Preparatory meeting were held and PELUM Zambia was elected to be the chair for the 2019 seed symposium. During these meetings a number of issues were discussed that include:
- Farmer participation
- Seed exchange and selling
Rationale of the symposium
The seed symposium will create a platform where the traditional seeds and foods will be showcased and celebrated. The showcasing and sharing of information will support increased recognition of traditional seed and food, as important contributors to the food system in terms of nutrition, economic empowerment, social and cultural heritage as well as political power.
CSOs in Zambia have for a long time worked on the promotion of traditional seeds, foods and their contribution to nutrition and food security. At national level, CSOs have held seed and food fairs as well as agricultural shows. However, these have been fragmented and, in some cases, isolated. Lessons have been learnt over the years and cases have been observed. Recently a number of CSOs went and participated in a similar festival in Zimbabwe.
The main objectives of the Zambian traditional seed and food festival are to:
• Raise awareness on the contribution seed and food make towards national food and nutrition security in attainment to aligned Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
• Echo success of government’s food diversification strategy which rests on their capacity to support and enhance Farmer Managed Seed Systems which lies on production of diverse traditional and nutritious foods.
• Engage government on the importance of recognizing local seed’s contribution to seed and food sovereignty in light of the current trend that does not support the informal seed sector.
• Strengthen farmer’s rights through farmer’s participation and expression as enshrined in the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture and the recent United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas, which protect the rights of farmers.
To achieve the main objectives during the symposium, the following specific objectives will need to be achieved:
• Provide learning and knowledge sharing opportunity to the public and stakeholders in the seed and food sector.
• Crate awareness on the role/s that traditional seeds, foods can play in national development and attainment of food and nutrition security.
• Create and understand pathways that can be explored to contribute to the country attainment of the SDGs that are aligned.
• Determine what policy to be in place to help the seed and food systems move in an inclusive and participatory direction for a resilience and diverse system.
• Public appreciation and celebration of local food and the Zambian farmers that enable its production and consumption
• Public and stakeholder awareness of issues of concern in seed and food sector in Zambia.
• Create a basis for future work in Zambia for the seed and food sector with a focus on democratic inclusion and accountability.
The symposium will have a number of events that will include the following:
• Farmers’ dialogue
• Exhibitions of diverse foods, food processing, and spices that are found in Zambia
• Seed displays from across Zambia highlighting the richness of traditional seed.
• Traditional live music
• Presentations from renowned traditional seed, food and nutrition promoters.