ABN NEWS 06: GMO ISSUE

The African Biodiversity Network continues to offer a unique, very African, approach to sustainability and community resilience, rooted in traditional practices through its core programme areas as per our mandate. Central to this is the role that seed plays in perpetuating indigenous cultures via traditional breeding of seed, its preservation, its sharing and accompanying rituals and as a source of livelihoods for millions of small-scale farmers. Indeed, in this respect, seed is a heritage that has been passed down from our forefathers and whereby us, as the present generation, have been entrusted to pass it down to those coming after us.

Indigenous seed is under threat from GMOs, controlled by multinational corporations and who seek to monopolise seed. The repercussions of this are horrifying to contemplate, let alone the accompanying disaster to the environment, animal, plant and human health and the yoking of millions of small-scale farmers into perpetual
bondage. Which circumstances calls for everyone to resist the advancement of GMOs and related technologies and
rethinking of ‘development’. In this regards, other African countries can learn from Zimbabwe which is taking a precautionary approach when it comes to GMOs as provided for in the Cartagena Protocol. Still on this, the farmers there and others stakeholders are engaging policymakers in discussions on this via the Zimbabwe’s Technology Review Platform for Crops, Livestock and Foods. Contained too in this edition is a working definition of agroecological organic agriculture and what it entails as well as the role of the African Biodiversity Network in this sphere. Another issue facing small-scale farmers is shrinking of arable land due to an expanding population and the subdivision of farmland. A fact that calls for farmers to exhibit ingenuity inmaking a livelihood for themselves, their family and in feeding the nation. We travel to Meru County, Kenya, to find out how farmers have been trained to maximise their small farms.