biodiversity  |  food sovereignty  |  agroecology  |  social justice

Biowatch South Africa Khethiwe-Siyaya-5_Pongola
Khethiwe Siyaya, a young agroecology farmer from Pongola, with traditional crops stored in her seed bank.


We are an environmental justice NGO, established in 1999. We work with smallholder 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 biodiverse, agroecological and sustainable system.

As a country and as a world, we face multiple food, energy and climate change crises. Within this context, and with a clear commitment to securing, developing and protecting smallholder farmers’ rights, Biowatch South Africa challenges industrial agriculture and demonstrates agroecology as a means of ensuring biodiversity while attaining food and seed sovereignty and social justice.

  • Biowatch supports and works with smallholder farmers, building on their traditional farming knowledge to strengthen agroecology practice and secure farmers’ rights. 
  • Biowatch contributes to building platforms for civil society to develop joint understanding of and action towards securing biodiversity, food sovereignty and social justice.
  • Biowatch challenges and supports government to implement policy and practices that promote, facilitate, and actively encourage agroecology, and that safeguard people and land.
  • Biowatch resists corporate appropriation of natural resources. Much of our own work, and our work with others, is focused on changing the discourse around, and the disconnect between, the destructive industrialised food system and the devastating impact this is having on our planet and the life we share it with.

Our head office is in Durban and we have a rural office in Mtubatuba, northern KwaZulu-Natal.

Biowatch South Africa ban GMOs


After a 10-year battle, Biowatch South Africa gained wide public prominence in 2009 with its victory in the Constitutional Court.

Ten years on, and what’s become known internationally as “the landmark Biowatch Case” and a victory for access to information, clarifies that public interest litigants acting in good faith will not have to fear that costs will be awarded against them.

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