The event was covered in the southern province of Zambia in Mbabala and Sinazongwe districts. This was done in order to understand the issues from the people on the ground and to generate evidence of what the communities understand on the different policies that are being changed or enacted without their concern. At least 30 farmers were involved in the discussions.
Issues that were discussed centred on food and seed sovereignty food security, droughts that have hit the province and how the farmers are coping with the hunger situation.
Farmers and members that were present pointed out that:
• Government is not doing enough to build their capacity seed production.
• The traditional land races are at the verge of extinction, this is leading to loss of biodiversity.
• A number of people have seen their land losing its productive potential due to over reliance on agro chemicals promoted and distributed under FISP.
• There is a general hunger situation in the province due to the droughts. This calls for a paradigm shift in terms of agriculture. Need to focus more on local landraces.
• Need for PELUM to build capacity of farmers in policy discussions so that they are able to lobby government at their local level.
It was agreed that:
• PELUM to mobilise seed packs of local landraces for the farmers.
• More capacity building on lobby and advocacy among farmers so that they are able to engage with the local leadership.
• Policy briefs should be shared with the community members for awareness creation.
• Extension workers from government need to be capacity built so that they are able to understand policy issues.