by wim hiemstra on July 13, 2011

Finger Millet Magic

Traditional seed varieties and livestock breeds contribute more to sustainable economic development then modern varieties and breeds

The picture shows an Indian farmer with finger millet who is supported by the organic farming producer company Sahaja Samruda. (www.sahajasamrudha.org). On 25 March 2011 Olivier de Schutter, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food presented his report ‘Agro-ecology and the Right to Food’ to the UN Human Rights Council. Some views expressed:

‘Agro-ecology delivers advantages that are complementary to better known conventional approaches such as breeding high-yielding varieties. And it strongly contributes to the broader economic development.’

‘Agro-ecology also puts agriculture on the path of sustainability by de-linking food production from the reliance on fossil energy (oil and gas). It contributes to mitigating climate change by both increasing carbon sinks in soil organic matter and above-ground biomass’.

‘Farmers often receive commercial varieties as part of a package that includes credit (often vouchers), seed, fertilizer and pesticide.  Such a development may be consistent with a linear idea of progress favouring the replacement by high-yielding varieties of traditional crop varieties in the most productive areas. Yet it is a deeply problematic development even apart from the increased dependency of farmers it leads to.’

‘Farmers’ seed systems may be particularly important to resource-poor farmers in resource-poor agro-ecological environments, because of the importance for production in such environments of locally adapted varieties.’

Would the economy be better off if the focus in agricultural development was shifted from high-yielding to traditional animal and crop varieties? Would food security be at stake during the transition period? Would food prices increase for urban consumers? Post your views and join the debate!


Reviewing our Roots from the ground up!

by admin on May 9, 2011

From the 18th to the 27th the Pan African COMPAS Network held a review of the programmes of its regional partners in Wa, Northern Ghana. The review was conducted in the context of the global COMPAS networks vision of “Self-sustaining communities, living in dignity, resilient to external and internal stresses, with a sense of belonging to their traditional worldviews”.

COMPAS partner CIKOD organised the Lawra Indigenous Food Festival. Each year the festival boasts an increasing variety of traditional foods making the community less dependent on single commerially viable cash crops.

Representatives from four organizations took stock of their work together in terms of systematizing their programme’s outputs, outcomes and impacts as they bring about positive changes in community well-being. These are the South African Endogenous Development Programme active in Lesotho, South Africa and Zimbabwe, MVIWATA, a network of Tanzanian Farmers and Masai pastoralist, PROMETRA, a Ugandan institute promoting traditional medicine and healing practices globally and CICIK A Ghanaian NGO specializing in local development based on peoples worldviews in the upper east region and the host of the event, the Center for Indigenous Knowledge and Organizational Development (CIKOD) active across Ghana.

On their way up to the Upper West Region of Ghana the party visited Forikrom community in Brong Ahafo Region where CIKOD has assisted a local NGO to revise traditional leadership. The paramount chief and the musicians of the communities gave its visitors a traditional welcome and showed them around their sacred caves ecotourism project. The chief explained how the Endogenous Development approach helped return benefits to the communities building on their own strengths.

In Wa the participants were joined by special guests in the person of the country Director of WaterAid, the regional minister of Environment and others. The review meeting led by Peter Gubbles from Groundswell International and Bas Verschuuren from the COMPAS network exposed the tremendous value of the work that the COPMPAS partners have been carrying out over the last three years. The meeting came to a close with a full day visioning exercise on the future of the COMPAS Africa Network and identified the areas of food sovereignty, Biocultural Community Protocols, Sacred Natural Sites Conservation, Traditional Medicine, Traditional Leadership and the development of Endogenous Development Training Courses as important nodes securing the networks contribution to the future of Africa.

With a view on south to south learning the COMPAS partners participated in a celebration of indigenous food by the Lowry District Association of Women Farmers involved in reviving traditional seeds and foods supported by CIKOD. The dazzling variety of food and dishes formed the core of an educational exposition and a very tasty lunch for the entire village, visiting honourables and our guests from abroad.

By Bas Verschuuren (COMPAS) and Peggy Flanagan (CIKOD).


Bolivia enshrines natural world’s rights with equal status for Mother Earth

by wim hiemstra 12 April 2011

John Vidal, THE GUARDIAN – 10 April 2011. Bolivia is set to pass the world’s first laws granting all nature equal rights to humans. The Law of Mother Earth, now agreed by politicians and grassroots social groups, redefines the country’s rich mineral deposits as “blessings” and is expected to lead to radical new conservation and […]

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African BCP Initiative Inception Meeting in !Khwa-ttu

by basverschuuren 12 April 2011

From April 11-12, the inception meeting of the African Bio-Cultural Community Protocol Initiative (BCP Initiative) is taking place in !Khwa-ttu, Western Cape. The meeting is hosted by Natural Justice in partnership with the Access and Benefit Sharing Capacity Development Initiative for Africa (ABS Initiative), the Center for Indigenous Knowledge and Organizational Development (CIKOD), and the COMPAS […]

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Asian COMPAS meeting in Sri Lanka

by wim hiemstra 12 April 2011

A regional meeting of COMPAS partners from India, Sri Lanka and Vietnam has been held from 5-7 April 2011 near Kandy, Sri Lanka. The meeting discussed the results of a pilot where Future in Our Hands (FIOH) and Biodiversity Research and Training Centre (BRIT) have collected change stories to assess impact of the endogenous development […]

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