A farmers’ perspective on the Access to Seeds Index 2016 and the way forward
This report (PDF) published by the Access to Seeds Foundation documents the farmers’ consultation on the Access to Seed Index 2016. This consultation consisted of four meetings in Goma (DR Congo), Hanoi (Vietnam), Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso) and Johannesburg (South Africa). In total 35 farmer-led organizations from 26 countries participated in these events, with over 135 participants. These meetings marked the start of the development process towards the second Access to Seeds Index scheduled for 2019. Farmers’ organizations gave considerably more attention to the impact of climate change than during the previous farmers’ consultation in 2013. Since then, farmers have seen and experienced the impact of changes in weather conditions on growing seasons and growing conditions. Farmers’ organizations mentioned the impact of climate change as a reason why they are interested in the Access to Seeds Index as an instrument to facilitate the discussion between farmers and the seed industry. Farmers need access to climate resilient varieties and they see the private seed sector as an important channel to supply these. However, many farmers’ organizations are cautious regarding the potential effects on availability of traditional varieties, preservation of crop diversity, and farmer rights to save and produce their own seed. The farmers’ organizations voiced their support for developing Regional Indexes for Asian countries and Western and Southern Africa. The meetings underlined the need to include farmer cooperatives, associations and community seed enterprises in the overall Index assessment. The definition of “access to seeds” was reconfirmed and priorities for indicator development were identified during the meetings.