Seed policy paper: Towards national and regional seed policies in Africa that recognise and support farmer seed systems

The African Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) has prepared this policy discussion document as a contribution towards national and regional seed policies in Africa that recognise and support farmer seed systems. The document is an effort to synthesise the policy issues emerging from our research and advocacy work on farmer seed systems in the past few years.

The discussion document considers a range of policy issues including plant variety protection (PVP), distinct, uniform and stable (DUS) and value for cultivation and use (VCU) tests, variety registration, seed production quality controls, storage and packaging, and phytosanitary measures.

Celebrating smallholder farmers and seed diversity in South Africa: Report from the national seed dialogue and celebration

On 8 and 9 December 2017 the African Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) hosted a national seed dialogue and celebration at Constitution Hill in Johannesburg. Farmer representatives from eight provinces, along with civil society organisations, academics, and officials from the Agricultural Research Council and Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) participated in cultural events and dialogues on current and emerging issues on smallholder farmers and seed diversity in South Africa. A discussion on the political context highlighted the instability of the globalised corporate food system, and the possibilities and challenges for alternatives based on different systems of production and distribution to take root in material reality.

Art, Seed Sovereignty and Activism: Weaving New Stories

Preparing for the National Seed Dialogue and Celebration, hosted by the African Centre for Biodiversity, smallholder farmers, activists and government officials are crowded into the atrium of the Women’s Jail at Constitution Hill and a drum is beating. A performer, Simo Mpapa Majola, dressed in blankets, is praying and singing and imploring the audience. He is telling the story of the women who work on a farm, who have been marginalised over and over, and yet are relentless in their search for “She-sus”, the She-God, and unswerving in their connection to the soil. Around the edges of the atrium are tables adorned with bowls and jars, hand-crafted wooden trays and woven baskets of seeds, resplendent in their diversity of colours, shapes and textures.