Zambia to lose control of its seeds once ARIPO Arusha protocol adopted on 5th December

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Newly appointed Minister of Agriculture Dora Siliya taking Oath before President Edgar Lungu during swearing in ceremony at State House
Newly appointed Minister of Agriculture Dora Siliya taking Oath before President Edgar Lungu during swearing in ceremony at State House

Not many of us have even heard about ARIPO – The African Regional Intellectual Property Organisation. Yet the decisions made by this regional organisation will affect all Zambian citizens.

Seeds are a source of life, and the basis of our food systems. For generations farmers have been carefully selecting and developing seeds to suit each particular and different farming context.

Today, multinational seed companies, with the backing of their foreign governments, see the money to be made in controlling and owning seeds. Once seeds are controlled, much of the rest of the food system can be controlled.

The ARIPO Arusha Protocol on the Protection of New varieties of Plants (adopted by member states in July 2015), aims at providing such control for multinational seed companies. Worse, are the regulations for the implementation of the Arusha Protocol, that discriminate against small scale farmers, targeting them unnecessarily with substantial fees and policing mechanisms.

Our own Zambian ARIPO representatives, together with regional governments, will meet on 5 – 8 December in Harare to adopt the regulations. All farmers and civil society representatives have been blocked from entry to this secretive and decisive meeting.

Regional Protocol will undermine national food security and increase malnutrition

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food has expressed deep concern regarding the “considerable negative impacts that the Protocol and its Draft Regulations may have in relation to fulfilling the right to food in ARIPO Member State countries”.

“The Protocol will negatively impact on the traditional practices of African farmers, in particular freely using, saving, exchanging and selling farm-saved seed and propagating material. These practises, which are the backbone of agricultural systems in Sub-Saharan Africa, have ensured access to and the maintenance of a diverse pool of genetic resources by farmers themselves. Such diversity is key to ensuring food security, long-term sustainability and providing farmers with resilience to natural disasters and the negative effects of climate change”.

All farmers and civil society representatives have been blocked from entry to this secretive and decisive meeting.

In Zambia, civil society organisations and farmers have continuously expressed serious objections to the Arusha Protocol, and requested our leaders oppose this discriminatory process that will negatively affect the majority of Zambian citizens. We are very distressed to learn that instead, Zambia has been strongly involved in the process, through its position of Chair of the negotiations for the 2016 period.

ZAABCs specific concerns include;
• The Arusha Protocol is based on the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV) 1991, a most inappropriate model for the establishment of Plant Variety Protection (PVP) regimes in developing countries. Zambia already has its own advantageous National PVP Protocol that will be undermined should Zambia sign and ratify the Arusha Protocol.
• There is serious failure to safeguard farmers’ rights and farmer seed systems. This is despite that 70% of the region’s food is produced by small scale farmers, whose vibrant germ plasm continues to be used by researchers and is the basis of our national food sovereignty.
• The Protocol advances a centralised harmonised regime that undermines the sovereign rights of Member States.

• The Protocol facilitates biopiracy (the stealing) of local farmer varieties.

• The Protocol undermines implementation of international treaties such as the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing, and the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agricultural (ITPGRFA) as well as various international instruments on farmer rights and traditional systems.

At this critical stage, Zambian civil society and farmers call out to His Excellency, President of the Republic of Zambia, and newly appointed Honourable Minister of Agriculture and Members of Parliament, to stand up for the farmers and consumers of Zambia, and NOT sign or ratify the ARIPO Arusha Protocol. We secondly call for our Zambian representatives at the ARIPO meeting to object to the adoption of the Regulations for its Implementation.

