African Seed & Food Sovereignty

 

Other Worlds brings to you a 7-part article series on African food and seed sovereignty, which will feature interviews with grassroots leaders (mostly women) from Senegal, Mali, Kenya, Zimbabwe and South Africa. Each is working for seed sovereignty and the decolonization of Africa’s food system.

 

Other Worlds brings to you a 7-part article series on African food and seed sovereignty, which will feature interviews with grassroots leaders (mostly women) from Senegal, Mali, Kenya, Zimbabwe and South Africa. Each is working for seed sovereignty and the decolonization of Africa’s food system.

Other Worlds will release the articles every other Wednesday beginning November 4th. They are in English, run around 1200 words, and include photos.

The interviews are with traditional farmers, activists, community organizers, policy advocates, seed-savers, and movement-builders sharing global to local perspectives on:

agroecology and organic farming practices ∙ the fight against GMOs and imperialist agriculture ∙ supporting rural women and farmers in food production and livelihood ∙ cultural preservation through seed saving and food sovereignty

Help us get these stories out far and wide!

We encourage each organization and online media source to share widely on social media.

If you are interested in publishing the series and/or reposting, please be in touch with Simone Adler (simone.otherworlds@gmail.com) for more details, distribution information, and publication schedule. Thank you.

About the leaders and their stories:

Mariama Sonko, Senegal

Mariama Sonko is the National Coordinator of We Are The Solution – a campaign for food sovereignty lead by rural women associations and their leaders in West Africa. She discusses the fundamental role of women, who are involved in every step of agricultural production, and their achievements in working toward the campaign’s objectives, including promoting traditional agriculture and preserving peasant seeds, restoring policies favorable to agroecological peasant farming, and promoting African agricultural production. Mariama promotes women’s access to land and land ownership.

Gathuru Mburu, Kenya

Gathuru Mburu is an ecologist and Director of the Institute for Culture and Ecology and part of the African Biodiversity Network, a member of the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa.  He describes the grassroots level community and collective approach of the food sovereignty movement in working against national and international challenges. Guthuru also connects the revival of seeds to the revival of culture itself, and the traditional knowledge around planting, harvesting, and spirituality.

Miriam Mayet, South Africa

Miriam Mayet is the founder and Director of the African Centre for Biodiversity, which carries out research, analysis, advocacy and information sharing with social movements fighting for food sovereignty in Africa. She discusses the criminalization and displacement of the traditional farmer-managed seed systems and local food economies by the aggressive Green Revolution in Africa project promoted by the Gates Foundation, seed companies and governments.

Elizabeth Mpofu, Zimbabwe

Elizabeth Mpofu is a farmer, the Chairperson of Zimbabwe Smallholder Organic Farmers Forum, and the General Coordinator of La Via Campesina, the international movement which brings together millions of peasants, small and medium-size farmers, landless people, women farmers, indigenous people, migrants and agricultural workers from around the world. She discusses the fight against transnational organizations such as the World Trade Organization, and free trade agreements She criticizes the arguments for food security and promotes building the capacity of peasant farmers for their food sovereignty.

Mamadou Goita, Mali

Mamadou Goita is a development socio-economist and Executive Director of Research and Promotion of Alternatives and Development (IRPAD), a local advisor for the New Field Foundation, and member of the regional coordinating group of the Coalition to Protect African Genetic Heritage (COPAGEN). He discusses the global economic and industrial challenges facing small farmers in West Africa and the local solutions coming from the seed and food sovereignty movement, including the importance of women in this transformation.

Mpatheleni Makauele, South Africa

Mphatheleni Makauele is a farmer, activist and Program Coordinator of Dzomo la Mupo (voice of natural creations of the Universe), which is working to preserve and revive cultural diversity and food sovereignty in South Africa, and member of the African Biodiversity Network. She talks about the cultural importance of seeds as a symbol of life and their role in the ecological calendar. She further discusses the problems resulting from global, commercial agribusiness, including soil damage, and advocates for the role of women in reviving the soil and leading the seed and food sovereignty movement.

Famara Didehiou, Senegal

Famara Didehioiu is the Program Officer of Fahumu, an organization strengthening social justice movements in Africa, Coordinator of the We Are The Solution campaign, as well as part of the Seeds Working Group of Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa. He discusses the work of regional organizations and alliances in West Africa in addressing the challenges posed by global agribusiness through advancing agroecology, organic farming and peasant (particularly women) farmers.  

Mariam Kalisa Traore, Mali

Mariam Kalisa Traore is a member of the We Are The Solution campaign and works on the grassroots level with rural women to support their traditional farming practices, food production, and livelihood. She discusses the structural problems on the level of the state and globally that face peasant families, women, and preservation of traditional seeds.

 

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This article series is made possible with the support from New Field Foundation and Grassroots International – many thanks for their dedication to these movements.

 

Other Worlds is a women-driven education and movement support collaborative. Our mission is to compile and bring to light alternatives flourishing throughout the world – ones opening spaces for economic, political, social, and environmental justice, as well as meaningful democracy – in order to inspire and incite others. We also directly support the movements that are propelling the alternatives.

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