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he 2019 ZSSP Goromonzi Organic Farmers’ Association Seed Fair Records a Tremendous Exhibitors Increase.
By Justice Ncube (Documentation and Research Officer, Fambidzanai Permaculture Centre)

The 2019 Zimbabwe Seed Sovereignty Programme Annual Seed Fair recorded a significant 20.5% increase to the number of exhibitors; an undisputed reflection of the Goromonzi Organic Farmers’ Association’s rapid growth and augmented traditional seed breeding and preservation culture. The event which was held on the 24th of June at the Goromonzi Rural District Council Hall recorded a total attendance of one hundred and ten (110) people, who constituted exhibitors; invited guests; judges and onlookers. This year’s event chronicled sixteen (16) more exhibitors on the exhibitors’ attendance register, 20.5% more than the previous year’s sixty-two (62), which made a total of seventy-eight (78) exhibitors.

This year’s ZSSP-GOFA seed fair has been one of the memorable and trend-setting traditional seed fairs I have witnessed so far this year. Rubbing shoulders with the hardworking seed preservers humbled me; because to me, traditional seed preservation resembles custody to our heritage, culture, traditions and customs.

The large council hall was fully occupied by the traditional seed custodians’ bountiful seed displays, which comprised wide varieties of traditional seed; with some of the exhibitors displaying their booths outside the hall walls. Colourful traditional seed displays were neatly arranged in and outside the council hall in a manner that was pleasing to the eye. The engorging numbers of the exhibitors forced some of the exhibitors to put their displays outside the hall as it could not occupy every exhibitor inside. Even though the traditional seed upholders are still wrestling with the current economic conditions, which are retarding other developments in the association, high levels of discipline; diligence and commitment were reflected through these displays; which depicted an association racing towards enhancing food security and nutrition through traditional seed production and preservation. The increase in the number of the exhibitors also meant that; there was a great potential of having more traditional seed varieties being ushered in with time.

The event comprised a traditional meal at lunch, bounty of traditional and organic food, and a presentation segment which featured various motivational speeches that were delivered by the invited guests, whose central theme was to compel the farmers to remain faithful traditional seed stewards; jealously guarding against seed destruction; as well as, never ceasing to recruit more seed producers and preservers. It also constituted, of course, a prize giving ceremony which was accompanied by music and dance, as the ‘custodians’ and the guests gripped their groove in melodious songs.

The event which was dubbed; “Seed Security is Food Security”, was modelled in a fashion that brought together local seed producers (both new and existing ones) in the hope of strengthening their capacity to enhance food security and nutrition.
The association however, is currently failing to acquire adequate funds to help them hold Green Shows; where the organic practices and green crops could be exhibited. Green Shows encourage more seed and food production as they lash the other farmers’ tendency of exhibiting the same seed every year.

Some of the exhibitors and judges leading in music and dance at the Traditional Seed Fair.



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