Podcast: African Perspectives on Agroecology

Published on 4 March 2024

For the continent of Africa, seed’s are integral to life. From deserts, river systems and forests, and for those growing a range of grains and vegetables, seed provides the mainstay for the continent’s 500 million small-scale farmers and is at the heart of  rich and varied cultures.

A photo of Dominic Glover and author Rachel Wynberg standing next to each other. Rachel is doling her book titled: African Perspectives on Agroecology
Dominic Glover with author Rachel Wynberg. Image: Gary Edwards/IDS

But seed is under siege. With the world’s food and agricultural systems increasingly industrialised, homogenised, and privatised, seed epitomises the struggles involved is symbolic of the deep injustices that have emerged.

Why farmer-led seed and knowledge systems matter

In this episode of the IDS Between the Lines podcast, Dominic Glover (IDS Research Fellow) interviews Professor Rachel Wynberg (University of Cape Town) about her new open access book: African Perspectives on Agroecology: Why farmer-led seed and knowledge systems matter.

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In the podcast they discuss the critical voices of African farmers, activists, scientists, scholars, and policymakers whose viewpoints combine to articulate a shared and dynamic vision of a world where agriculture is productive, diverse, and sustainable; where different ways of seeing and knowing are respected; and where seed and food systems are in the hands of farmers and local communities.

This podcast is a must-listen to students, policymakers and researchers interested in local-led expertise on Agroecology and farming systems.

For more on this topic read the recent IDS blog: How the World Bank is restricting farmer’s rights to own, save and sell seeds, in which author Graham Gordon explained how this is criminalising small-scale farms in Kenya, damaging the livelihoods of millions of people, and devastating crop diversity. This blog was part of the campaign Making Food Systems Equitable,

About the interviewee

Professor Rachel Wynberg is an academic and policy analyst with a special interest in bio-politics and the biodiversity-based economy, alternative agricultural futures and agroecology. She is a Professor in the Department of Environmental and Geographical Science at the University of Cape Town and holds a national Research Chair on Social and Environmental Dimensions of the Bioeconomy. With a background in the natural and social sciences, she has a strong interest in interdisciplinarity and policy engagement across the humanities, arts and sciences.

About the interviewer

Dominic Glover specialises in the study of technology and processes of socio-technical change, principally in food systems, agriculture, and small-scale farming contexts in the global South. He has over two decades of experience in research, policy analysis, communication and teaching on technology, innovation, governance and policy processes relating to agriculture, biotechnology, rice production, rural development, and sustainability.

About the Between the Lines podcast

This podcast series explores ground-breaking ideas in development for positive social and environmental change. Each month we feature an interview with an expert in international development who will talk about their latest research and ideas.

Episodes content could feature authors of new books, IDS research or interviews with special guest stars.

The discussions give an insight on the themes covered, exploring the challenges and discoveries, and why the issues matter for progressive and sustainable development globally.

Send your comments and episode suggestions to [email protected]

Key contacts

Gary Edwards

Senior Marketing and Data Protection Officer

+ 44 (0)1273 915637


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