Signed by civil society members of ZAABC:
1. Caritas Zambia
2. Chalimbana River Headwaters Conservation – Trust (CRHC-Trust)
3. Chongwe District Women Development Alliance (CDWDA)
4. Community Technology Development Trust (CTDT)
5. Council of Churches Zambia (CCZ)
6. CUTS Lusaka
7. East and Southern Africa Small-scale Farmers Forum (ESAFF)
8. Green Living Movement (GLM)
9. Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection (JCTR)
10. Kasisi Agricultural Training Centre (KATC)
11. Organic Producers and Processors Alliance of Zambia (OPPAZ)
12. Participatory Ecological Land-Use Management Association (PELUM Association)
13. Participatory Ecological Land-Use Management Zambia (PELUM Zambia)
14. Zambia Climate Change Network (ZCCN)
15. Zambia Community Based Natural Resources Management Forum (CBNRM Forum)
16. Zambia Land Alliance (ZLA)
17. Zambia Relief and Development Foundation (ZRDF)
18. Zambia Rural Women’s Assembly

 

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75 COMMENTS

  1. Nonsense! This shouldn’t be allowed to happen. These big corporations are ripping people off. I have seen a similar thing in the US (tight control of seeds). And with the implementation of this, it can be the from the frying pan into the fire situation

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    • Who are the dull leaders who even volunteered Zambia to be part of this nonsense.They must be jailed.When will you learn that that those people who fly into the country in suits do not have your best interests at heart.We need a court injunction to halt this.What does the honorable minister of Agriculture have to say?

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    • Why do people push themselves into leadership positions when they can’t function as leaders? Edgar Lungu is a disaster. He must be impeached.

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    • @mushota
      Don’t just look at the picture and start commenting, there is no mention of Dora. Lets not sign this protocol blindly as we have done before.

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    • Any one who has read Ngugi Wa Thiongo’s Devil on the Cross will learn that very soon man will annihilate himself.

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  2. What a tragedy to have no brains. What head sickness is this being exhibited by our so called Political leaders?

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  3. Please BA Minister Agric, Baka TEKA your excellence, help us in this matter. We should not support this course and we should not allow it to happen here in Zambia. I dread to find ourselves in that situation where we may be taken to prison for replanting the seed from your harvest after buying it from patent owner. There is a likely hood that indigenous seeds will be high jacked by organized cartels to prohibit growing, unless you buy , something which is not happening now. Please, please intervene in this matter
    Concerned Peasant farmer

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  4. Have these Kangaroos not heard about Donald Trump’s war cry? Have they not heard about BREXIT? Are they not following the developments in France? The whole Developed World is waking-up to the ugly reality that GLOBALIZATION is catastrophic to domestic economies. What kind of food is Edgar Lungu eating at State House that is making him to think like a home-schooled baboon? How far are we going to go along this road to disaster before we make a U-turn?

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  5. Jeez I can’t really follow what the h3ll is being talked about in this article… quotes just pop up everywhere without ‘warning’. I’m getting the overall message though. 🙁

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  6. Thank you to the organisations against this NEW FORM OF SLAVERY!! ALL THESE ARE SCHEMES BY DEVELOPED COUNTRIES AIMED AT KEEPING US IN TOTAL BONDAGE TO THEM THROUGH THEIR MULTINATIONALS! He who CONTROLS the SEED,controls the FOOD and PEOPLE’s DESTINY! THIS and the UNDISCLOSED IMPENDING PRIVATIZATION OF STATE ENTERPRISES SHOULD BE FOUGHT AND NEVER BE ALLOWED TO HAPPEN!!

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  7. Edgar lungu no longer resides in Zambia, his a global citizen on a site seeing holiday. At least
    our Good corrupt friend from the East nyama soya used to go on working holidays unlike this
    deserter whose limped out of Zambia like a mad kangaroo and let citizens suffer for his incompetency.
    Who are these criminals to control what seed we use and where are the Zambian graduates from 1964 such that we cant make our own seed?

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  8. Anyone betting on this belinda of an agriculture mini skirt to over turn this foolish mistake are in for a shock of their lives.

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  9. This is a very sensitive issue that has been trivialized by poor reporting. Like someone has already has said above, he controls the seed ,controls life.

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  10. Anyone betting on this belinda of an agriculture mini skirt to over turn this f**lish mistake are in for a shock of their lives.

