AFSA is delighted to announce the publication of a new book, “STORIES OF SEED ACTIVISM: JOURNALISTS FROM 14 COUNTRIES REPORTING PEOPLES SOLUTION TO CORPORATE CONTROL OF AFRICA’S LIFE.”
As the UNFSS fizzled as a rubber stamp to expand corporate interests over our food system, AFSA offered seeds of hope by collecting stories of Seed Activism from the ground.
Farmers’ seed varieties are still common yet disappearing fast in Africa. Corporations are gradually robbing farmers of their rights to preserve and exchange seeds and governments are increasingly yielding to the pressure to prioritize corporatized GMO and hybrid seeds above indigenous African seeds. This destruction of farmer seeds is an assault on culture and African food systems.
Despite increasing pressure to adopt industrialized seed and farming techniques, food producers throughout Africa are fighting the trend and restoring indigenous seed varieties.
“Our seeds are our stories,” stated Dr. Million Belay, AFSA General Coordinator. “In the heart of each seed is an extraordinary story of repeated experimentation, frustrations, success and innovations of our ancestors. It is mind-blowing to think about what has happened in the domestication of one single seed variety. Seeds are deeply tied to our spirituality. They are used as food, feed and medicine. All of nature revolves around them. We have songs, poems, ballads, plays, bedtime stories and proverbs celebrating our seeds. We have the language to express their behavior. Our women are custodians of our seed. They have an incredible amount of knowledge on how to care and process each seed.”
AFSA collaborated with journalists and writers from 14 African countries to showcase the struggle, the challenge, the hope and aspirations of seed savers and seed activism in Africa from the perspectives of farmers’ rights, food security and resilience. Their efforts have resulted in this book. They recorded fascinating stories about the enormous agricultural biodiversity that supports humanity in the face of a constantly changing need to adapt to climate change, which is the product of the innovation and effort of farmers over countless generations
Mariam Mayet, Executive Director of the African Centre for Biodiversity (ACB), said, “In order for us to reclaim our rights, we must explore a renewed understanding of the primacy of farmers’ rights over private property rights, as integral and inseparable from a bundle of human rights.”
We hope the book inspires a lesson and serves as a constant reminder that supporting smallholder food producers and protecting their rights to seeds and natural resources is the surest route to food security. They are the bedrock of African food systems and a prosperous future.