Tag Archive: Small Scale Farmers

Local seed varieties are essential for sustainable food systems … but face challenges

Stephen Greenberg
4 August 2017

Smallholder farmers in Mozambique want access to a diversity of quality seed, but not exclusively from the formal sector. Farmers highly value their own varieties and want to work on enhancing these, too. These strong messages came out of a dialogue held between smallholder farmers, government officials and research institutions in Chimoio, Manica Province in central Mozambique in March 2017.

The National Farmers’ Union of Mozambique (UNAC), its provincial affiliate in Manica (UCAMA) and the African Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) co-hosted the dialogue to share research findings on mapping farmer seed varieties in Sussundenga, Manica and Gondola districts in Manica. Smallholder farmers – women and men – from UNAC-affiliated district farmer associations in Manica, Sofala, Zambezia and Nampula in Mozambique and from the Zimbabwe Smallholder Organic Farmer Forum (Zimsoff) participated. They raised a number of very interesting issues and challenges in relation to maintenance and enhancement of farmer seed varieties, in dialogue with provincial and district government representatives from Manica, and with representatives from research institutions and regulators.

The issues the farmers raised, alongside researchers, breeders and officials, provide a challenge for those of us working in the seed movement. Farmers highly value their local

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.

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Integration of small-scale farmers into formal seed production in South Africa

The scoping report looks at key policies, legislation and programmes in SA with an emphasis on seed laws and considers the implications for small- scale farmer involvement in this sector and outlines a few projects on community seed production, indigenous crops and black- owned private sector seed production efforts.

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Nuanced rhetoric and the path to poverty: AGRA, small-scale farmers, and seed and soil fertility in Tanzania

The report indicates a well-coordinated effort by selected states especially the US and in the EU, philanthropic institutions like AGRA, multilateral institutions like the World Bank, donors and multinational corporations (MNCs) including Yara, Monsanto and Pioneer to construct a Green Revolution that aims to produce a layer of commercial surplus producers. This is an explicit goal and they are not shy of saying it. However, the long-term social and ecological impacts of this agenda are questionable, with concerns about loss of land, biodiversity, and sovereignty.

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Kiswahili

Who Owns Our Food Systems… Information sheets in English, Afrikaans, Sotho and Zulu

Click on a heading below and download an A4 information sheet in your preferred language.

GM-Health

Is our PAP safe?

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Price-Fixing

Fixing the price of Food. SA’s poor bear the brunt of rising food costs while big food companies’ profits rise.

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Small-scale-farmers

Small-Scale Farmers and the maize value chain. Our government’s vision for agrarian reform is for small-scale farmers to enter the commercial market. This is a pipe dream!

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Value-Chain

Who Owns our Maize? In South Africa a handful of very powerful corporations control how and what we eat!

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GM-Health

Is ons PAP veilig?

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GM-Testing

Geneties gewysigde pap: Geen keuse vir Suid-Afrikaners.

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Price-Fixing

Prys vasstelling van voedsel. Suid-Afrika se armes ly onder die stygende voedselpryse, terwyl groot voedselmaatskappye se winste styg.

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Small-scale-farmers

Kleinskaalse boere en die mielie-waardeketting. Ons regering se visie vir landbouhervorming, is dat kleinskaalse boere die kommerersi?le mark betree. Dit is ‘n hersenskim!

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Value-Chain

Aan wie behoort ons mielies? Die reis wat mielies vanaf die boer se plaas tot by dies silo en dan na die meul en eindelik tot by die supermark onderneem, word die ‘mielie waardeketting’, genoem.

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GM-Health

Na PAPA ya rona e bolokehile?

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GM-Testing

Papa ya

WHO OWNS OUR FOOD SYSTEM?

It is a matter of urgency that we break up these cartels that have South African consumers, especially the poorest of the poor, in a vice grip through control of our two staple foods ? maize and bread.

South Africans eat about 28 billion loaves of bread and, on average, about 100kg of maize and maize-related products each year ? wheat and maize are the country?s staple foods. Only a few companies control the wheat and maize value chains ? the journey taken from the farmer?s fields to the mill, the supermarket shelf and then to our tables each day.

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Suid-Afrikaners eet jaarliks sowat 28 biljoen brode en gemiddeld verbruik elke persoon jaarliks 100kg mielies en mielie-verwante produkte ? koring en mielies is die land se stapelvoedsel. Die koring- en mielie waardekettings word deur slegs ?n paar maatskappye beheer. Dit sluit die voorsieningsketting vanaf die boer se lande na die meule, die winkelrak tot by ons tafels elke dag, in.