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  11. The history of ARIPO goes back to the early seventies when a Regional Seminar on patents and copyright for English – speaking African countries was held in Nairobi. That seminar recommended that a regional industrial property organization be set up. In 1973 the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) responded to a request by these English-speaking countries for assistance in pooling their resources together in industrial property matters by establishing a regional organization. Following a number of meetings at ECA headquarters in Addis Ababa and WIPO in Geneva, a draft Agreement on the Creation of the Industrial Property Organization for English-speaking Africa (ESARIPO) was prepared. This agreement, now known as the…

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  12. This agreement, now known as the Lusaka Agreement, was adopted by a Diplomatic Conference held in Lusaka, Zambia on December 9, 1976. Reasons for establishing ARIPO
    REASONS
    ARIPO was mainly established to pool the resources of its member countries in industrial property matters together in order to avoid duplication of financial and human resources. Thus the preamble to the Lusaka Agreement clearly states that member states are “aware of the advantage to be derived by them from the effective and continuous exchange of information and harmonization and co-ordination of their laws and activities in industrial property matters”. Member states also recognized that the “creation of an African regional industrial property organizationfor the study and promotion of and co-operation in…

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  13. Member states also recognized that the “creation of an African regional industrial property organizationfor the study and promotion of and co-operation in industrial property matters would best serve” that purpose.
    OBJECTIVES
    In determining its objectives, the founding fathers of the organization took into account the fact that, at that time, the majority of the countries concerned had “dependent industrial property legislations” which did not provide for original grant or registration in the countries concerned but could only extend to their territories the effects of industrial property rights obtained in a foreign country (in most cases the United Kingdom). Such effects were normally governed by law of the foreign country.

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  14. BUT WHY HAS ALL THIS COME AT THE ELEVENTH HOUR, WHAT WERE THEY DOING ALL THIS WHILE? YOU FELLAS IN PARLIAMENT WE NEED A STATEMENT FROM DOLLAR RIGHT AWAY!

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  15. What we choose! The man we elected – indisputably having the best time of his life, flying from one country to another! But what exactly is he up-to? What is he trying to archive? Do we know? Now that we are beginning to see, should we fault him or blame ourselves????

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  16. The objectives of the Organization, as enshrined in Article III of the Lusaka Agreement, show that, cooperation in industrial property is intended to achieve technological advancement for economic and industrial development of the member states. This cooperation is reflected in the objectives of the Organization which are:

    a.to promote the harmonization and development of the industrial property laws, and matters related thereto, appropriate to the needs of its members and of the region as a whole;
    b.to foster the establishment of a close relationship between its members in matters relating to industrial property;
    c.to establish such common services or organs as may be necessary or desirable for the co-ordination, harmonization and development of the industrial property…

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  17. “How horrible it will be for any country where the king used to be a servant and where the high officials throw parties in the morning.” (God’s Word) Ecl. 10:16
    “Woe to the land whose king was a servant and whose princes feast in the morning.” (NIV)
    Ecl. 10:16

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  18. d.to establish schemes for the training of staff in the administration of industrial property law;
    e.organize conferences, seminars and other meetings on industrial property matters;
    f.to promote the exchange of ideas and experience, research and studies relating to industrial property matters;
    g.to promote and evolve a common view and approach of its members on industrial property matters;
    h.to assist its members, as appropriate, in the acquisition and development of technology relating to industrial property matters;
    i.to do all such other things as may be desirable for the achievement of these objectives.

