Successful Food Systems Require Biodiversity

ImageSeeds for Life: Scaling up Agrobiodiveristy, a new report by the Gaia Foundation, Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance and the African Biodiversity Network,  highlights why agricultural biodivesrity is required for successful food systems in the face of climate change. The report explains how industrialized farming techniques and agribusiness methods do not provide viable solutions to food production. Programs such as UPOV/Plant Breeder’s Rights, The G8 New Alliance for Food Security and Nutritional, AGRA, as well as attempts to harmonize African seed laws, all lead to the erosion of biodiversity by favoring farmers’ dependence on seeds owned by multinational corporations. These schemes focus on small varieties of seeds grown in monocultures and aim to criminalize farmers’ tradition of exchanging and saving seeds which,  as a result, has led to a loss of 75% of agricultural diversity in the last few decades. As the study states, genetic diversity, rather than uniformity, allows farmers to increase the likelihood that a portion of their seeds will germinate under difficult conditions.

AGRA Watch supports the report’s conclusion that “farmer’s complex farming knowledge, and their right to save, adapt, exchange and sell seed must be recognized and protected in policy and practice…[and] any serious response to climate change must support agroecological practices, seed diversity, and farmers’ knowledge systems.”
To read Seeds for Life: Scaling up Biodiversity and view a list of recommendations to support resilient food systems and food sovereignty, visit www.gaiafoundation.org
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