The government should design a seed policy specific for smallholder farmers, says the ZIMSOFF farmers
- Published on Wednesday, 23 July 2014 17:31
(Zimbabwe, Harare, July 21, 2014) on the 3rd of June, ZIMSOFF invited various stakeholders working on seeds in Zimbabwe to learn more and share its concerns about the proposed regional seed laws. The stakeholders included the government officials, private seed companies, African Regional Intellectual Property Organisation (ARIPO), Seed Trade Association, Agricultural Research Council, Seed Services Zimbabwe, Civil Society and Ministry of Agriculture. The meeting stimulated an interesting debate among the farmers, presenters and other participants.
The farmers highlighted that the SADC and COMESA processes are closed systems with minimal participation of CSOs and smallholder farmers, and thus, most of their issues such as the protection of indigenous knowledge systems and farmers’ rights, and the adoption of agro-ecology to achieve food sovereignty, have not been included in national and regional policies which affect their livelihoods.
- Published on Wednesday, 23 July 2014 17:04
(Zimbabwe, Harare, July 18, 2014) ZIMSOFF organized a preparatory meeting on the 2nd of June to discuss the implications of the new regional seed policies, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), Southern African Development Community (SADC) and Africa Regional Intellectual Organisation (ARIPO) namely the seed policy harmonization and Plant Variety Protection (PVP), on the smallholder farmers in Zimbabwe. Sixteen ZIMSOFF Council members (who also are farmers) and representatives from the African Centre for Biosafety (ACB) and Third World network (TWN) participated in the discussions aimed at building the capacity of the smallholder farmers to understand and defend their seed rights nationally.
The proposed regional seed policies, if adopted, will negatively impact on indigenous seeds which ZIMSOFF and La via Campesina promote. The COMESA seed protocol will open national borders through easing market and regulatory requirements on registered commercial seeds; while the SADC and ARIPO will promote the “commercial breeders’ rights” through Plant Variety Protection based on “DUS” (Distinctiveness, Uniformity, Stability). In general, the former, will flood both the regional and local markets with hybrid and genetic modified (GM) seeds and thus push out traditional seeds, the latter, recognizes and promotes commercial breeders and criminalize traditional breeders, who are peasant farmers. The ZIMSOFF Chairperson and La Via Campesina General Coordinator, Elizabeth Mpofu, in her opening remarks, urged the farmers to take these new developments seriously and hold the government accountable.
- Published on Friday, 18 July 2014 15:16
La Via Campesina
International Peasant Movement
La Via Campesina International -representing around 200 million farmers from 73 different countries around the world- condemns the Israeli war on Gaza and the crimes against the Palestinians that violate the international and humanitarian laws.
Since July 7th 2014, 214 Palestinians were killed, including at least 164 civilians of whom44 were children and 29 women. 1,585 Palestinians were injured of whom 435 are children and 282 are women. 1,660 homes were destroyed or severely damaged in Gaza directly displacing 9,900 persons. 22,600 were displaced people hosted at UNRWA schools. 900,000 people are without water supply due to inability to repair and operate infrastructure.
- Published on Thursday, 17 July 2014 14:25
(Mozambique, Maputo, July 11, 2014) – the adoption of agroecological farming methods are there to stay among the farmers in Marracuene, south Mozambique. The farmers are members of Alfredo Nhamitete’s farming Association, which is part of the National Farmers Union (União Nacional de Camponeses — UNAC). This resolve resulted from a knowledge exchange visit between the local farmers and the visiting members of Zimbabwe’s Smallholder Organic Farmers Forum (ZIMSOFF) and La Via Campesina, on July 9.
The 280 association members produce different food crops such as yam, carrot, cabbage, onion, kale, beans, lettuce, eggplant, among others. Part of the produce is sold at the local market, and the earnings are equally shared among the members. “With that money I can send my children to school, and buy them school supplies”, said a woman farmer, and member of the association.