Earlier this month, Other Worlds, an organization that promotes
economic justice, environmentally sound systems, and meaningful democracy, published the first article of their seven part series on African seed and food sovereignty. The article, “We
Are the Solution: African Women Organize for Land and Seed Sovereignty,” features information gathered during an interview with Mariama Sonko, a farmer and organizer in the Casamance region of Senegal. Sonko is the National Coordinator of We Are the Solution, a campaign for food sovereignty led by West African women.
The article discusses the discrepancy between the important role that African women play in agriculture, and the minimal control that they have over agriculture. In terms of conserving native seeds, producing and processing agricultural products, and marketing and selling those products, women dominate African agriculture. However, when it comes to land access, land use, and land ownership, female control is extremely limited, and as a result, land is underutilized. We Are the Solution works to raise awareness of this issue and to advocate for more rights for female farmers.
Additionally, the article discusses We Are the Solution’s promotion of agroecology and food sovereignty. The organization facilitates workshops, forums, and community radio broadcasts to encourage the preservation of the environment and biodiversity through the use of domestic resources that are both affordable and accessible.
Along with We Are the Solution, AGRA Watch feels that agroecology and seed and food sovereignty, not the industrial agricultural model pushed by the Gates Foundation, allows for the long-term health of Africans and their environment.
Our next post will cover the second article of this seven-part series, “Dangers of the Gates Foundation: Displacing Seeds and Farmers,” which features the founder and director of the African Centre for Biodiversity, and AGRA Watch partner, Mariam Mayet.