17th May 2000

Farmers invite Delegates to their Seed Fair

Monday, more than 25 farmers from Ethiopia Kenya, Uganda and Zimbabwe showed delegates their seeds and sent a strong message to the COP...

"Hear us...make sure your decisions support us. We are the people who made agricultural biodiversity and are its guardians...".

Their words were listened to by a crowd of people and guests of honour Ambassador Mary Odinga and the Deputy Director of UNEP.

Over 100 varieties of seeds were on display representing the collections of several communities. Special characteristics were discussed by the knowledgeable guardians of diversity - the farmers. Delegates were invited to listen to their stories.

As Amina Njeru, a farmer form Tharaka, Kenya said "COP should ensure continuity of farmers' guardian role for a major part of global biodiversity".

Ambassador Odinga and the UNEP Director echoed these sentiments and supported the call for farmer-centered programmes, especially on agricultural biodiversity and drylands.

This recommendation has been made by the farmers at GBF 15 workshop on Agricultural Biodiversity:

"The two Programmes of Work on Agricultural Biodiversity and Dry and Sub-Humid Lands must be centered on farmers, including pastorialists, fisherfolk and hunter gatherers. The Convention and its Parties should give full support to actions by farmers that conserve and sustainably use/maintain agricultural biodiversity and reflect such actions in their National Reports."

The Seed Fair is on display in the Upper Lobby in UNEP for the whole of this week.

A briefing session on Agricultural Biodiversity and the launch of the ITDG book Encouraging Diversity will be held on Thursday 18th Many at 2.00pm in Room 8.

More news from COP V

  Farmers' Voices, Farmers' Rights
What is COP V?
Agricultural biodiversity
ITDG's position
Abc research
Sustainable livelihoods workshop
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