The study “Green Innovation Centre in Zambia: Fighting Hunger through Corporate Supply Chains?” is a joint publication by Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung and African Centre for Biodiversity. It discusses the Green Innovation Centre (GIC) project of the German government, its approach and its impact. The development concept behind the GIC is farming as a business, focusing on integrating smallholder farmers into commercial value chains. GIZ, the German development agency coordinates the project in Zambia. The GIC’s main interventions in Zambia are on groundnut and soya in the Eastern Province in partnership with COMACO on smallholder integration into value chains and Good Nature Agro on improved seed, and on smallholder integration in the dairy sector in Southern Province with SNV, a Dutch NGO. GIC is one of a number of Green Revolution interventions in Zambia.
The expansion of the corporate seed market, embedded in the green revolution agenda in sub-Saharan Africa is progressing very fast. This expansion is going hand in hand with regional policies and regulations – in a process also known as seed harmonisation – that will enable facilitate trade across national borders. This has been the case in Southern and Eastern Africa in the last two and a half decades within three overlapping regions-SADC, COMESA and the EAC. These harmonised seed regulations focus solely on the formal seed sector, both neglecting and prohibiting the historical and current role played by farmer-managed seed systems, which indisputably provide the majority of seed used in food production across the continent.
A landmark decision on the establishment of an Ad Hoc Technical Expert Group to realize farmers’ rights was recently taken by the seventh session of the Governing Body (GB7) of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA; also known as the ‘Seed Treaty’). There was stiff opposition from countries from the global North and the seed industry, who argued against that there was already a working group, under the Sustainable Use of Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture that was addressing farmers’ rights. However, this group has never seriously considered farmers’ rights since the Seed Treaty was adopted in 2004 more than 13 years ago.