The ‘Right to Participate in Decision-Making’ as a Farmers’ Right in Southern Africa: Success Stories Nyasha E. Chishakwe CTDT November 2010. Procedural Right to Participate in Decision-Making. Why is it Important?
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The ‘Right to Participate in Decision-Making’ as a Farmers’ Right in Southern Africa: Success Stories
Nyasha E. Chishakwe
Why is it Important?
- In the context of legal duality, it is important in providing an institutional platform for local communities and farmers to have their ‘traditional and cultural way of life’ protected by law and policy
- Engenders compliance as a result of democratizing and legitimizing decision-making processes
Most governments in the region consult national stakeholders (who include farmers) for purposes of developing national budgets. Although the nature of such consultation is general in nature, and is restricted to issues of public funds allocation, it provides farmers with an opportunity to raise issues that affect their way of life including their traditional farming practices
Parliamentary Portfolio Committees on Agriculture hear concerns of all stakeholders involved in agricultural activities, including local farmers.
These hearings are an important platform for farmers to raise issues that concern them.
However, in practice; these committees do not meet as often as they should; and they usually give preference to commercial agriculture
Some countries such as Zimbabwe have legislation on ABS that provide for public hearings for communities on matters of Bio prospecting and ABS-related issues
S 31-36 of SI (Access to GR and Indigenous Genetic Resource-based Knowledge)
- Civil Society-Led Consultations
The major evidence of farmer participation that currently exists in southern Africa is reflected by CSO-led Consultations.
These are Ad hoc in nature, but have had important effects.
E.g. CTDT together with like-minded NGOs such as CEPA etc have been organizing forums at national and regional level where farmers’ views on Farmers’ Rights have been collected and collated.
These consultations have led to (i) capacity enhancement of farmers and(ii) awareness of FRs by policy-makers.
The outputs of these consultations have influenced policy e.g. The SI 61 of 2009 on ABS, of Zimbabwe contains various aspects related to FRs