Giving Compass’ Take:
• Food Tank interviews Morgane Leclercq, a PhD student at Quebec’s Laval University, about the need for policy reform to advance seed security in West Africa.
• What will be the fate of other developing countries that are suffering from rising temperatures? How can we help food security in Western Africa?
• Here’s an article on the seed bank that’s helping foods from extinction.
In many parts of Western Africa, climate change is affecting farmers and biodiversity, and outdated seed laws are making matters worse. A joint report by the nonprofit GRAIN and the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA) found that some policies can prevent farmers from managing their own seeds and force them into single-crop industrial agriculture. The same report found that diverse, farmer-managed seed systems are more sustainable and make up the bulk of Western Africa’s food production. When farmers want to improve their own food security by planting a variety of crops, they may be at odds with the legal framework.
A 2017 report by AFSA described the tightening of seed trade laws as favoring privatized seed breeders that deem farmer varieties as “unproductive and unreliable, thereby causing hunger.” When farmers need seeds to plant their fields, they will typically use what is most available and will then develop strategies to obtain other seeds. They may look to the informal sector—farm-saved varieties, seeds from family members or other farmers, and community seed banks—or the formal sector—development agencies, agronomic research centers, NGOs or markets. If the new seeds they use don’t come from the protected and subsidized variety, there may be legal consequences.
Read the full article on outdated seed laws in Western Africa by Douglas Donnellan at Food Tank.
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