Biowatch South Africa
As a country and as a world, we face multiple food, energy and climate change crises. Within this context, Biowatch challenges industrial agriculture and demonstrates agroecologyto ensure biodiversity, food sovereignty and social justice.
Established in 1999 as an environmental justice NGO, Biowatch works with small-holder farmers, other civil society organisations and government to ensure that people have control over their food, agricultural processes and resources, and other natural resources, within a bio-diverse, agroecological and sustainable system.
Our approach is two-fold we work simultaneously at policy level and directly with projects on the ground involving small-holder farmers. This means that any policy interventions are grounded in the experiences of rural people working the land, rather than in a think-tank vacuum; and through the policy work, farmers become more aware of their context, of what needs changing in our society, of their collective power, and of the need to ensure the accountability of decision makers in a democracy. In this, Biowatch serves to provide multiple linkages to all its stakeholders, and this approach serves to orient the organisation in a clear commitment to securing small-holder farmers rights.
Our head office is in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, and we have a rural office in Mtubatuba.
Our activities fall into three main focus areas (see OUR WORK for more information):
Advocacy and research
To be sustainable, change on the ground needs to be coupled to change at a national or international level.Our approach is to target specific areas of concern including:
- engaging with government through monitoring GMOs;
- submissions on legislation impacting on farmers rights and biodiversity;
- developing and distributing information and education materials;and
- research focused on securing farmers rights and seed sovereignty.
- working with and supporting training small-holder farmers to strengthen agroecology practices and GMO awareness;
- validating traditional agricultural knowledge;
- promoting household seed banks;
- farmer exchanges, seed rituals and seed festivals; and
- facilitating markets for communities surplus production.
International experience sharing
International experience sharing positions our work in the context of global struggles and strengthens our links with other organisations working towards environmental and social justice. Activities include:
- facilitating and attending international events, workshops and farmers exchanges;
- participating in international and regional networks such as the African Biodiversity Network (ABN), and alliances such as the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA).