African Countries

African Countries

Against the odds, smallholder farmers maintain agricultural biodiversity in South Africa

This report is a result of research conducted in partnership with Tshintsha Amakhaya, Farmer Support Group, TCOE Zingisa and Surplus People Project. The report investigates the state of farmer-managed seed systems in rural South Africa.

Through 3 case studies in Eastern Cape, Northern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal, the report highlights both the fragility and perseverance of smallholder farmers, who continue to maintain agricultural biodiversity and traditional knowledge, in the face of increasing pressure from all sides. Smallholder farmers are finding it increasingly difficult to make end meet in an agricultural sector dominated by large-scale commercial production and corporate value chains.

Multinational corporations dominate seed provision in South Africa, further driving a commercial and industrial Green Revolution agenda. Farmer-managed seed systems, and the diversity of crops and diets that rely on them, are marginalised and neglected in the process.
The research is one step in highlighting the threats and opportunities facing smallholders and biodiversity in an increasingly harsh production environment. ACB will continue working with our partners and smallholder farmers to support and promote sustainable farming practices and farmer-managed seed systems as part of our broader objectives to transform seed and food systems in South Africa.

Download full report in PDF format

Standing up for farmer-saved seeds, agrobiodiversity and seed sovereignty! ACB commenting on revised seed laws in South Africa

ACB submitted comments on the Plant Breeders’ Rights and Plant Improvement Bills, to the Select Committee on Land and Mineral Resources on the 24th January 2017.

These bills restrict the saving, trading, exchanging, and sale of seed. This can have massive ramifications on seed and food sovereignty, agricultural biodiversity, access to diverse seed, and increasing the disparities and inequalities in South African agriculture, food and nutrition.

ACB will continue to engage in this process to ensure that South African seed laws take into account farmer-managed seed systems, agrobiodiversity, and maintain farmer’s rights to save, reuse, exchange, and sell seed.

We invite interested parties to join this conversation, to fight for our right to seed.

 

Download the ACB Comments on the PBR Bill in pdf

Download the ACB Comments on the PIA Bill in pdf

Hands OFF Our Food Systems! Small Farmers NOT Corporates Feed Africa

Who will feed Africans: Small-scale farmers not corporations!

This lobby paper Who will feed Africans: Small-scale farmers not corporations! produced by the partnership between FoEA and ACB, makes the compelling case for African agriculture to transition towards agroecology and food sovereignty, recognising and strengthening the role of small scale farmers, rather than benefitting few large scale corporations with detrimental ecological, socio-economic, and nutritional outcomes. It argues strongly for a shift in the approach to agricultural development, from a chemical approach to a biological approach; from a Green Revolution, to an Agroecological Revolution; putting smallholder producers at the centre.

The paper points to extensive evidence that shows that agroecological farming systems can provide the foundation to feed a growing and urbanised African population, protect livelihoods and preserve and regenerate ecological resources to sustain future generations.

Download the report 1,5Mb

African Civil Society and farmer representatives blocked from ARIPO deliberations on regional seed (PVP) law

Press Release from the African Centre for Biodiversity and PELUM Association in collaboration with the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa

29 November 2016
The authoritarian nature of the African Intellectual Property Organisation (ARIPO) Secretariat and its undemocratic processes are scandalous and unacceptable. Locking African farmer representatives and civil society out in order to allow unfettered draconian regional law making is deeply disturbing. What is at play here is entrenching an agricultural future for smallholder farmers in the 19 ARIPO countries that will ensure that profits accrue mainly to the corporate sector and a tiny group of elite players that can engage in the commercial agriculture value chain, while pushing the already marginalised majority of smallholder farmers further into hunger, poverty and dispossession.