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  19. Prov. 20:1 on Zambian leaders:
    Wine is a mocker and beer a brawler; whoever is led astray by them is not wise. (NIV)
    Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise. (ESV)
    Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler, And whoever is intoxicated by it is not wise. (NAS)
    Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise. (KJV)
    Wine is a mocker, beer is a brawler, and whoever staggers because of them is not wise. (HCS)
    Wine is strong and drunkenness is disgraceful, and no one that is excessive in it is wise. (ABPE)
    Wine is a mocker, strong drink is riotous; And whosoever reeleth thereby is not wise. (JPST)
    Wine is a scorner, strong drink is raging; and whoso erreth thereby is not wise. (DBT)
    Wine is a scorner –…

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    • Prov. 20:1 on Zambian leaders continued:

      Wine is a scorner — strong drink is noisy, And any going astray in it is not wise. (YLT)

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  20. The article is very misleading. I see nothing wrong with national crop/plant breeders owning intellectual property (IP). Without proper IP we see our new varieties been planted and grown within Zambia or in other countries at the financial detriment to breeders/brains that worked hard to produce the seeds. Strengthening UPOV and similar structures in the region will allow our breeders right to register their IPs in various countries. Some of the big companies in seed production do not even pay loyalty to private/NGO or government breeders. And they are in the forefront to fund protests. This is natural science (NS) and has to paid for. The IP does not affect a local farmers or end-user of the seed.

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    • Seed should never be patented. It is natural and belongs to no one. People like you have an illness called selfishness. This patenting has brought a lot of problems to farmers in many countries who are being sued for abrogating patents! I cannot believe you can just fart around supporting nonsense! Are you a martian?

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    • A seed is not an invention. That is why many people believe that patents on seeds are illegitimate. Seed is owned by farmers who sowed, bred, saved and exchanged it for thousands of years. Sadly, the arrival of commercial seed industries like Monsanto, Du Pont, Syngenta and Bayer has changed the whole picture. These multinational corporations have successfully taken away the ownership of seeds from the hands of the farmers in the form of patents. It is now time for farmers to ward off these ill motivated companies for good.

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    • @Bang Bang. when someone clones yellow-fleshed cassava variety for improved nutrition, early bulking variety, disease-resistant variety, you call that not an invention. the recycling of seed and local landraces of thousands of years has led to hunger and severe malnutrition because they are characterized with low yields and reduced nutritional traits. to ward off multinational corporations we will need good regulatory policies. we have none in developing countries. unfortunately for Zambia whose 60% if not all of the national budget funded by the same donor/multinational corporations has no say.

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  21. We are outstanding cultivators of insipidity. Why do our leaders insist on dark-corner meetings? What is wrong with transparency and openness? Is not this what breeds corruption? When are we going to start learning and grow-up?

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  22. @ Abena ntwenu @21. It is scarring because our country should not be infested by these lab seeds. What some of the seeds do is to impact the yield of natural seeds because if you are neighbours with someone using these artificial seeds, the fact is at pollination stage, there is likely to be a negative impact on local yields. Secondly, these seeds will need to be treated with chemicals made by the same seed suppliers hence enriching the owners more than the users. In short you are likely to be enslaved by such. It like creating a software and a virus together with an antivirus to get more. Open your eyes.

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    • @Timbwi. I agree with you. But note this is not new and UPOV is an international treat and does not enforce country regulations. It’s unfortunate that Zambia system is very porous. We have no strong control measures against germplasms coming into Zambia in which case we are likely to receive wrong materials that may have a negative impact on yields and other biological traits. I suggest we built strong regulations on the subject. As we debate today we have lots of cassava germplasm from Nigeria into Zambia. the effect this might have on our soils in long run is the question. I think the treaty will make us come up with strong policies on exchange of seed/plant materials between countries. the chemicals is another issue, but have always made outsiders rich by importation of agricultural…

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  23. Can we here from government? This is a new one and I will need to print a copy for a better perusal.

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  24. @Patriot
    I said new varieties. You can always conduct the determination of innovation in new plant breeds. where biotechnology of crops is a concern, IP is a strong subject. Local landraces/ recycled seed materials are never patented.
    My background dictates that I can never insult you. I have a moral obligation to make sure debased pitched is issue based and not insults.

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  25. Do call a meeting with the concerned organizations and listen to hear from them. These people are representing a cross section of society. Hear us your exceleny Mr. EC Lungu.

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  26. Mosanta is eagerly waiting to introduce its own GMO seeds that can only be used once so you are enslaved to them and keep going back like we do with Global Pharmastical patented medicine.
    We let corrupt empty tins decide our future.

