Home Opinion Press Releases AFSA Officially Launches ‘Seed Is Life’ Campaign

AFSA Officially Launches ‘Seed Is Life’ Campaign

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Seed Is Life
Seed Is Life

The Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA) is pleased to announce the launch of its “SEED IS LIFE” campaign, a significant initiative aimed at promoting Farmer Managed Seed Systems (FMSS) and countering the encroachment of chemical intensive, monoculture industrial agriculture on the continent. This campaign coincides with International Seeds Day, amplifying the voices of those advocating for patent-free seeds and the preservation of traditional seed systems, the heart of Africa’s agricultural heritage.

For centuries, small-scale African farmers have been the backbone of the continent’s agricultural success, nurturing a system that supports over 80% of the population with diverse, nutritious, and resilient crops. However, these traditional practices face increasing threats from Industrial agriculture and multinational seed corporations, influenced by the legacies of colonization and commerce.

In response, AFSA’s “Seed is Life” campaign aims to empower communities to reclaim and protect their agricultural heritage and ensure food sovereignty for future generations. Dr. Million Belay, General Coordinator of AFSA, emphasized the urgency of the situation: “Governments are capitulating to pressures that favor corporations and the industrial seed system through regional agreements On intellectual property and trade. These agreements prioritize industrial Seeds and commodity production, sidelining the vital diversity of farmers’ Seeds and their expertise in seed management. It’s time to shift the focus. We must advocate for policies that support local seed systems and agroecological farming, empowering our farmers within the framework of food sovereignty.”

The “Seed is Life” campaign seeks to galvanize widespread support and action for FMSS across Africa, advocating for their recognition and protection as the cornerstone of food sovereignty and biodiversity in the face of challenges posed by industrial agriculture and GMOs. The campaign’s specific objectives include:

Elevating FMSS as pillars of biodiversity and food sovereignty across Africa.

Advocating for policy reform and legal support to ensure FMSS is recognized and supported, protecting farmers’ rights to save, exchange, and sell their seeds.

Building a strong continent-wide movement that educates on the importance of FMSS for ecological health, food security, and nutrition.

“Farmers’ seeds are not merely a resource but the lifeblood of Africa’s food sovereignty. They embody reliability, affordability, the ability to adapt to changing climates, and stands all stresses” states Mr. Hakim Baliraine, Chairperson of AFSA. “Through the ‘Seed is Life’ campaign, we are championing the resilience and diversity of indigenous farming practices, ensuring that African food systems remain in the hands of those who have nurtured them through the ages.”

On the occasion of the “Seed is Life” campaign launch, the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA) has issued a powerful statement and call to action, urging African policymakers to prioritize Farmer-Managed Seed Systems (FMSS) in their agricultural policies. This call for action demands the integration of FMSS into national frameworks, strengthening legal protections for small-scale farmers, investing in agroecological research, promoting seed diversity through banks and exchanges, and ensuring FMSS principles are upheld in international agreements. The statement reads, “By adopting these recommendations, policymakers can help forge a sustainable, biodiverse future where African food systems are resilient, culturally rich, and free from corporate dominance, aligning with global commitments to uphold farmer rights and food sovereignty.”

AFSA is holding a one-week social media campaign between 𝗔𝗽𝗿𝗶𝗹 26 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗠𝗮𝘆 1, 2024, under the motto of
“𝙎𝙀𝙀𝘿 𝙎𝙊𝙑𝙀𝙍𝙀𝙄𝙂𝙉𝙏𝙔 𝙄𝙎 𝙊𝙐𝙍 𝙇𝙀𝙂𝘼𝘾𝙔 – 𝙋𝙍𝙊𝙏𝙀𝘾𝙏 𝙄𝙏, 𝙀𝙈𝙋𝙊𝙒𝙀𝙍 𝙄𝙏, 𝙎𝙃𝘼𝙍𝙀 𝙄𝙏!

We cordially invite you to join our campaign across all AFSA social media platforms to embrace the campaign and amplify the voices of African smallholder farmers and help them reclaim and defend their rights for unrestricted use of their seeds and their long-established seed saving and exchange systems. You can also follow the discussions using the official hashtag for the campaign. #SeedIsLife #FMSS #SeedSovereignty

 

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