Our Work

News and Updates

Biowatch 20-year celebration in Durban


At its 20-year celebration event in Durban last night, Biowatch celebrated two decades of learning and activism to protect natural and agricultural biodiversity, advocating agroecology as the ecologically sustainable alternative to ensure food sovereignty and climate justice.

Biowatch Cape Town event celebrates 20 years


Justice Albie Sachs, the Constitutional Court Judge who ruled in the landmark Biowatch Case in June 2009, gave the keynote address at the Biowatch 20 year celebration in Cape Town last night.

A landmark celebration for a landmark organisation - Biowatch celebrates 20 years


In 2019, at events in Cape Town and Durban, Biowatch will be celebrating 20 years of learning, sharing and activism to protect natural and agricultural biodiversity across our country.

NEW book: Agroecology Is Best Practice


We're excited to announce that our new book Agroecology Is Best Practice: Biowatch South Africa's work with smallholder farmers is now available! The book, which was distributed in Rome at the beginning of October (during the 45th session of the UN Committee on World Food Security) and formally launched in Durban on Wednesday, explores the workings of eight homestead farms in northern KwaZulu-Natal. Click the heading above for more information and download/order links.

BioAfrica Convention: Open for the business of profit; closed to the questions that matter


This week the biotechnology industry meets at the Durban ICC. Themed "Africa - Open for business" the Convention will explore various ways in which African biodiversity can be exploited for agriculture, industry and health by providing a platform for stakeholders in the biotechnology environment. Biowatch joins a group of organisations, networks and individuals in rejecting the agenda to commodify our natural resources and traditional knowledge while displacing these with increasingly risky and untested technologies for the benefit of global capital. Click the heading above to download our Media Statement.

Approved Seed Bills undermine farmers' rights


The current versions of the Plant Breeders' Rights and Plant Improvement Bills not only limit livelihood strategies and potentially criminalise small-holder farmers, but also fail to proactively maintain and conserve farmer seed varieties, which carry the genetic adaptability required for the challenges we are likely to experience in the future with climate change. Click the heading above to download our Media Statement.

Agroecology for the 21st Century Conference


Partners in the Seed & Knowledge Initiative (including Biowatch South Africa) are delighted to invite expressions of interest in a Conference on Agroecology, scheduled for January 2019 at UCT in Cape Town. Click the heading above to download the call for participation. Note: the call is not confined to academic papers!

Submission: South Africa's accession to the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture and approval of the UPOV 1991 Convention


Biowatch made a submission to the Dept. of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries on South Africa's accession to the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture and approval of the UPOV 1991 Convention. Click the heading above to download the submission document.

Farmers' Roundtable Dialogue with government


Farmers in northern KwaZulu-Natal who have participated in the annual international March Against Monsanto, invited key decision-makers and government representatives to a Roundtable Dialogue in Mtubatuba on 23 May. Click the heading above to download the farmers' statement which is a reflection of their presentations made on the day.

Invitation to seminar: The impact of government agricultural and rural development policy on small-holder farmers in KwaZulu-Natal


Biowatch SA and the UKZN School of Built Environment and Development Studies invite you to a seminar on 20 March to explore these issues and to present a new Biowatch Research Paper. Click the heading above for more information.

Decolonise food production: a response to SONA 2018 from Biowatch South Africa


Now that the elation surrounding SONA has subsided we can look more soberly at what is being proposed. Click the heading above to read the full media statement.

Talking about GMO contamination - a public seminar


Biowatch SA and the UCT SARChI Chair on Bioeconomy invite you to talk about GMO contamination at a public seminar on Wednesday 30 January 10h30-14h00 at Durban Botanic Gardens Visitor Centre. Click the heading above for more information and RSVP details.

Sibuyisela Ulwazi Food and Seed Festival 2017


A first for Durban, the Biowatch SA 2017 Food and Seed Festival will take place at the Durban Botanic Gardens Visitors Complex, 25-26 October 2017. The tantalising programme will include recipes and tasting of traditionally-prepared indigenous crops, and the same foods with an exciting modern twist; sharing of traditional knowledge and culture around seed; buzz groups on topical food system issues; practical demonstrations; and an exhibition and market space.

Click here to view and download the FULL FESTIVAL PROGRAMME

Farmers march against Monsanto in Manguzi


Smallholder farmers from Ingwavuma, Mtubatuba, Pongola, Tshaneni and KwaNgwanase will converge in Manguzi on Friday 19 May to raise concerns about threats to their traditional seed and farming systems.

Biowatch response to the Armyworm outbreak


The Armyworm outbreak is a symptom of the failing industrial agriculture system, one that is out of balance and extremely vulnerable. In a media statement released today, Biowatch's Agroecology Manager, Lawrence Mkhaliphi's strong message is: "In a balanced agroecological farming system crop and predator diversity minimise the damage from pest outbreaks. It's time for a rapid transition to agroecological farming methods as these work with nature and help to mitigate climate change - otherwise we are likely to see ever more frequent plagues of pests, droughts, floods and consequent famine."

The key to African food sovereignty? Valuing women and the seed they keep


The link between women and seed is ancient, writes Biowatch’s Elfrieda Pschorn-Strauss, co-ordinator of the Seed and Knowledge Initiative (SKI) in the Right to Food and Nutrition WATCH 2016.

International launch of Right to Food and Nutrition Watch 2016


Rose Williams, Biowatch Director, will be a panelist at the international launch of “Keeping Seeds in Peoples’ Hands”, the civil society Right to Food and Nutrition Watch 2016. The publication, which will be launched on October 13 at the FAO Headquarters in Rome, will shed light on the existing threats to peasant seed systems and the accelerated destruction of biodiversity.

Farmers and Biowatch say no to GMOs and march against Monsanto


On Saturday 21 May 2016, Biowatch South Africa and rural farmers in northern KZN joined the global March Against Monsanto, saying loudly and clearly: No to GMOs; No to industrial agriculture; No to the corporate control of our seeds and our food.

The elephant in the drought crisis room


Southern Africa is experiencing a bitter season of thirst, hunger and anguish as livestock perish and crops fail. While GRAIN SA is making plans to import shortfalls in key staple foods, the National Agricultural Marketing Council has predicted that an average family food basket could cost 25% more than it did last year, with dire consequences for food security.

Celebrating good, nutritious food on World Food Day


Friday 16 October is World Food Day, and small-holder farmers in northern KwaZulu-Natal will be showcasing agroecology and sharing their journey towards securing their right to healthy and culturally appropriate food produced through ecologically sound and sustainable methods.

Putting food back on the table


Biowatch and agroecology farmers in northern KwaZulu-Natal were featured in the Daily News on Monday 31 August in a full page focus on food security and what can be done to ensure people have enough to eat.

Biowatch and rural KZN farmers go to Parliament to contest proposed seed Bills


On Friday, 15 May 2015 Biowatch South Africa, along with representatives of rural northern KwaZulu-Natal farmers, will give oral submissions at the Public Hearings on the recently tabled Plant Breeders' Rights Bill and Plant Improvement Bill. The hearings will take place in Parliament, Cape Town.