it is imperative that it remains in their control. However, the marketable side of seed is seen by corporates as a way to make quick profits. They’ve been pushing the production of seed regulation in African countries, both at a regional level and now at a continental level.
Supported by the clear objectives of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Agriculture and Food (ITPGRFA), and the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Peasants (UNDROP), African Farmer Managed Seed Systems (FMSS) are increasingly being recognised, valued and brought into policy discussions. In this panel discussion, AFSA members will share the threats of current seed policies, how farmers’ rights are being implemented using international instruments, and alternative seed laws to strengthen biodiversity and farmers’ rights.