The African Union (AU) has embarked on a mission towards harmonising seed regulatory frameworks across the continent, beginning with the establishment of a set of Guidelines on seed law harmonisation.
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For over two decades, and in defence of life and democracy, diverse constituencies in Africa have promoted the rights of small farmers and their seed systems, and have expressed and continue to express concern related to the use and governance of modern biotechnology on the continent.
Regional and continental integration under the auspices of the African Continental Seed Harmonisation (ACSH) initiative and the African Continental Free Trade Area (ACfTA)
Seed policy in sub-Saharan Africa is developing and changing fast, as the seed industry continues to expand its reach. A huge amount of energy and resources are being directed at harmonising seed and intellectual property legislation at the regional level through regional economic communities.
The Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa strongly condemns the approval during September 2013, by the Council of Ministers of the Common Market for East and Southern Africa (COMESA) of the draft COMESA Seed Trade Harmonization Regulations, 2013 (hereinafter referred to as the 'Seed Regulations').
This submission was made by civil society groups at a COMESA meeting in Lusaka during March 2013, in which serious concerns were raised about the COMESA seed trade laws as negatively impacting on small farmers in the COMESA region.