Given the fact that farmers’ saved seeds that have always helped smallholder farmers over years to endure the pests, disease and drought periods are nowhere to be seen in most of agro dealer’s shops, smallholder farmers and members of MVIWATA are working hard to restore their seed sovereignty by producing traditional seeds using demonstration plots, exchange it among themselves and save it through establishing seed banks managed by farmers’ groups and networks.
Tanzania amended its legislation, which should give commercial investors faster and better access to agricultural land as well as a very strong protection of intellectual property rights. In the traditional days before interference in agriculture by industrial farming technologies, farmers had a diversity of crops which could survive the pests, disease and droughts. Soils were fertile because they were always covered with fruits trees and other perennials. Monoculture and growing for the markets has to be responsible for exposing small scale farmers to hunger and the indignity of surviving on relief food.
MVIWATA’s strategic plan (2017 – 2021) goal number two aims at ensuring that smallholder farmers are in control of production systems. In ensuring that this goal is well effected a number of activities are implemented including mobilizing farmers in groups and networks to inspire them to bring back indigenous knowledge on seed saving and conservation of biodiversity.
MVIWATA organizes trainings on sustainable production systems to smallholder farmers promoters (training of trainers) to share knowledge and experience on various aspects of farmer based seed systems, including seed sovereignty, seed production and seed processing and seed saving. Likewise, seed fairs are organized where farmers share, exchange and sell seeds. Stakeholders from both public and private sector are invited.