AFSA Officially Launches “Seed Is Life” Campaign To Uphold Farmer Managed Seed Systems

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 are 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.