Women interacting and exchanging farm saved seeds at the 2019 Zimbabwe National Seed Fair. Theophilus Mudzindiko/PELUM Zimbabwe

Strengthening the Livelihoods of Smallholder Farmers in Zimbabwe through Seed Sovereignty

Organization Participatory Ecological Land Use Management
Realm Afrotropics

The Project Marketplace is organized by the major terrestrial realms divided into 14 biogeographical regions – N. America, Subarctic America, C. America, S. America, Afrotropics, Indomalaya, Australasia, Oceania, Antarctica, and the Palearctic realm, which coincides with Eurasia and is divided into Subarctic, Western, Central, Eastern, and Southern regions.

Project Type Regenerative Agriculture

There are five main project categories: Energy Transition focuses on renewable energy access and energy efficiency. Nature Conservation includes wildlife habitat protection and ecosystem restoration, as well as indigenous land rights. Regenerative Agriculture supports farmers, ranchers and community agriculture. Climate Change covers global science efforts, climate adaptation, and social justice work.

Status Open

Open indicates any project that needs core programmatic funding.

Funding Level $$

$$ indicates a project with a funding need between $50,000-$250,000.

Timeframe Ongoing

The Zimbabwe Seed Sovereignty Programme (ZSSP) is a multi-year initiative aimed at strengthening the livelihoods and resilience of smallholder farmers in Zimbabwe through high quality, low cost, culturally appropriate, ecosystem- friendly and diverse farm-saved seeds. The initiative is being implemented in five provinces of Zimbabwe by a consortium of seven organizations, coordinated by the Participatory Ecological Land Use Management (PELUM) Zimbabwe. 

Smallholder farmers interacting at the 2018 Zimbabwe National Seed Fair. The National Seed Fair is an annual event hosted by the Zimbabwe Seed Sovereignty Programme as part of the 3-day Good Food and Seed Festival. The event brings together smallholder farmers from all over Zimbabwe and Africa to learn about, swap and trade high-quality, low-cost, culturally-appropriate, ecosystem-friendly and diverse farm-saved seeds. Credit: Maxwell Chnogurei/PELUM Zimbabwe  

Since its inception in 2014, the initiative has been guided by these principles: it is farmer-led, sustainable, collaborative, inclusive, and context-driven. ZSSP works at the grassroots level to engage with farmers, and in political and administrative spheres to influence policymakers. The focus of the programme is the application of agroecological principles to build climate change resilience and adaptation, food security, health and nutrition. The programme has set out to conserve agrobiodiversity and advocate for a bottom-up approach to governance of seed and food systems, which protects farmers’ rights and empowers women. 

ZSSP has continued to expand and gain momentum and recognition across various national, regional, continental and global platforms. Going forward, the programme is looking to promote neglected traditional crops, and achieve formal recognition of farmers’ seeds and farmer-managed seed systems. It aims to enhance market access for smallholder farmers, and encourage consumers to shift preferences towards locally grown healthy foods.

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