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  27. MPs from all parties are useless. MP requirements should have been a grade twelve certificate, plus a diploma from a reputable college or university.

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    • Better yet, an mp or president requirement should be that they are a pan africanist. Pantu we have seen that what we call education is actually miseducation. How do u explain Dr.Matibini chasing mps clothed in chitenge attire(men) as inappropriately dressed and allow someone so longbas they are in a western style suit or attire??

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  28. But ba Upnd how can you blame Edgar on this nonsense when it was started in 1976 when even HH was teenager? Just advise how it can be stopped. Next you’ll blame Edgar when GBM develops constipation.

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    • That’s the problem with PF – inability to think. 1976 is as dated as one party state, participatory democracy and Kaunda. It is time for new thoughts. Zambia needs its own Zamexit monent.

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    • Not a PF problem but a Zambian problem. We don’t who committed the country and therefore instead of making wild allegations let’s find out how Zambia can be pulled out and if it’s possible. So far apart from this article I’ve not any “official ” statement from government.

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  29. It will be sad if Zambia or any other countries adopt this, greedy and corruption is motivation to make such decision.

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  30. WE URGENTLY NEED ONLINE PETITION THAT WE CAN SIGN AND SEND TO THE PRESIDENT. LET A CREDIBLE FARMING ORGANISATION START THE PETITION AND WE ARE READY TO PUT OUR NAMES.

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  31. We are already seeing the mess. Billions are spent on a flimsy ceremony to sign a document that is later declared to be full of lacunas!!! We have entire nations signing up to the ICC and when the fire in the kitchen gets hot they start accusing those who REFUSED to sign from the outset and then use that as a reason to back out. There are countless of headless things our mediocre rulerships (they are NOT leaders) are taking us into headlong without doing due diligence and feasibility. Any such feasibility is a payment that will breed a commission so it is use.less ultimately. Awe mwe!!! Focus people, focus!!!

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  32. No one is speaking from an Intellectual Property Guru point of view. Zambia has been a member of ARIPO even before you knew about Edgar Lungu….Ask your selves why a petition would come at the last minute when the leaders of these organisations are just interested in politics…petitions…ECL…HH…GBM…Amos Chanda…Linda Kasonde…Kambwili….only to wake up when the ARIPO gathering is set to sign the agreement they feel disadvantages them….The BEST they can do is ask for reforms in the Intellectual Property Space…period! TOO LATE!

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  33. This is all Monsanto’s cruel and dangerous Monopolistion on African farming, they only want to force their own “evil” Gernenically Modified(GM) seeds on us, poor Africans…. Am sure Edgar and co. have been bought already, these Coperations have got so much money, they can buy anything standing in their way..

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  34. From the point of view of being; a clergy, a patriot / citizen of the world, researcher in the field of plant genetic resources, and an avid reader of law, economics and development; I whole heartedly support the call by the 18 civil society organization to fight against the domestication of the Arusha Protocol on the protection of new varieties of plants (adopted by member states in July 2015) for the following reasons;

    Seed is the very essence of life. It is central to our diverse cultures, foods, ecologies, knowledge systems and economies. But seed is under siege. It has been colonized and commodified by elite interests that support and promote destructive industrial agriculture, which is costing the Earth.

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  35. While industrial agriculture feeds less than a third of the world’s population, it monopolises our land and water. This system – with its monocultures, hybrid and genetically modified seeds, chemical inputs and high fossil fuel consumption – is a leading contributor to climate change and environmental degradation. It creates unhealthy communities, poisoning us and filling our stomachs with corrupt calories, mostly devoid of nutrients. It also undermines and marginalises the diverse smallholder farming systems that have nourished us for centuries, creating economic dependencies and locking farmers into cycles of debt. It is rapidly being viewed as an out-dated approach that is unable to respond to the changes the world is facing.

