Farmer seed systems and sustaining peace
This discussion paper (PDF) by FAO examines the role of farmers’ seed systems in sustaining peace, with a focus on social cohesion as a pathway to positive local collective action. The underlying premise of this research is the assumption that farmers’ seed systems are themselves a form of positive local collective action for food security and nutrition. Conflicts heighten grievances, erode trust,undermine credibility of authorities and damage networks. Farmers’ seed systems, which are considered social and economic networks based on trust and reciprocity, may also be aﬀected by such types of conflict. However, precisely because of their nature as trust networks and their function in managing and exchanging agricultural biodiversity, farmers’ seed systems could also provide an important pathway to increased social cohesion through positive local collective action, resulting in the increased resilience of individuals, households and communities to conflict. The paper reveals that certain characteristics of farmers’ seed systems do contribute to sustaining peace, highlighting the two-way interaction of peace-building and agricultural development. Considering their potential in contributing to sustaining peace, it is important to be aware of the challenges that farmers’ seed systems are currently facing, with potentially severe impacts on the socio-ecological resilience of our global food and agriculture systems. The following three recommendations are suggested: 1) Further consideration should be given to strengthening social cohesion as part of peace-building activities before implementing agricultural development project; 2) The focus should be on locally owned action rather than external actors, peace-building in this context involves the restoration of a network of relationships or new arrangements for inclusive and participatory governance ; 3) Further research on positive examples should be undertaken.