Strengthening Agro-biodiversity in Southern Africa (SASA)
While governments have regional and national seed policies favourable to commercial certified seed production, these are restrictive on farmers’ seed systems that are diverse and resilient. The project capitalises on Swiss regional experiences on supporting seed systems in Southern Africa. This will include the empowerment of civil society, farmers’ organisations and governments in developing inclusive agricultural policies that ultimately contribute to sustainable use of agricultural biodiversity and improved well-being of smallholder farming communities.
Southern African Development Community (SADC)
Agriculture & food security
Sector according to the OECD Developement Assistance Commitiee categorisation AGRICULTURE
Sub-Sector according to the OECD Developement Assistance Commitiee categorisationAgricultural policy and administrative management
Cross-cutting topics The project promotes biodiversity.
Aid Type Mandate without fiduciary fund
Project and programme contribution
|Background||Agricultural biodiversity is diminishing at an unprecedented rate, putting the future of food, livelihoods, health and environment at great risk. Regional and national legal and policy frameworks and processes on seed have been developed in the region to be favourable to commercial seed production. Their framing however restrict farmers’ rights to freely use their diverse and adapted seed varieties and impacts directly on women who rely on own seed sources for diversified food and nutrition. Given the effects of climate change, depleted soils and recurrent food insecurity, the need for ensuring agricultural biodiversity and farmers’ access to diversified quality seed from formal and informal sources becomes more urgent.|
|Objectives||Established agricultural policies in Southern Africa that meet farmers’ rights, diversifies farmers’ seed systems and contribute to sustainable maintenance and use of agricultural biodiversity.|
|Target groups||Target groups are smallholder farmers, including women and youth, and CSOs including farmer associations in Southern Africa. 75+ CSOs are targeted to be involved directly in planned activities; with national nodal points in active networks in 8+ countries in Southern Africa. This work will focus on SADC Secretariat at regional level and in Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Tanzania, Mozambique, eSwatini, Lesotho and South Africa at a country level.|
|Medium-term outcomes||Exemptions in regional and national seed laws are adequate to allow for the unimpeded development and support of farmer seed systems and securing of farmers’ rights. * Political and policy processes under way at national and regional levels in support to alternatives in farmer seed systems, farmers’ rights and agricultural biodiversity. * Rapid response enabled for Civil Society Organisation network members to new policy and political processes, legislative and regulatory initiatives related to seed laws and farmer seed systems.|
Expected results: Research and analysis on Plant Variety Protection, seed laws and policies and farmers’ seed systems conducted to empower CSOs, farmer organisations and government representatives in policy development. -75+ CSO / farmers’ organisations empowered to participate in seed laws and policies development at regional and national levels. -Smallholder farmer-friendly proposals are included in seed and plant variety protection policies, laws and regulations. -60+ CSO female-led and farmers’ organisations have increased advocacy competencies and develop alternatives to corporate agriculture expansion in Southern Africa.
Results from previous phases: Regional seed laws and protocols were developed to cater for the needs of smallholder farmers. In particular: Insertion of safeguards against biopiracy and reuse of farm saved seed in the SADC Plant Variety Protection Protocol; National level veto powers around variety registration when implementing the African Intellectual Property Protocol; South Africa and Malawi draft bills factored in exemptions to allow farmers to continue saving and exchanging their seeds; Participatory evaluation of germplasm in Zambia has resulted in identification of preferred farmers’ crop varieties to be registered in the official national variety register. Alternatives have been developed for transitioning from hybrid maize varieties and synthetic fertilizer based farm input subsidies to diversified seed varieties. Through the rapid response fund,630 individuals from 118 CSOs and government entities were supported to participate in last minute decision-making processes on national and regional seed laws and plant variety protection.
|Directorate/federal office responsible||
International or foreign NGO
African Centre for Biodiversity (ACB)
|Coordination with other projects and actors||Development Fund of Norway, Biodiversity International, Zambia Alliance for Agroecology & Biodiversity, La Via Campesina, the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa, APBREBES and Third World Network. There are synergies with SDC funded projects on agriculture and seed systems such as SKI and the Social Accountability project.|
|Estimated operational start of intervention:||
Main credit Phase 1: September 2016
|Budget||Current phase Swiss budget CHF 1’550’000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF 1’133’096|
|Project phases||Phase 3 01.09.2019 - 31.08.2023 (Current phase) Phase 2 01.09.2016 - 31.08.2019 (Completed) Phase 1 01.07.2013 - 31.08.2016 (Completed)|