Seed Notes from the Spice Island

It has been some six years since the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA) was launched in Durban by African smallholder farmers, indigenous people, faith-based groups, young people, consumers and civil societies for a better food system that places the millions of farmers at the center of it. Over the years a number of meetings have been held among these members of the alliance and the working groups.

In April 2016 the Seed Working Group gathered at the beautiful island of Unguja, Zanzibar, known for its variety of spices and thus named as ‘The Spice Island’. The workshop took place at Bluebay Hotel, Kiwengwa, Zanzibar, Tanzania from 26th -28th of April 2016. Tanzania Organic Agriculture Movement (TOAM) on behalf of AFSA organized the meeting and welcomed the group to Zanzibar.

The workshop aimed to deepen common understanding on the key contextual issues in relation to promoting seed sovereignty. Group members also agreed on the broad way forward in terms of countering the corporate takeover of seed and strengthening farmer-managed seed systems. AFSA’s specific role in this bigger picture was spelled out on the way forward. An immediate action plan was developed to give momentum to AFSA’s seed-related work. The group revisited its achievements and challenges and strategized based on its successful experiences.

René M. Segbenou shares strategies on how AFSA members can contribute to set up farmer-managed seed systems.

The seed lives. It lives even when it appears otherwise. But it needs to be planted and watered, to transform into stem, branch and leaves and to produce many of the likes of its own.

We follow that same pattern in strengthening the emerging quest for a just food system in the African continent. We come together; we discuss and strategize on how we can keep the movement growing.

Read other stories from our Quarterly Newsletter, April-June.