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  36. To affirm the centrality of seed and its meaning in our lives, the following are key to take into serious consideration:
    1. Smallholder farmers and indigenous peoples ? particularly women ? are the custodians of
    rich knowledge on cultivation methods, seed management, and the uses and preparation of
    food and medicine. Traditional seed management practices select and share seed in response
    to environmental and cultural niches, plus taste and health, and are thus critical to optimising
    production for food and nutrition security, as well as managing climate risk. This bio cultural
    diversity and indigenous knowledge must be made visible, reaffirmed and valued, including in national and international policy.
    2. It was recognised that culture, like seed, is constantly adapting, and we…

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  37. 2. It must be recognised that culture, like seed, is constantly adapting, and we must innovate new ways of connecting with the earth and with each other. Seed and food festivals help to reconnect communities with the spiritual basis of food plus its role in building cohesive, cooperative societies.

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  38. 3. Gene banks are vital components of a farmer-led seed system, but must be re-imagined as more proactive participants in a dynamic system of seed sharing, restoration and revival which respects traditional knowledge and serves the needs of smallholder farmers first. This should include access to gene bank materials and their repatriation to farmers.

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  39. 4. Household and community seed banks should be supported to foster seed diversification and conservation appropriate to the needs, capacities and different ecological and social contexts of farmers, recognising that seed banks are elements of dynamic systems of seed exchange, use and constant breeding.

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  40. 5. Access to appropriate and affordable seed and knowledge are vital for smallholder farmers.
    Support the de-co modification of seed systems through ensuring sufficient availability of
    useable, quality seed at the right times. Seed should be selected by farmers and for farmers,
    using modern science to support where needed.

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  41. 6. Support should be given to on-farm production and distribution, recognising the vital role
    played by local exchange and seed sharing in achieving food and nutrition security and
    affirming relationships with each other and with the soil.

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  42. 7. Science and traditional knowledge should be recognised as complementary contributors
    to research and solution finding. Multi-disciplinary research teams and farmers can be
    more creative and innovative when co-producing knowledge and evidence in collaborative
    processes based on respect and support. To facilitate this, an effort must be made to
    translate and disseminate research and scientific evidence in formats that are accessible for
    farmers, and to support farmers with appropriate and relevant science.

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  43. 8. It must be contended that policies, institutions and budgets at all levels (i.e. local, national, regional, and global) must be reformed to support farmer-led seed systems. This must include the reallocation of hidden and overt subsidies for industrial agriculture.

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  44. 9. The youth are vital to the reinvigoration of farmer-led seed systems. Interest in seed and
    local farming systems and their contemporary relevance should be stimulated through
    innovation in appropriate technology, product development, and communication that
    attracts and involves the youth. Interdisciplinary training programmes should be developed
    and implemented that provide the space for youth to pursue careers based on alternative,
    sustainable agricultural futures, enabling and stimulating a diverse array of thriving local
    initiatives.

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  45. 10. Mounting evidence should be documented and effectively communicated to show that
    agro ecological systems are highly productive, resilient, and adaptive and contribute to
    cooling and healing the Earth.

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  46. 11. All sectors should work to bring their different knowledge, experiences and skills together to support and assist farmer-led seed systems practically.

    I I therefore strongly urge the responsible Minister and the President of The Great Republic of Zambia to hear this serious call and intervene appropriately in fervour of the greater good of the Zambian people. God Bless Zambia.

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  47. Why do us Zambians dont want to be independent? Why do we want our lives to be controlled by foreigners and/or foreign policies?? IMF now ARIPO Arusha?? Its so sad that we have these kind of leaders who will never act like leaders even for once by doing the right things. Early this year the Government had a move of importing farmers from South Africa, this is the most useless move i have heard this entire year. Why import a farmer when you have a lot of them in your country?? Why not teach them and support them in any way possible?. The very moment you have ‘leaders’ who dont care about protecting its people thats the moment your country starts dying and going into slavery. SAD NEWS. ALL well meaning Zambians should stand up and VOTE against this ARIPO Arusha PROTOCAL.

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