West African Peasant Seed Fair kicks off
Held in Burkina Faso, the event brings together peasants and civil society representatives from nine West African countries.
For three days, peasants and members from different CSOs will exchange their seeds and agroecological practices. They will also take the opportunity to scale up their advocacy for the legal recognition of peasant seed systems.
80 per cent of the seeds used by West African peasant farmers are selected by them in their fields and constantly adapted to local conditions. Peasant seed systems guarantee the right to food and nutrition of rural communities and the entire West African population. Yet, at the moment, policies and laws tend to focus on the promotion of commercial seeds, and several West African states are experimenting with GMOs. This scenario threatens peasants’ rights and agroecological production systems.
West African peasant organizations have strengthened their networks to assert their rights over seeds. Thanks to their mobilization and pressure, the governments in countries like Mali and Burkina Faso are currently revising their seed policy. The next step is to push for a West African framework that recognizes and protects peasant seed systems.
The West African Seed Fair is organized by the West African Committee for Peasant Seeds (COASP), a member of the West African Convergence of Land and Water Struggles.