The working group is seen as a multi stakeholder engagement platform where CSOs and private sector players come together and discuss issues that are pertinent within the sector in line with seed and food sovereignty and policy issues. The meeting was held at Zambezi Ranching a farm based enterprise that produces open pollinated seed. The major reason for holding the meeting at the farm was to accustom the members on the operations of Zambezi seeds and appreciate how the seed is bred at a small scale level.
The working group meeting aims were:
- Agree on the way forward on the perceived review of the biotechnology and biosafety policy currently under way.
- Update on the land grab and displacements taking place in the Chalimbana river basin
- Capacity building of members and MPS on the contents of the policies under review.
At least 22 members were present. Issues discussed brought the following issues that came out of the meeting:
The following were the successes of the meeting:
• All members agreed to be active in terms of different activities done espacilly on policy issues.
• Managed to point out bring out the factors that would lead strengthen the working group such as having more information flow, regular updates and combined activities.
Challenges faced during the meeting
The following were the challenges faced during the meeting:
• Some members are not sharing information.
• Isolated activities hence not critical mass speaking in one voice.
• Frequency of meeting should be increased so as to maintain the momentum.
Recommendations (strengthening the group)
The following were recommendations made by members themselves:
• The stakeholders to share information to one another for the sake of the groups’ growth.
• Creating a WhatsApp group for easier communication.
• Allowing students to take notes on the meeting so that each and every member is reminded.
• Group members to identify activities on which they could engage.
• Sharing resources.
• Sharing of different ideas.
• Need for strengthening of the working group.
It was also noted that the working group needs to have varied issues to discuss for it to be more relevant to its members.