A first-ever national seed dialogue in South Africa strengthens the push-back against the bulging muscles of corporate and state control over seed and food production. UFRIEDA HO reports.
There are seven giant seed and agro-chemical companies in the world, millions of smallholder farmers locked into buying from this monopoly, and billions of us, dependent on the food farmers grow.
It adds up to a skewed global food production system that's mirrored in South Africa. Local activists and a growing voice of small-scale farmers say the continued industrialisation and commercialisation of the seed system threatens bio-diversity, food security and indigenous knowledge. It also widens inequality gaps and leaves the world with damning contradictions of food surpluses and wastage alongside starvation and malnutrition.
They are calling for a revision of the system, taking aim in particular at two pieces of legislations that govern plant breeders' rights and plant improvement that are currently before the NCOP (National Council of Provinces).
At the weekend the African Centre for Biodiversity (ACB), a non- profit research, analysis and advocacy group gathered together over 100 participants for a national "seed dialogue" at the Women's Gaol at Constitution Hill.
Mariam Mayet, executive director of ACB, says the gathering...