Arusha, Tanzania, 11th March 2019
We, East African farmer and civil society organisations, met in Arusha on 5th – 6th March 2019, to deliberate on the East African Community (EAC) Seed and Plant Varieties Bill 2018 and its implications for smallholder farmers and their seed systems. The rationale given for the Bill is that this will create a conducive environment for improving regional availability of seed and planting materials. However, we are convinced that this proposed law will displace local seed systems, further entrench inequalities and corporate capture of food and seed systems, and marginalise the rural poor, especially women. We therefore demand that policymakers ensure transparency, public consultation and the inclusion of farmers’ rights to save, reuse, share, exchange and sell all seed in their seed and farming systems.