SD=HS aims to create an enabling policy environment for smallholder farmers and indigenous communities, which strengthens their Farmers’ Right and the farmers’ seed systems they operate in, while empowering the farming communities to participate in policy-making processes.

On 30 October 2017, Marjory Jeke, lead farmer from one of the program’s FFS in Zimbabwe, presented her keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the 7th Governing Body meeting of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, in Kigali, Rwanda. In front of the 144-member countries, she described her experiences from the farmer field schools, the seed fairs and community seed banks and asked the delegates for their support to assist farmers to “keep the rich crop diversity in their hands (...) for ourselves and for the rest of the world now and in future ”.

Marjory’s speech was accompanied by several side events, a photo exhibit of farmers from Laos and Zimbabwe, and lobby activities to make the global policymakers more aware of the urgent needs smallholders farmers face in their daily fight against climate change. The SD=HS program submission, with clear recommendations on how countries can support the implementation of Farmers’ Rights, was endorsed by the governments of Zimbabwe, Bhutan, Laos, Peru, Indonesia and Bolivia. These advocacy efforts led to the adoption of a Resolution establishing a Technical Expert Group on Farmers’ Rights, which will develop options for guiding and promoting the realization of Farmers’ Rights.