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Abantu baseNingizimu Afrika badla cishe amalofu esinkwa angu 28bhiliyoni, kanti ukulinganisa, cishe ngu 100kg wombila kanye nemikhiqizo eyenziwe ngempumphu kunyaka nonyaka ? ukolo kanye nombila ukudla okudliwa kakhulu kwemihla ngemihla ezweni. Zinkampani ezimbalwa ezilawula

AGRA’s scandalous subsidisation of big fertiliser, financial and agribusiness corporations in Africa

In a scandalous move of skulduggery, the African Fertiliser and Agribusiness Partnership (AFAP), under the guise of empowering smallholder farmers in Africa, is subsidising multinational fertiliser and financial corporations on African soil. Other beneficiaries of this scheme are the global grain trading and food processing giants.

AFAP, established in 2012, with a grant of US $25 million from the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA)-the biggest grant given to a single recipient by AGRA so far- is ostensibly working towards ensuring that African smallholder farmers grow food and profits. However, according to a new report from the African Centre for Biosafety (ACB) – The African Fertiliser and Agribusiness Partnership (AFAP): The missing link in Africa’s Green Revolution, AFAP’s main focus is the provision of credit guarantees to importers and distributors of fertilisers in Ghana, Mozambique and Tanzania.

“In essence, AFAP is using development funds, as well as money from the Ethiopian government – one of the least developed countries in the world – to subsidise multinational fertiliser companies such as Yara, which dominates the fertiliser trade in Africa. This also extends to large multinational banks such as the Standard Bank Group, Barclays and the Dutch firm Rabobank, who

RAILROADING AFRICAN GOVTS INTO ADOPTING ARIPO PVP PROTOCOL BASED ON UPOV 1991: AFSA APPEALS TO ARIPO MEMBER STATES FOR POSTPONEMENT OF DIPLOMATIC CONFERENCE AND FOR URGENT CONSULTATIONS WITH SMALL-HOLDER FARMERS

AFSA attended a Regional Workshop on the ARIPO PVP Protocol, 29-31 October 2014, in Harare Zimbabwe, where numerous technical and administrative flaws continue to characterise the process. In particular, member states were forced into accepting a recommendation, disguised as if crafted by them, mandating ARIPO to urgently organize and call for the Diplomatic Conference for the adoption of the Protocol. In reality, member states, instead, unanimously endorsed the need for further consultations to be held at national levels and independent expert review of the draft ARIPO PVP Protocol and that talk of a Diplomatic Conference to adopt the Protocol is hopelessly premature.

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Resources transferred from small-scale farmers to multinational agribusinesses in Malawi’s Green Revolution

The African Centre for Biosafety (ACB) has today released its research report based on field work conducted in Malawi, titled “Running to stand still: Small-scale farmers and the Green Revolution in Malawi.” The research, conducted by the ACB in collaboration with the National Smallholder Farmers’ Association of Malawi (NASFAM), Kusamala Institute of Agriculture and Ecology and Dr Blessings Chinsinga from the University of Malawi, does not validate the argument that Malawi is a Green Revolution success story. On the contrary, the research highlights the plight of small-scale farmers at the receiving end of the Green Revolution (GR) push in Malawi. Among its findings are that farmers are trapped in a cycle of debt and dependency on costly external inputs with limited long-term benefit, and that the natural resource base is being degraded and eroded despite ? or perhaps because of – GR inputs.

According to ACB’s lead researcher, Dr Stephen Greenberg, “our research found that small-scale farmers are using shockingly high levels of synthetic fertilisers at great financial costs to themselves and the public purse. Rising soil infertility is a feature of farming systems reliant on synthetic fertiliser. We found that farmers are increasingly adopting hybrid maize seed, encouraged by

Running to Stand Still: Small-Scale Farmers and the Green Revolution in Malawi

According to ACB?s lead researcher, Dr Stephen Greenberg, ?our research found that small-scale farmers are using shockingly high levels ofsynthetic fertilisers at great financial costs to themselves and the publicpurse. Rising soil infertility is a feature of farming systems reliant on synthetic fertiliser. We found that farmers are increasingly adopting hybrid maize seed, encouraged by government subsidies and the promise of massive yields. However, adoption of these hybrid seeds comes at the cost of abandoning diversity and resilience of local seed varieties, and the ever escalating requirement for synthetic fertilisers. Indeed, our findings show net transfers away from farming households to agribusinesses such as SeedCo, Pannar (recentlymerged with Pioneer Hi-Bred), Monsanto and Demeter in the commercial seed industry. For fertiliser, the major fertiliser producers and distributors are Farmers World (which also owns Demeter seed), Yara, TansGlobe, Omnia and Rab Processors.?

Executive summary

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Full Report

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Press Release

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