The protection of agricultural biodiversity through conservation, development, and sustainable use of plant genetic resources (PGR) and the promotion and protection of farmers’ rights are the foundations on which we build our work.
In the last century, however, PGR quality and quantity have declined at alarming rates, destroying the needed biodiversity in agriculture. The imbalance in agricultural systems aggravates hunger and threatens food security. The adverse effects of climate change are compounding the problems further. As conditions worsen, so do human effectiveness, land productivity, urban migration, malnutrition, and even cultural foundations, to name a few. The resulting crises are easily exploited and manipulated by parties interested primarily in dominating the global seed supply system.
SEARICE develops critical and effective actions to help smallholder men and women farmers deal with the threats to their livelihood. Farmers need to be empowered as lead sentinels of the earth’s resources. Their capacities for local and innovative research must be enhanced. At the ground level, empowering learning approaches must be developed so that farmers are able to engage researchers and extension agents as co-equals. At the same time, a support system must be put in place to help realize the empowerment efforts. The essential support comes from the creation of a strong network of institutions that share the same goals and commitment to farmer’s welfare and the environment.
SEARICE empowers farmers, encouraging them to become critical of their own strengths and weaknesses and enabling them to make decisions in a manner that protects and conserves natural resources.
SEARICE advocates policies that recognize, support, strengthen, and institutionalize community initiatives on the conservation, development, and use of PGRs.
Farmers’ rights, as SEARICE views it, are a set of entitlements that must be enforced, either by means of legislation or enabling policy, at all levels of governance, to attain empowerment for farmers.
SEARICE believes that the conscious recognition of farmers' rights to seeds and sustainable community-based initiatives in agriculture enhances food security.
However, these rights are being encroached on due to increasing privatization of seed development, production, and distribution schemes; and thus leading further to the loss of PGR diversity and limiting farmers’ access to seeds.
Hence, SEARICE develops critical and effective actions to help smallholder men and women farmers deal with the threats to their livelihood.
Farmers need to be empowered by strengthening their capacities for local and innovative research, so as to be considered as agents of change and not just beneficiaries of development projects.