For thousands of years, small farmers around the world have been the guardians of the knowledge and endogenous genetic heritage of local communities. Through cultivation, replication and propagation, they have created an incredible diversity of varieties. In Niger, over 60% of farmers select their own seeds – a system that ensures food security, health and long-term adaptability to climate change.
As the seed industry continues to gain ground, traditional farming seed systems in the South are under increasing pressure. Most countries adopt seed laws without the knowledge and/or the effective participation of the farmers, yet directly concerned. These laws restrict the use of peasant seeds in favour of industrial seed varieties.
Fighting ignorance through information and training is one of the key solutions to deal with the powerful lobby of the seed industry. Therefore, SWISSAID, with the support of BEDE (Biodiversité, Échanges et Diffusion d’Expériences), has produced this brochure to raise awareness among Nigerian farmers and the organisations that represent them. This brochure brings together in one document the legal framework and political guidelines in force in Niger. The recommendations formulated in the brochure have already been relayed by the Nigerian agro-ecology platform “Raya Karkara”, which defends traditional peasant seed systems undermined by the seed industry.