AFSA member network, the West African Peasant Seed Committee (COASP), brought together almost 500 people including smallholder farmers, representatives of peasant organizations, civil society, national and international research institutes from eight West African countries and three European countries.
They gathered from 5-7 March 2018 for the 6th West African Peasant Seed Fair of Djimini, Senegal. During the sessions of exchange of information and knowledge of farming practices and seeds, they reaffirmed the importance and urgency of recognizing and strengthening peasant seed systems, fundamental for peasant agroecology, guaranteeing our food sovereignty.
The event generated a declaration – available here – calling on governments:
- To abandon all activities favourable to the development of industrial agriculture destructive of peasant agriculture and which spreads pesticides and non reproducible seeds;
- To abandon all activities supporting the introduction of GMO seeds or seeds derived from new biotechnologies (e.g. gene editing, gene silencing);
- To abandon any activity of appropriation of the living by intellectual property rights on peasant seeds because they are contrary to our customs;
- To recognize and protect our peasant seed systems and the collective rights of peasants over their seeds in national and sub-regional legislation;
- To defend, within the ITPGRFA, the proposals of farmers’ organizations for the recognition and implementation of farmers’ rights;
- To create mechanisms to ensure transparency and participation in decision-making, including for women and young people.
- To support peasant initiatives for the promotion of peasant agroecology and seeds: seed banks, seed fairs and all other initiatives in favour of peasant seeds;
- To encourage training spaces, knowledge sharing, and alliances for the co-creation of knowledge.