BY STEVE EPHRAEM
FRIDAY, 29 September 2023 is a day to diaries in the promotion and celebration of food and seed sovereignty in Zimbabwe. It is the day when the National Seed Festival will be held at the Harare Botanical Gardens.
The event is earmarked to be graced by multi-stakeholders who include small-scale farmers and seed custodians, government ministries and departments, civil society organisations, private sector, media, and the general public.
The festival which is open for all who want to attend shall comprise of various traditional dances from different parts of Zimbabwe, mbira, drama, dialogue on seed and food issues as well as the sharing, exchange and trade of farmer managed seeds.
A road show that will visit major bus terminuses in Harare including Mbare, Fourth Street, and Market Square bus terminuses shall be held to raise awareness on and promoting the consumption of traditional foods.
Programmes Coordinator for the Participatory Ecological Land Use Management (PELUM) Zimbabwe, Theophilus Mudzindiko, said that his organisation ZSSP are complementing government efforts to strengthen production and consumption of traditional grains a well as promoting sustainable and resilient agriculture.
“Every year we focus on celebrating a particular traditional food and this year our focus will be on millets as we join the rest of the world in celebrating 2023 as the international year of millets.
“Our theme as the Zimbabwe Seed Sovereignty Programme (ZSSP) this year is ‘Celebrating the wonder of Zimbabwean Millets,’ in particular we are promoting Barnyard Millet (locally known as Svoboda) which was popular in some parts of Masvingo province.
“Barnyard Millet had become a lost variety which was rediscovered during a baseline survey done by one of the partners of the ZSSP, Zimbabwe Smallholder Organic Farmers’ Forum (ZIMSOFF) in Bikita. Svoboda is a classic example of forgotten and underutilised crops which are hotspots of nutrition and resilience,” he said.
The Zimbabwe Seed Sovereignty Programme is an initiative being implemented in seven districts of Zimbabwe with the goal of increasing the resilience of small-scale farmers through seed sovereignty and Agroecology.
To this end the ZSSP hosts an annual National Seed Festival as part of the Annual two-day Good Food and Seed Festival, whose goal is to promote the growing and consumption of safe, healthy, and nutritious traditional Zimbabwean food.
PELUM Zimbabwe on behalf of the Zimbabwe Seed Sovereignty Programme is thus inviting farmers, government line ministries, members of the public, the fourth estate, Civil Society Organisations, private sector and all other interested persons and organisations to come and join us as we celebrate our very own Zimbabwean seeds and food, and drive towards seed and food sovereignty.
PELUM Zimbabwe is a network comprising of dynamic civil society organisations and individuals working in Zimbabwe and promoting agroecological practices that are socially acceptable, ecologically sound and economically viable.