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Women, Land and Seeds

Experiences from SD=HS FFS on seed production and marketing

Within the program, the implementation of Farmer Field Schools on seed production and marketing is one of four program approaches focused on facilitating crop diversity, improved seed availability and access to adapted seeds and varieties that meet the diverse socio￾cultural needs of smallholder farmers and indigenous peoples. In particular, the seed production and marketing component of SD=HS sets out to enhance the livelihoods, income and seed security of indigenous peoples and small-holder farmers through improved production of and market access to high quality seeds of diverse crops and varieties, adapted to farmers’ needs.
Access to land is therefore a fundamental precondition for participation in SD=HS. As a program, participation by both men and women farmers has been based this key criterion. It should however be noted that access to land and land rights are not the same thing.
Consequently, the status of land tenure and land rights can directly impact the enjoyment of
other rights sought by the SD=HS program, as well as its potential and sustainability. Although access to land is an important program requirement, to date there has been no examination of the status of land tenure relations, and land tenure security among participating farmers, both women and men. What then are the rules (rights and duties) over land use in the SD=HS program? Who can use which resources, for how long and under which conditions?

Women’s participation is a priority within SD=HS, and a large proportion of FFS members are women. However, in some contexts women’s meaningful participation in the program remains challenging. Consequently, to what extent does the land tenure situation influence women’s participation? Can improving women’s land rights be a key catalyst to meaningful participation in future programing?
These are a few questions that merit consideration in a program such as SD=HS in which access to land is fundamental to participation, but where land rights and land tenure security are key for program sustainability and upscaling. For seed business in particular, secure land tenure is crucial and encourages farmers’ investment in commercial seed production as a livelihood.

This rapid assessment therefore profiles (both women and men) farmers against land tenure security in the SD=HS program and zooms into the extent to which female farmers aspiring to make a livelihood in seed production and marketing have access, use and control rights over the land used for SD=HS activities. To date limited research has been done on women in seed business and by extension on the nexus of women, land rights and seed business. This assessment is a cursory look at the extent to which women participating in seed business within SD=HS have land rights. In doing so, it provides initial insights into this important intersection of factors that have an impact on pathways towards gender
transformation and women’s empowerment.

Women, Land and Seeds
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Document size 3,38 MB
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