ARIPO will host an Administrative Council meeting 5–8 December 2016 in Harare, Zimbabwe for its 19 ARIPO Member States, to adopt deeply troubling draft Regulations to implement a highly contested and controversial regional law on seeds – the Arusha Protocol on Protection of New Varieties of Plants (PVP). ARIPO has refused point blank to allow any African farmer representative or civil society to attend the December meeting on the spurious and frivolous grounds that ARIPO has no

New Lobby document from ACB: transitioning out of GM maize in SA

This Four-page document summarises the recent report published by the African Centre for Biodiversity: Transitioning out of GM maize: to agroecology for sustainable, socially just and nutritional food systems, that argues that we need to urgently shift away from the mono-focus on a maize towards embracing a diversity of crops – particularly indigenous African summer grain crops such as sorghum and millet – and diverse agricultural practices that support healthy ecosystems, economies and societies

This is the first set of easily-to-read and share material, and is available in 5 languages: English, Afrikaans, isiZulu, isiXhosa and Sesotho.

Afrikaans | English | isi-Xhosa | isi-Zulu | Sesotho

The full report (English) is available here.

World Food Day – South Africa faces drought, rising food prices and false promises of GMOs

To cope with drought and rising food prices, we need to urgently move away from genetically modified food and towards indigenous African crops. So warns the African Centre for Biodiversity (ACB).
“We need to urgently shift away from maize towards embracing a diversity of crops – particularly indigenous African summer grain crops such as sorghum and millet – and agro ecology,” says ACB director, Mariam Mayet.
Coinciding with World Food Day, the African Centre for Biodiversity (ACB), has released an important report. It is called “Transitioning out of GM maize: towards nutrition security, climate adaptation, agro-ecology and social justice.”
It makes a compelling case for South Africa to urgently transition out of GM maize production, to systems that are socially just, ecologically sustainable and provide nutrition security for a rapidly urbanising population in the face of the current crippling drought.
According to Mariam Mayet, Director of the ACB, “South Africa is at a crossroads: either it must abandon Monsanto’s GM maize including its bogus drought tolerant GM maize seed or face an economic, social and ecological crisis.”
The report shows that the current maize production system is unsustainable for a number of ecological and economic reasons:
Over-reliance on genetically modified

Transitioning out of GM maize: Current drought is an opportunity for a more resilient and just food system

Coinciding with World Food Day, the African Centre for Biodiversity (ACB), in a new report titled “Transitioning out of GM maize: towards nutrition security, climate adaptation, agro-ecology and social justice” makes a compelling case for South Africa to urgently transition out of GM maize production, to systems that are socially just, ecologically sustainable and provide nutrition security for a rapidly urbanising population in the face of the current crippling drought. It argues that we need to urgently shift away from the mono-focus on a maize towards embracing a diversity of crops – particularly indigenous African summer grain crops such as sorghum and millet – and diverse agricultural practices that support healthy ecosystems, economies and societies.

Download the PDF report 1,5Mb

Download a 4 pager Lobby document in 5 languages.

 

Farmer-managed seed systems in Dowa, Malawi: A legacy of eroded confidence and agricultural diversity after decades of Green Revolution implementation

This report is the product of field work conducted by ACB and Kusamala Institute for Agriculture and Ecology in Dowa district in central Malawi. The objective of the research was to deepen our understanding of the role of farmer seed varieties in smallholder production systems that have come under heavy pressure from concerted Green Revolution interventions; to look at the extent of agricultural biodiversity loss; and to identify farmer priorities in ensuring adequate diversity ad resilience of seed into the future.

Download 1,1Mb PDF Report

Mapping farmer seed varieties in Manica, Mozambique: initial investigations into agricultural biodiversity

This scoping exercise to deepen our understanding of the current context of seed use, main crops and varieties in the research localities in order to gather evidence of the ongoing importance of farmer seed systems in the agricultural practices and livelihoods of smallholder farmers, to identify cases of biodiversity loss and to use this information to build the case for the importance of protecting and supporting farmer-managed seed systems (FMSS) on the continent.

Download the Mozambique Field report

Download PORTUGUESE language of the Mozambique Field report