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Let's Make the World Better. Uphold Farmers' Rights, Protects Farmers' Seed System

Gratefully, the Agroecology Conference & Exhibition on Community Seed Systems (AECoSS24) at Bangi Avenue Convention Centre (BACC) on 24 & 25 April 2024 was successfully held.

Our deepest appreciation goes to YB Tuan Ir. Izham bin Hashim, Selangor State Agriculture and Food Security Exco for his support to deliver the Opening Speech at AECoSS24. Millions of thanks are also extended to Mrs. Angela Cordeiro representing the Agroecology Fund, Brazil and Mr. Pierre Ferrand representing the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Rome for the Special Opening Speech at AECoSS24.

This appreciation also goes to (chronologically) Chee Yoke Ling from Third World Network, Malaysia, Dr Tammi Jonas from the Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance, Australia, Nurfitri Amir Muhammad from Malaysian Food Sovereignty Forum, Karina Yong from Third World Network, Malaysia, Daniel Njoroge Wanjama from Seed Savers Network, Kenya, Adj Prof. Anthony Wong and Latifah Zaidi from Frangipani Langkawi Resort & Spa, Malaysia, Jon Jandai from Pun Pun Center for Self-Reliance, Thailand, Nlehoma Charles Ngosa from Community Technology Development Trust (CTDT), Zambia, Dr. Nguyen Thanh Tam from Mekong Delta Development Institute, Vietnam, Anita Sutha from We are the Solution (WAS) and Rural Women Farmers Association of Ghana (RUWFAG), Ghana, Li Guangi from Farmers Seed Network, China, Pessa Issa Kussaga from PELUM Association, Tanzania, Eliseo Ruzol Jr. and Lauro Guilaran Diego from MASIPAG, Filipina, Dr Febri Doni from Malaysian Agroecology Society SRI-Mas, Malaysia, Pak Kusnan from Serikat Petani Indonesia, Indonesia, Prof Dr. Pitchai Duraisingam from Consumer Research Education Awareness Training and Empowerment (CREATE), India, Pangiran Salutan from Borneo Highlands Seed Initiative, Malaysia, and San Wai from Metta Development Foundation, Myanmar.

Last, but not least, all participants that make this gathering a reality. You are awesome!

It is hoped that the solidarity of this international network can be maintained and further developed in the future. The sharing from the invited speakers also strengthened the participants' understanding of issues related to farmers’ rights and agroecology and opened the participants' eyes to the community seed systems in other countries.

Power to the Farmers, Agroecology NOW!

Seed systems play a crucial role in agriculture and biodiversity conservation. Formal seed systems, comprising certified seeds obtained from government and private sectors, are essential for commercial agriculture where uniformity of the product is required. On the other hand, informal seed systems, also known as local, traditional, community or farmer seed systems, which include farm-saved seeds, are also vital for local and small-scale farming. Contrary to the popular belief that the community of seed savers is small and insignificant, this conference proved the opposite when the Community Seed Reserve Initiative Project (IRBK) has so far recorded the stories of 90 seed savers, namely 59 individuals and 31 organizations.

Up to now, as many as 2010 inventory of seed collection has been recorded which consists of 8 types of plants and 8 categories of plant material. This proves that the Community Seed Systems is a formalization of informal seed systems and plays a critical role in contributing to seed security for resource-constrained households, and in supporting the use of diverse crop species. However, such systems have not been fully drawn upon by government and development agencies in seed security endeavours.

Forum Kedaulatan Makanan Malaysia (FKMM) believe that recognizing the interaction and complementarity between these systems can lead to more inclusive and sustainable seed systems. We urge all stakeholders to recognize and protect farmers' rights to seed, which include the protection of traditional knowledge, equitable benefit sharing, participation in decision-making, and the rights of farmers to save, use, exchange, and sell farm-saved seeds and propagating material. These rights are recognized and protected by several international agreements and declarations, including The International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGFA) and The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas (UNDROP). Therefore, we once again insist that Malaysia should not join the UPOV 91 Convention which will prevent farmers from practicing this tradition.

FKMM is committed to promoting the understanding and recognition of Community Seed Systems and advocating for the rights of farmers. We believe that this is crucial for sustainable agriculture and food security.

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