Smallholder Farmers’ Rights are Women’s Right
Most farms in developing and least developed countries are small, generally plots of less than two hectares of land. Smallholder farmers manage over 80% of the world’s estimated 500 million small farms and provide over 80% of the food consumed in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, contributing significantly to poverty reduction and food security. As much as 75% of global seed diversity in staple food crops is held and actively used by smallholder farms. However, despite their vital role in the global agricultural community, the participation and priorities of smallholder farmers – most of whom are women – are often neglected. Effective mechanisms giving smallholder farmers a voice in policymaking are imperative to address their needs and interests, to promote the conservation and sustainable use of plant genetic resources and more broadly, to ensure food security.
On July, 2019, the CEO of Simba Global, Mirtie Woldemichael visit Southern Ethiopia, Gedeo Zone, Irrecha Village. During her visit, she visited 8 women widow farmers and their families. Black Lion Coffee is now supporting those farmers and paying the tuition of their children to attend school. In addition, Mirtie participated in a school supply drive and donated money to support the expansion of the local village school.
Women and small farmers’ rights to participate in decision-making
The International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (PGRFA) was adopted in 2001 and came into effect in 2004. Article 9.2 (c) states that “each Contracting Party should, as appropriate, and subject to its national legislation, take measures to protect and promote Farmers’ Rights, including:
protection of traditional knowledge relevant to plant genetic resources for food and Agriculture;the right to equitably participate in sharing benefits arising from the utilization of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture; andthe right to participate in making decisions, at the national level, on matters related to the conservation and sustainable use of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture.”
However, as noted in a 2016 working paper of the Association for Plant Breeding for the Benefit of Society (APBREBES), “Farmers’ Right to Participate in Decision-making”, the operationalization of Article 9.2(c) at the national, regional and international levels is severely lacking. Farmers face considerable challenges in exercising their right to participate at all these levels, with the consequence that legal and policy decisions not only ignore their needs, but also adversely affect their freedom to operate and in some cases criminalize farmers’ right to freely use, save, exchange and sell farm saved seed/propagating material.
Our goal at Simba Global is to directly impact and help improve the farmer lives:
1) Protect and preserve the natural environment
2) Implement community – specific programs
3) Teach and implement sustainable farming techniques
4) Build and maintain soil productivity
5) Sustainable water access
6) Increase sustainable crop production
7) Economic organization
8) Supplement programs for newborns and their mothers
Adams, B. (2018, March 20). Smallholder Farmers' Rights are Women's Rights. Retrieved from https://www.globalpolicywatch.org/blog/2018/03/20/smallholder-farmers-womens-rights/