Policy Insights from ‘Farmer Seeds 2023’ Project: Nurturing Food Sovereignty

In our quest for sustainable agriculture and food sovereignty, the ‘Farmer Seeds 2023’ project has yielded invaluable policy briefs, exploring the transformation of agricultural practices and the role of peasant seeds in Tunisia. Supported by the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung and developed in collaboration with HOULOUL, these briefs offer essential insights into the critical issues of our time.

Policy Brief #1: “Agricultural Transition in Tunisia: The Significance of Peasant Seeds for Food Sovereignty” By Aymen AMAYED | September 19, 2023

This policy brief dives deep into the impact of introducing peasant seeds on Tunisia’s agricultural landscape. It scrutinizes the contrast between “food security” and “food sovereignty” and sheds light on how this shift has influenced social structures, especially within rural communities. Furthermore, it explores how this transformation has led to the displacement of traditional practices and local seed knowledge, gradually making farmers dependent on the new production system.

Policy Brief #2: “National Seed Catalog: Exploring Alternatives for Recognizing Peasant Seeds” By the HOULOUL Team | September 19, 2023

Policy brief number two zooms in on the technical norms governing the production and commercialization of agricultural seeds, with a specific focus on their impact on peasant seeds. It illustrates how these norms favor commercial and hybrid seeds at the expense of peasant seeds. The brief introduces fresh criteria for evaluating and registering agricultural seeds, prioritizing the preservation and use of peasant seeds to adapt to climate change and safeguard the rights of small-scale farmers.

Policy Brief #3: “Analyzing Law No. 42 of May 10, 1999” By Rami Ben Ali| September 19, 2023

This policy brief emphasizes that national laws and regulations cannot be understood and analyzed in isolation from the historical context in which they emerged and their connection to global dimensions and international agreements signed by Tunisia at that time. It discusses Law No. 42 of May 10, 1999, concerning seeds, seedlings, and plant reproductive materials, as a prime example of legislative dependency, closely aligned with international agreements, particularly the International Convention for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants of 1991 and the World Trade Organization Agreement of 1995. These agreements led to the repeal of Law No. 83 of 1961 and its replacement with Law No. 113 of 1976, which, in turn, was substituted by Law No. 42 of 1999, governing the organization and production of seeds. This transformation coincided with global events related to food, intensifying international efforts to create a new global system based on a unified production pattern, as witnessed in the International Convention for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants of 1961.

These policy briefs, stemming from the ‘Farmer Seeds 2023’ project, are instrumental in understanding the intricate dynamics of food sovereignty, agricultural sustainability, and the legal frameworks governing seed production and distribution. 

As a reminder, these publications are open for quoting, as long as proper reference to the original publication is provided, in accordance with the guidelines of the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung. Additionally, please note that the views expressed in these briefs are solely the responsibility of the authors and may not necessarily reflect the stance of the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung.

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