Advocating for agrobiodiversity


Advocating for agrobiodiversity conservation in policy and practice

Agricultural biodiversity encompasses the variety and variability of plants, animals and micro- organisms at genetic, species and ecosystem level which are necessary to sustain key functions in the agro-ecosystem, its structures and processes for, and in support of, food production and food security. It is a vital element of human life and sustainability of mother earth since it underpins ecosystem functions, ecological health and human livelihoods. Despite their utmost importance to human being, various crops and varieties are rapidly eroding from their important habitats. The extinction is rapid, irreversible and irreplaceable in several cases due to various natural and man-made factors including climate change, which is leading to the erosion of important gene pools and associated knowledge. Both global and national level efforts have been made to curb the loss but that has remained inadequate, further threatening the loss of agrobiodiversity and livelihoods.

TABIO calls for joint efforts in agrobiodiversity conservation through:

  1. Advocating for conducive policy and legal framework environment that recognize and support farm saved seed
  2. Advocate for agricultural biodiversity assessment and monitoring. Surveys and assessments of agricultural biodiversity and its importance to local communities should always be made. This can be done using GIS to determine percentage of agro-ecosystem covered by different biodiversity to enable identification of which parts of the agro-ecosystem are priority concerns and which are not.
  • Promoting farmer-to-farmer seed exchange mechanisms Including:
  • traditional one-to-one exchange between neighbours, relatives, etc;
  • seed fairs, which can be used to increase farmers’ awareness of farmers’ varieties found in other parts of the country;
  • importation and testing of farmers’ varieties from other areas to see if they meet local farmers’ needs;
  • establishment of community seed banks to allow seed or planting material of local varieties and minor crops to be kept safely from one season to another and to be made more widely available to local farmers.

Why Tanzania Alliance for Biodiversity (TABIO)?

The members of the alliance share the aims of conserving agro-biodiversity and supporting sustainable development, promoting farmers’ self-determination and food sovereignty, facilitating exchange of information and experiences