- Published on Friday, 01 July 2016 18:01
First published: Farming Matters | 32.2 | June 2016
Demand for foods based on traditional crops, with a clear link to local culture, is increasing in Zimbabwe. With this, Elizabeth Mpofu’s message is clear: policy needs to protect traditional crops and varieties, rather than introduce costly new ones, which require agrochemicals that damage nature and our health.
In the whole of Africa and especially in my country, Zimbabwe, our elders cultivated crops not just for the sake of growing food but also for many other purposes, including for health, their relationship with nature, and their cultural and spiritual practices that are important to identity and belonging. Moreover, after many decades of unsuccessful experience with the green revolution, we have seen that traditional crops are easier to grow. Thus, where l come from, many smallholder farmers are now abandoning hybrid crops grown with a lot of fertilizers and other chemicals, and are replacing them with a wide variety of traditional ones.
- Published on Thursday, 26 May 2016 16:18
(Harare, May 10, 2016) Over the years, Zimbabwe Small Holder Organic Farmers' Forum (ZIMSOFF) has been campaigning against proposed seed laws that are designed to criminalise farmer-saved seed production and exchange. These laws are pushed through economic and political blocs. Blocs initially designed with good intent but are being used to push through unbeneficial schemes by a few but powerful member countries to as many countries as possible, bypassing individual nation legal processes.
Recently such is the case with the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) in relation to seeds. The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) seek to ease the distribution of commercial registered seeds among member countries, and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to enforce the Plant Variety Protection (PVP) under conditions of UPOV1 1991.
Such measures adversely affect the “informal seed systems” – a traditional system where farmers are the keepers and savers of seeds. Over 80% of all seeds in Africa is still produced and exchanged through these “informal” traditional systems.
- Published on Wednesday, 25 May 2016 17:26
At a time where seed markets are dominated by large corporations, it is essential to focus on local peasant seed production. In the seeds sector hybrids are becoming the norm and we face an increased effort to declare genetically modified plants as safe, or to give the impression, with the help of “new breeding techniques”, that we are not talking about genetic engineering at all. Against these developments it is necessary to find possibilities to maintain and increase a peasant seed supply that is locally adapted. Extreme weather due to climate change, such as long lasting droughts, increase the need for locally adapted seeds that can react flexibly in uncertain conditions. Every farmer should have the possibility of a self-determined use of such seeds. Frequently though, the required varieties for the certain location of a farm are not bred, or are not permitted for sale. This is also due to the seeds legislation that contributes to a restriction of available seeds on the market.
- Published on Wednesday, 18 May 2016 15:00
May 16, 2016
This year's international March Against Monsanto falls on Saturday, 21st March, 2016.
Food Sovereignty Ghana and March Against Monsanto - Accra, have the pleasure to invite you to a silent march through some of the principal streets of Accra to highlight our desire for public awareness and participation in decisions regarding biotechnology in agriculture.
We believe that such decisions must not be left in the hands of multi-national corporations and their diplomatic enablers using their GMOs, pesticides, herbicides, and seed monopoly lobby to influence the outcome of government policy.
We shall be assembling in front of TV3 at 7.30 am.