BOOK LAUNCH – ‘African Perspectives on Agroecology: Why farmer-led seed and knowledge systems matter’

Edited by scholar-activist Rachel Wynberg, from SKI Partner UCT (University of Cape Town, DST/NRF Research Chair on Social and Environmental Dimensions of the Bio-Economy), the book includes the voices of 33 farmers, activists, scientists, scholars and policymakers, many of whom are associated with SKI.

Here is the publisher’s presentation of the book:

Seed embodies life, power and culture and is at the heart of rich and varied cultures in Africa. But seed is under siege. With the world’s food and agricultural systems increasingly industrialized, homogenized, and privatized, seed epitomizes the struggles involved and is symbolic of the deep injustices that have emerged. These include everything from the policies that benefit commercial farmers and seed an agro-chemical companies – at sever cost to the environment, climate, and small-scale farmers – to the new wave of philanthropy, promoting Green Revolution approaches of genetic modification and quick-fix nutritionism as a remedy for the poor, despite their failure elsewhere in the world. 

Africa’s seemingly ‘unproductive’ lands are now viewed as the last frontier for agribusiness. Yet there is little documented about the resilience of local seed systems, and the innovative approaches adopted by small-scale farmers to retain agrobiodiversity, and to pursue agroecological approaches to farming that not only produce sufficient food but also eliminate harmful inputs.

Western, scientific, and traditional knowledges are beginning to mingle in transformative ways, and inspiring pioneers in the formal structures of government and research institutions are demonstrating that another way is possible. Social movements, long silent in Africa, are emerging as a powerful force for change, alongside the NGOs who provide support to farmers at different levels.

Uniquely, this book offers a contribution that is enriched by the collaborative, creative and critical voices of African farmers, activists, scientists, scholars, and policymakers. Their viewpoints combine in this volume to articulate a shared dynamic vision of a world where agriculture is productive, diverse, and sustainable; where different ways of seeing and knowing are respected; and where seed and food systems are in the hands of farmers and local communities’.

‘African Perspectives on Agroecology: Why farmer-led seed and knowledge systems matter’ is available free of charge as an e-book or downloadable PDF here:

A podcast of an interview with the editor, Rachel Wynberg, can be accessed here:

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Seed and Knowledge Initiative

The Seed and Knowledge Initiative (SKI) is a dynamic partnership of diverse southern African organisations committed to securing food sovereignty in the region.

We work with smallholder farmers to become more seed, food and nutritionally secure through farmer-led seed systems, improved crop diversity, and the revival of local knowledge systems. While we have relationships with a number of organisations and individuals all over the world, our primary stakeholders are the farmers we work with in Malawi, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

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