Advocating for Agro-Biodiversity


This project supports small-scale farmer and farmer support organizations in the region in their efforts to foster democratic debate over legal frameworks having an impact on food security, and more specifically: agro-biodiversity , farmers’ rights to use, save and exchange seeds, and the diverse forms of knowledge farmers develop and maintain. This project also helps farmers in defining the role they want to see State institutions play in protecting all of the above.

País / Região Tema Período Orçamento
Southern African Development Community (SADC)
Agriculture & food security
Rule of Law - Democracy - Human rights
Agricultural policy
01.07.2013 - 31.08.2016
CHF  1’850’000

State institutions and regional bodies in Southern Africa are having to come to terms with intellectual property and trade issues in relation to plant genetic resources for food, and simultaneously with issues having to do with farmers’ rights and biodiversity. National governments and their constituencies often do not master the terms of the debate that many call for around these issues. In the rare event consultative processes are organized, government representatives, small-scale farmer and farmer support organizations are frequently denied a voice. Yet, the impact that pieces of legislation currently on the drafting board are likely to have on small-scale farmers and the economies they support is a matter of concern.


The recognition in regional and national policies, laws, regulations and programs of women and men farmers’ diverse forms of knowledge, their rights to save, use and exchange seed, the importance of maintaining agro-biodiversity for food security, and the role of state institutions in protecting the above.

Grupos Alvo


  • Small-scale farmer organizations and farmer support organizations in the SADC region
  • National governments in the region, as well as regional blocks (SADC, EAC, COMESA, ARIPO, AU)
  • Small-scale farmers in the region who rely for the most part on informal, marginally commercial seed systems for their living and manage local ecosystems for present and future generations

    Resultados a médio prazo

  • A solid knowledge base on seed and soil fertility is available, and regularly accessed by small-scale farmer and farmer support organizations, policymakers and the general public in the region
  • Regional action-research and farmer support networks with a focus on seed and soil fertility strengthened and active at national and regional levels
  • Research and relevant information on seed and soil fertility policies, laws, regulations and programs shared among, and used by small-scale farmer and farmer support organizations in advocating and lobbying for agro-biodiversity for food security, farmers’ rights and agricultural R&D in line with their priorities
  • An innovative alert system in place, informing members of the network coordinated by the African Centre for Biosafety of new policy, legislative and regulatory initiatives related to seed, intellectual property and trade regimes in the region, and rapid response to alerts.
  • Resultados

    Resultados das fases anteriores:  

    No previous SDC-supported phases. Main results of ACB’s work during last three years include: creation of open spaces for public consultation with NGOs and farmer groups on key legislation processes in the region; substantive comments and engagement with COMESA on the harmonization of Biosafety laws in Africa; regional workshop with NGOs and farmer groups focusing on SADC/COMESA seed trade laws and policies.

    Direcção / Responsável no Departamento Federal SDC
    Área de financiamento Development cooperation
    Parceiros do Projecto Parceiro contractual
    International or foreign NGO
    • African Centre for Biosafety (Outcomes 1-4) Third World Network (Outcome 4)

    Orçamento Fase do projeto em curso Orçamento suíço CHF    1’850’000 Desembolsos Suíços até à data CHF    1’050’003
    Fases do Projeto Phase 3 01.09.2019 - 30.06.2024   (Completed) Phase 2 01.09.2016 - 31.08.2019   (Completed)

    Phase 1 01.07.2013 - 31.08.2016   (Completed)